Mike Edwards
5 min readFeb 5, 2019

I sometimes hear leaders claim the people don’t trust them. At times, they don’t even have a good handle on the amount of trust that exists. I’ve had leaders tell me they don’t trust their people.

So, who is responsible for trust on a team? Is trust the responsibility of the leaders? How does trust even happen?

Learning to trust

In a past life I worked as a Project Manager in the IT department of a large financial organization. This seems like a lifetime ago, but it is an essential part of my history.

As with many Project Management environments, there is a great deal of focus on planning, tracking and status reporting. For many companies, project management has become synonymous with control, compliance and governance.

When companies develop an over-reliance on controls and compliance they remove the need for trust. When this happens people are more likely to lay blame and justify than confront a problem. This is human nature we’re talking about as it’s in our wiring.

In the financial company I worked for, the CIO had some simple rules around status reporting. You were required to come to the steering committee when you were the same status colour for more than 3 weeks.

On the surface this policy might feel like a lack of trust. In some cases this might be a lack of trust, but with this CIO it was a…

Mike Edwards

Executive & Leadership Coach, Blogger, and author of Activate your Leadership