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I Don’t Like You – Trust and how to Deal with the Toughest Form of Resistance

I Don't Like You - Trust and how to Deal with the Toughest Form of Resistance | Video

One thing Project Managers most fear is resistance from one or more of your stakeholders. And one form of resistance is particularly hard to deal with. They may not say it outright. But the resistance amounts to something plain and simple: blunt even: ‘I don’t like you.’ And this is all about trust.

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How can you deal with ’I don’t like you’?

I don’t like you is a tricky one to deal with. It feels so… personal.

It may not be you

The first step is to recognize that it may not be you. It may just be something you represent to that stakeholder. Like authority, disruption, or a smart young professional with less experience than them.

But what if something about you means they don’t like you?

Well, the answer lies in what sort of relationship you need. The important thing is not that they like you. Rather it’s that they trust you. 

My tool for solving this puzzle is the Trust Equation

It was devised by David Maister, Charles Green, and Robert Galford. You’ll find it in their fabulous book, ‘The Trusted Advisor’.  

The Trust Equation relates the trust your stakeholder has in you to four factors:

  1. Your Credibility
    That is, your professional expertise and experience.
  2. Your Reliability
    The degree they feel you will do as you say you will.
  3. The Intimacy between you and that stakeholder
    That is, how comfortable they feel in sharing information with you.
  4. Your Self-orientation
    This is the degree to which they think your actions arise from self-interest.

So, Trust (T) is given by:

T = (C + R + I) / S

In the face of ‘I don’t like you’

Your response is to understand which elements of the trust equation are weak. My experience is that the trust issues on a project are often:

  • Credibility
    I don’t believe the changes are right.
  • Reliability
    You aren’t keeping me as well-informed about progress as I’d like
  • Intimacy
    You haven’t built a strong enough relationship with me
  • Self-orientation
    I don’t trust the motives of the organization

But, once you understand where trust is leaking away, you can start to address the issue, and build it up.

Carefully curated video recommendations for you:

Videos about Trust, from our Sister YouTube Channel, Management Courses…

What Kit does a Project Manager Need?

I asked Project Managers in a couple of forums what material things you need to have, to do your job as a Project Manager. They responded magnificently. I compiled their answers into a Kit list. I added my own. 

Check out the Kit a Project Manager needs

Note that the links are affiliated.

Learn Still More

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For more of our videos in themed collections, join our Free Academy of Project Management

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About the Author Mike Clayton

Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.

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