Over the years, people have asked us why we called our book Trust and Betrayal in the Workplace.
Betrayal is a strong word. It’s complex and emotionally provocative. For some, it’s downright off-putting.
“When you used the word betrayal,” people have said, “surely you knew you’d risk losing potential readers. If you wanted to make a contribution – to make people’s lives better – why would you use a word that could make people uncomfortable? Or, even push them away from your message?”
We thought long and hard before using the “B” word (as it’s been called by more than one CEO with whom we’ve worked). We knew the word could stir deep emotions in people…emotions they’d perhaps rather not focus on. We knew when they saw the word betrayal, some people would avoid our book, and our work.
We also knew, in service to our readers and clients, we had a commitment to tell the truth – the whole truth.
Every day in workplaces around the world, people experience betrayals that create fissures in their relationships.
When most people think about betrayals at work, they think of big things. Stealing. Falsifying. Libeling. Headline-grabbing offenses. While these behaviors certainly betray trust, we’ve found that 90% of the time people feel betrayed in the workplace, it’s actually because of the little things…
Such as when people are consistently late to meetings. When they don’t respond to emails. When they gossip. When they leave others out of decisions. When they overlook others’ talents and contributions. When they don’t deliver as promised. When they spin the truth.
Little betrayals are natural outcomes of human relationships. We’re imperfect, and as we try to do our best work together, we inevitably misstep and let one another down. Yet, even little instances of broken trust add up in our relationships. They accumulate, and can lead to feelings equivalent to a major betrayal of trust.
Have you or someone you know had your trust at work chipped away at, one subtle, fleeting experience at a time? As a result of this “chipping,” have you or someone you know felt feelings of betrayal? As a result of those feelings, has your work quality (and quality of life) suffered?
If you’re like the other hundreds of thousands of people we’ve worked with, we’d imagine your answer is, “yes.”
Which is why we didn’t shy away from the word betrayal. The need for us to be ‘real’ was too deep.
When we wrote Trust and Betrayal in the Workplace, our driving desire was to support you to reframe betrayals as powerful vehicles for introspection and game-changing transformations…both in the relationships you hold with other people, and the relationship you hold with yourself.
Betrayals don’t have to be crippling. They can be gifts and teachers, if you allow them to be.
Yours in trust,
Michelle and Dennis Reina