How can I deal with betrayal in the work place?


Our response:

Probably everyone in the workplace has experienced behavior that they consider betrayal…such things as a colleague says one thing to you, and then acts another way. Or an individual makes a promise and then does not keep it. Or a team member acts cooperatively but then operates behind the scenes to sabotage an idea.

All of these “unproductive behaviors” are not OK, becasue they make reaching shared goals more difficult.

In addressing them, it is important to understand that these behaviors are driven by upset feelings. Using these behaviors as a personal invitation to rapidly advance your emotional intelligence skills is a big win. Otherwise, you will simply get upset, and do some unproductive behavior back at them!

If you can understand the feelings involved, you have an "open door" to discuss the consequences of the behaviors in the context of shared goals.

From a coaching perspective, betrayal is an interesting and complex behavior pattern.

When some of us are coaching an individual who has experienced repeated betrayals, we’ve started asking them how they might be betraying themselves....not standing up for themself, not owning their own emotional experience and/or not accepting their own emotions. There’s a lot of self betrayal that goes on and it seems like there is a kind of mirror between what’s happening outwardly at work with betrayal and what’s happening inside of a person. When we explore these linkages, there can be some really deep and fruitful learning that comes forward. Interestingly, as this happens, their experience of betrayal in the workplace lessens. So with betrayal, treat it as a invitation for powerful learning.


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