Trust and Betrayal in the Workplace: Building Effective Relationships in Your Organization

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Trust is a non-negotiable for high performing relationships and organizations. Yet trust is fragile, and ninety percent of the behaviors that break it are subtle, fleeting, and unintentional. Drs. Dennis and Michelle Reina have rewritten this third edition of their best-selling, award-winning book Trust and Betrayal in the Workplace to empower everyone at every level of responsibility – not just leaders – to build and sustain trust in their workplaces.

Updated and completely rewritten with new case studies, tools, tips, and reflections, this third edition is the culmination of the authors' more than 20 years of rigorous research and “in the trenches” trust building experience with hundreds of organizations and thousands of people around the world.

As pioneers in the field of trust, Dennis and Michelle tell the truth about what it takes to build sustainable trust in the workplace – trust that withstands the tests of time, geography, and an increasingly volatile and competitive marketplace.
In this third edition, the authors provide the most detailed blueprint available for building highly effective, trust-based connections and organizations.

Drs. Dennis and Michelle Reina have devoted their careers to trust because they believe that people don't just want and need trustworthy relationships – they have a fundamental right to them. In this rewritten third edition of Trust and Betrayal in the Workplace, the authors reveal their practical, proven approaches to accessing this right to trust - one thought, intention, and behavior at a time.

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Chapter One Trust Begins with You

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Alex was head of a beverage manufacturing plant that was the lowest producer of thirteen plants nationwide.

By focusing entirely on bottom-line results, Alex had missed the biggest obstacle standing in the way of his organization reaching peak performance: a failure to build trusting relationships with his people. Although Alex cared a great deal about his employees, they didn’t know it. He focused on the numbers and neglected to ask them what they needed to be successful in their jobs. They didn’t think he cared about them, their issues, or their concerns. As a result, trust, morale, and production were at an all-time low.

Once Alex learned how to earn the trust of his employees and helped his employees learn how to build trusting relationships with one another, productivity soared. Within two years, the plant went from being the lowest to highest producer out of all thirteen plants. Alex and his team went on to win his organization’s most coveted award, the Manufacturing Excellence of the Year Award.

 

Chapter Two Trust of Character

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In the next three chapters, you’re going to be introduced to the Three Dimensions of Trust, which we commonly refer to as The Three Cs of Trust, or simply The Three Cs: Trust of Character, Trust of Communication, and Trust of Capability. Together The Three Cs provide the understanding and practical behaviors you need to build and sustain trust in your relationships. Trust is inherently vulnerable. It means different things to different people and stirs provocative emotions in all of us. It’s highly complex, yet is the baseline for how we relate to one another in one-on-one relationships, in teams, and across organizations. It takes time to build, yet can be broken in an instant. Subtle intricacies of human behavior create trust’s vulnerability. To build trust into your relationships, you need a solution for overcoming its inherent fragility. The Three Cs give you this solution.

Your commitment to practicing the behaviors within each of The Three Cs will allow you to build sustainably trustworthy relationships. After all, you don’t want trust just for today. You want it for today, tomorrow, and beyond. The Three Cs will empower you to build trust-based relationships that will weather the unavoidable storms of life.

 

Chapter Three Trust of Communication

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“I’m really disappointed and disturbed!” Laurie stated. “As a supervisor of this unit, I’m always looking out for my people and trying to do the right thing for the company. I can’t believe my employees perceived my actions as self-serving!”

Have you ever felt the pain of being misunderstood? Have people misread your intentions as self-serving when you were honestly acting in the best interests of your company? Have you been in situations where others had negative perceptions that were far from the truth, yet they operated on those incorrect assumptions without checking their accuracy?

“All I did was inform the boss about what was happening out in the field—information he needed to know—and he blew up at me!” Bob, a new sales rep, said in exasperation. “I’m never going to stick my neck out again!”

Have you ever been shot down as the messenger communicating bad news, yet you had nothing to do with creating that bad news? Maybe you were trying to avert major problems, even head off a disaster for the company, yet your good intentions were neither acknowledged nor appreciated. Possibly you were even punished for being proactive.

 

Chapter Four Trust of Capability

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“Why doesn’t she just let me do my job?” Joyce, an event coordinator, asked in utter frustration. “It seems like every day, the boss is looking over my shoulder, telling me how to do my work. Why did she hire me in the first place, if she isn’t going to use my expertise? Doesn’t she have anything better to do?”

Have you ever felt micromanaged or underutilized because you weren’t able to use your talents to do your job in the way you knew it needed to be done? Did you feel like your education and years of experience counted for nothing?

“I’m not very confident Sam can do this job.” Abby, a programmer, confided to her colleague. “I don’t think he has the knowledge or skills to pull his own weight in getting this project done on time and within budget. His lackluster performance since joining this company has me very concerned. We have a lot riding on this project’s success.”

Have you ever felt concerned about the capability of a co-worker? Do you trust the people who pass work to you or those who take on the next leg of your projects? Do you think they’ll build on your good effort or screw it up and make you look bad?

 

Chapter Five Your Readiness and Willingness to Trust

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When our son Patrick turned thirteen, Dennis took him on a two-week “rite of passage” survival trek into the backcountry of the High Sierra of Yosemite National Park. The altitude was high, the air was thin, and the trail was dusty and difficult. This was heart of bear country, and on the fifth night, while Patrick and Dennis were cooking a pot of stew on the camp stove, a mother bear and three cubs strolled into their campsite. Within two minutes, the mother bear had scrambled up the tree just outside of camp where the food cache hung, taken one swipe at the nylon bag, and ripped the bottom open, dumping all of their provisions on the ground. For the next several hours, the mother bear taught her young cubs how to open freeze-dried food packages and granola energy bars. There was not much the backpackers could do but watch. These bears could outrun, out-climb, and out-swim the both of them. Because the animals were content eating their food, Dennis and Patrick turned in for the night inside their mountain tent.

 

Chapter Six How You Trust

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When our son, Will, was a little boy we put him on crosscountry skis. At the foot of his first big hill his voice quivered, “I don’t think I can do it, Daddy.” Dennis gave his son’s shoulder a quick squeeze. “Sure you can, Will. I’m right here with you. We’ll take it one step at a time.” On the way up the long, steep hill, Will experienced some moments of struggle, fear, and anxiety. Once the pair had finally reached the top, Dennis leaned down and encouraged our son, “Turn around and look, Will, and see what you did.” When Will turned around, he couldn’t believe what he saw. He had climbed all the way up this long, steep hill by himself. His trust and confidence soared. He shouted out to the heavens, “Let’s do it again, Daddy. Let’s do it again!” And again and again they did.

Like Will, before you tackle a big new challenge, you may have trepidations and question your capability. As you become aware of your current Capacity for Trust, you realize just how deeply it affects your perceptions, beliefs, and behaviors—and the level of unease you feel when facing new or uncomfortable situations. The material you’re getting ready to dive into next will expand on this awareness. By reflecting on a series of four questions, you’re going to learn more about yourself and what you need to do to expand your Capacity for Trust—both in yourself and in others.

 

Chapter Seven How Trust Is Broken: Betrayal

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“I’m really upset with Lynette!” said Patrick, an outreach coordinator. “She didn’t deliver her part of the project as she promised. She let me down and she let her other co-workers down. There is no longer trust on this team.”

“I don’t understand why John went to Craig to talk about the concern he has with me,” Scott, an executive assistant, said. “Why didn’t he come to me directly and give me a chance to address it with him? It hurt to hear about this from Craig. Now I wonder who else John talked to about me. Can I really trust him?”

“We trusted Donald, and he betrayed us!” Elena, a retail clerk, said angrily, referring to her boss. “He lied to us. I’ve got a hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach. I’m angry and hurt. I don’t like working in an environment where I’m lied to and betrayed. I spend too much energy watching my back! I don’t know who or what I can believe anymore.”

Betrayal is a big word. You may view it as dark and negative; a connotation that triggers painful memories you’d rather forget. It may represent a significant occurrence of hurt and deceit in your life—perhaps a time when you were lied to, cheated on, or taken advantage of. But in reality, betrayal occurs with each and every instance of broken trust—regardless of its size. That is the simple truth. It’s also true that every single one of us has been betrayed and has betrayed others, even if we haven’t meant to. There is betrayal among colleagues, bosses, and employees—within families, neighborhoods, and churches. You and your friends betray one another, and we all at times betray ourselves. Betrayal is universal and a natural outcome of interacting with other people.

 

Chapter Eight How Trust Is Rebuilt: The Seven Steps for Healing

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Chest aching, stomach churning, Roberta splashed water on her face as she fought back tears of shock, horror, and deep hurt. She could not believe what she’d just heard. She honestly thought she and Daniel were totally aligned. What a way to find out they weren’t!

The company president had given Roberta the responsibility of overseeing the design and development of a major building complex. Roberta had asked Daniel to work with her on developing the proposal outlining the approach to the project. She had tremendous respect for Daniel’s skill and talent, and they had worked well together in the past.

Roberta felt that she and Daniel had developed a solid proposal and looked forward to reviewing it with the president. At the start of the review meeting, she could not believe her ears when the president mentioned that Daniel had stopped into his office that morning—behind Roberta’s back—and announced that he had major concerns about the proposal and about Roberta’s ability to oversee the project. Roberta was flabbergasted.

 

Chapter Nine How Trust Is Transformed: Transformative Trust

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How do you create an abundance of trust in your life? How do you help your team and your organization take trust to the next level, even during periods of change when there are more questions than answers, when there are disappointments and uncertainty?

Faced with a strategic business decision handed down from corporate headquarters, one division of a Fortune 100 company had to lay off 100 people from its 420-person operation in a one-company rural town. The layoffs meant the most significant changes in the ten-year history of the division. Everyone in the community would feel the impact.

Although the local managers were not involved in the initial decision to reduce the division’s workforce, they were fully responsible for implementing the change. They were committed to doing so in a way that honored their people, their contributions to the company, and the relationships they had developed with one another.

The local managers carefully orchestrated each phase of the downsizing process.

 

Chapter Ten Taking Trust to the Next Level

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Throughout this book, we’ve taken you on a journey to discover trust. You’ve explored what trust means and been introduced to the far-reaching impacts of both its presence and its absence. You’ve learned about the behaviors that build trust, the level of commitment needed to sustain it, and what to do to repair it when it’s been broken. You’ve been inspired to want trust—and to behave differently in your relationships in order to attract it.

Attracting trust means you are first willing to extend it. Your readiness to extend trust is grounded in your attitude, beliefs, and outlook. Trust begins with you and your ability to align your behavior with sound intentions—an ability that lays a healthy foundation for your relationships. To bring yourself to relationships with others in a trustworthy way, you must first nurture the most central relationship you have—the one you hold with you.

In this closing chapter, we turn your attention to the relationship you have with yourself. We support you in expanding your Capacity for Trust and taking trust to the next level by going deeper into this connection through four pathways. They are: Take Care of Yourself, Believe in Yourself, Make Room for Yourself, and Be a Friend to Yourself. It is from this deeper connection with yourself that you take trust to the next level in your relationships, team, organization, and broader community. Trust begins with you.

 

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