Destroying a decade of hard earned trust is surprisingly easy and profoundly devastating.
Late one afternoon at a busy city clinic, Mika finished-up her patient work and was headed back to her office. She passed her boss Dave in the hall, and he asked her to drop by his office. She and Dave have worked together for 8 years and they have a great rapport. Walking over, she thought he would say something positive about the community outreach program she recently ran that attracted dozens of families and generated lots of positive PR. Yet, when she walked into his office, she quickly sensed a problem. He barely gave her time to sit down before saying, “People are noticing that you aren’t around much.”
Shocked, her mind started racing,
What? Who are these “people”? Why are spying and talking behind my back?
Are they here when I arrive at 6 AM?
Do they think I am skipping out on patients when I am in meetings with colleagues in other departments?
Are they jealous that my community program was a success?
She took a deep breath then asked, “Can you give me any specifics? Do you agree with them?”
He immediately retreated saying, “Don’t be upset. Forget I said anything.”
She replied, “I can’t ignore this, it’s got to be serious if you’re bringing it up. What do you want me to do?”
He disengaged and said, “Forget it. I’ve got a meeting in 5 minutes,” then turned away and checked his phone.
She slipped out and when she replayed the conversation, her anger quickly morphed into a quiet rage – he had challenged her values – honesty, hard work, trust and given her no recourse.
I give this place my best.
If I can’t trust my boss to tell me the truth, who can I trust?
He’s making a big deal of this – what’s really going on here?
I’m fed up – I am going to answer the calls I’m getting from recruiters who’ve been hounding me since I completed my MBA.
I’m going to use up my vacation days before I lose them.
As she emerged from the office, she left the confident, engaged, self-motivated, and outside the box thinker behind. When the elevator door opened, a frustrated, angry and disillusioned employee stepped in, went to the lobby, and headed out.
Days later, she was still angry and confused. When she approached her boss and asked, “Can we talk this through? I am really confused.”
He replied, “Forget it, it’s not important,” then walked away. Eliminating the opportunity for an honest dialogue, Dave unintentionally succeeded in destroying the trust the he and Mika had built over 8 years.
What happens next? Now that her values – honesty, integrity, independence and hard work have been challenged, the trust between Mika and Dave is destroyed, my bet is that Mika will actively pursue a new career opportunity. What do you think?
Breaking trust can happen unintentionally. Some of the easiest ways to break the Start Talking rules, and hurt a relationship:
What can you do if you accidentally damage a relationship? If you want to rebuild trust, follow Michael Hyatt’s tips:
Got a trust busting or rebuilding story? We’d love to hear it to share inspiration with others.
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