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Podcast Transcript

In The Eyes of the Betrayed

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  0:10  
Welcome to Your Authentic Path To Powerful Leadership with Marsha Clark where we believe there's a better way to be a woman today! With research tools, books, and our own personal experiences, join us on this journey because in every episode we're uncovering what it actually takes to be a powerful leader in our organizations, our communities and our lives.

Marsha, welcome! So I'm guessing our audience is going to be really intrigued about today's episode, especially if they saw one of our earlier video interviews with Dr. Dennis Reina. So what are we in store for today?

Marsha Clark  0:55  
Right, right, right, right. So we did have a really powerful conversation with Dennis last week with an overview of the Trust Model that he and his wife and colleague, Michelle, had spent developing. And we're gonna do a little deeper dive into one of those, which is now about betrayal. And that word, of course, is very charged. And we want to really look at... I want to say to you that today I'm going to use the terms breaking trust, breach of trust, and betrayal, as interchangeable terms.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  1:29  

Marsha Clark  1:30  
When we think practically about those, we may think differently about them. And I'll get into some of that, but I want to, I want to just make that clear to our listeners up front. And we really think that being able to do a deeper dive on this particular topic is going to be important as we understand the not only the role of trust, but how trust gets broken, and how we feel betrayed. So that's where we're going today.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  1:55  
Okay, I know that you really like to use quotes to get people thinking about a topic, but you share in your book that you really struggled to find a quote for this chapter, or at least a quote by a woman.

Marsha Clark  2:09  
Well, it's absolutely true. And, you know, I want to model that we're supporting women and I want us to have the reference point or the lens through which to see this work through the eyes of a woman. And, and I did look long and hard, you know, all the different quotes, sites, and places. And it was hard to find a quote by a woman about trust. Now, I also want to contrast that to I did find quotes about women and trust, but it was usually talking about women, not by women, it started something along the lines. And this was so both eye opening and disheartening to me that if they started or had the the implied message of "Never trust a woman." And I'm like, what? This is just crazy. And so I then asked the Reinas... I said, "So give me a quote. I want one that represents what we're trying to teach and, and live and model." And so that's where the quote in chapter five came from.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  3:11  
Okay, so I know that the Reinas like to use quotes as well. And I'm going to read the one that they use in the first chapter of their book - "Trust and Betrayal in the Workplace." So the quote is - "The agony of betrayal involves the sudden tearing of the delicate fabric of trust that has united us." That's a quote by John Amodeo. So wow! Delicate fabric... Delicate fabric of trust.

Marsha Clark  3:43  
Well, and I think there's so many key and provocative words that can trigger us. Right? That takes us to a place.... Right? The agony, betrayal, sudden tearing all of that has and then the delicate fabric. So it really gets to the heart of what we want to talk about today. And that's that when someone betrays us, when someone breaks our trust, it can be agonizing it. I mean, it really is agonizing, debilitating, all of the words that that hit us hard. And it's crucial that we begin to then understand that so that we can do something with it rather than holding on to those very, quite honestly negative and debilitating words. So we want to give you some tools on how to measure the depth and the significance and the breadth our excuse me the in the breach of trust, and, and do it not only in our own terms, but also looking at it in the other person's eyes as well. And you know, one key message here is that we don't get to decide how much if at all, that will another person you know, could or should be hurt by our betrayal ourselves. We don't get to name that we don't get to decide that. So the set tearing up the delicate fabric is such a powerful image. And I would invite our listeners to hold on to that image as we talk through the material here in the next hour or so.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  5:12  
So sticking with that imagery, do you really think that trust is a delicate fabric? That is so easily torn by betrayals?

Marsha Clark  5:22  
Yeah. So maybe, yes. Maybe, no.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  5:27  
It depends!

Marsha Clark  5:27  
That's right. That's right. Because there are a lot of, you know, if we come to unpeel, the layers of that onion, or we really dig a little deeper, we're going to find out what drives whether it is or whether it is a delicate fabric. And, you know, I would like to do another little level set, if you will, on the official definition of betrayal. And then we can talk about how even our thinking around this definition can dictate whether it's a delicate fabric or not. And so the word betrayal is such a charged word. So I always like to start with sort of the official dictionary definition of that. And in this case, I looked it up in the Merriam Webster's dictionary. And their very simple definition of betrayal is a violation of a person's trust or confidence. So that's the official definition. And, you know, as I wrote about in the book, I also looked up synonyms for the word betrayal, because I want us to understand the wide range that this applies in our lives. So some of those labels, synonyms are backstabbing, disloyalty, double crossing, faithlessness, falseness, treason, to timing, and the list just goes on and on. And, you know, I just find myself sort of clenching every time I read one of these words, and they're all describing various kinds of betrayals that we may have experienced. And it's not just what the Reinas... From what the Reinas talk about, but each of us have our own life experiences when we begin thinking about this topic. And, you know, one of the things that we have to learn and the phrase I use is not all betrayals are created equal. So you know, and, and some of the more severe or extreme ones can cause some real emotional upheaval or deep rooted feelings about it. And then others, not so much. It's a it's a minor, or, and we're going to talk more about that. But it's, you know, it's a slip, right, they made a mistake, and it's not going to the world's not going to come to an end and that sort of thing. So that's where not everything is delicate. And sometimes it can just be an omission or an oversight. And if the trust level between two people and you know, today, I want to just say we're going to focus on interpersonal trust trust with another person, there's a whole topic that we're going to talk about later about group trust. So little T's there for a future podcast. But today, thinking about what you and I are sharing with our listeners, I want them to think about this is between two people.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  8:05  
Right? Right, that makes sense.

Marsha Clark  8:07  
So, if we look at where this delicacy can come from, we think about delicate is like paper thin, or very fragile, or very, just can be ripped or torn very easily. It doesn't take a lot to do that. And, you know, there's a lot of reasons that that are a lot of backstory, if you will, for why a relationship can be delicate. And, and I'd like you know, one thing is to think about that, if I've just met you, I don't know much about you. So it's a pretty tender, fragile relationship, because we haven't strengthened it yet. Right? Exactly. It's on the front end. And we're just getting to know each other. And there are some other things that we can discuss further as well.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  8:56  
Right. So if it's a new team member, or a new person to the organization, or a new friend, or your next door neighbor, etc. I think that most people come into those situations with a certain level of trust, just by nature of somebody being new in your world. And then it's almost like a zero set point. And then it's up to not only the other person's actions, but my interpretation of their actions, to move that off of set point zero, either into a negative space to where I don't trust them or a positive space to where I start trusting them and can start building on that trust.

Marsha Clark  9:37  
Yeah, let me let me recap some things here for you that way. If I think about myself that I'm going to invite our listeners to say what's your story around this? So the way that I describe it is based on our you know, ability and capacity to trust others is established early in our lives. Well, the way that shows up in us as individuals is so Some of us start at zero. I don't trust you, until you can demonstrate. So it's the additive process. With every interaction I have with you, are you doing things that result in me trusting you, and so I just keep adding from zero plus, plus, plus, plus plus, for others of us, we start at 100. And trust you absolutely. But it's a subtracting exercise that says, I trust you until you demonstrate I can't trust you why, and that's the subtracting versus the addition. And then there's this place in the middle that you've heard me talk about, because rarely are we as adults at zero or 100, but we're on one side or the other 50. Right? We're on the bottom side or the upside. So this 40 to 60 range, and the zero to 100 scale is what I call the "Trust, But Verify." Right? So I'm going to extend you trust, but then I'm going to have appropriate checks and balances. And I'm going to be watching, like, you know, did I place my trust in you? And am I getting good results? You know, because of that? Or did I place my trust at you and oops, there's a disappointment, oops, there's a break, oops, there's a breach. So that's what we're doing with this range of zero to 100. And, and where we are on that scale, is also a part of what drives the delicate nature of it. Because if I'm on the lower end, by nature of the lens through which I see the world and trusting relationships, that's a part of the delicateness of the fabric as well.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  11:35  
Right. I mean, who knew so much could come from just one simple question.

Marsha Clark  11:40  
Well, you know, as you said, we love quotes. There's books, lots of quotes, and lots of books, you know. And it's because it can be, if we just remember the one line of the quote, it has so much packed into it because of the analogies and the stories. And taking each one of those words and looking at what's behind those words. So it can really help a person explore a topic in sort of from the edges and going into it in a deeper way.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  12:13  
Okay, so before we move on, was there anything else from that quote that you think that we can unpack for listeners?

Marsha Clark  12:21  
Yeah, this is the word sudden. And, and so maybe you and I built this strong relationship, and all of a sudden, you do something that is totally outside of the realm of trust building. Right? And you blindside me or, you know, I get the whack on the side of the head with "what just happened here?" kind of thing. There's that suddenness of it. And those are often big. The other side, though, that I want to describe, is that just as tearing trng of the delicate fabric, is what I call the trail buildup. And so this is they can be small, but they accumulate over time. So it's not sudden, it's built up over time, right? And both can tear. And yet the ones that we can often see and relate to are the big ones, right? The big betrayals are like you, you lied to me, you cheated on me, you, you know, unethical and illegal behavior, that sort of thing. Those are really the obvious big ones. But there's the little ones that happen throughout our lives with a person that can also generate a distrust or mistrust. Because those betrayals become a pattern.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  13:39  
You're just making me think of people in my life, you know? Or that I've removed from my life because of exactly what you're talking about. It's this betrayal build up. I mean, that sounds so charged. And...

Marsha Clark  13:55  
Yeah. Anytime we're looking at the accumulation of stuff. It can be small stuff, but many of us may have heard the phrase, the straw that broke the camel's back, right? It wasn't that single event. It was the 50 events, the 12 events, the hundreds of events that led to that point, that I finally, you know, I broke, you know how you can put water in a glass, and then you put one more drop in the water spills over? That's what this accumulation of betrayal can be.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  14:24  
Right. So I had one more question about the quote, and it starts with that really strong word, which just instantly gives us all a visual... The agony of betrayal. And let's go back to what you said earlier about not all the betrayals being equal. So I guess that this is including not only how painful the betrayal is, but maybe, you know, due to the level of the betrayal. They're not... not all of them are agonizing. Right?

Marsha Clark  14:57  
Right. Right now you've got it and when we try we have a tool in our book called the Betrayal Continuum that's from Dennis and Michelle Reina as well. So it's also included in their book. And so what I want you the our listeners to hear is you and I could experience the very same thing. And we would react and respond to it differently based on our life experiences based on whether we're starting on the low side of 50, the high side of 50, based on where we are in our relationship, based on what your experiences may have been with other people in your life who've done this to you. And so what one person might categorize as a major, major betrayal, another mind categorizes miner, and here's another teaching point in this today, betrayal is in the eyes of the betrayed, I don't get to tell you whether I betrayed you or not, you're the only person that can determine that. And the languaging of that I teach and coach to is, I can say to you windy, it was never my intention to betray you. Because I can speak to my intentions, right? I can't speak to the impact it had on you. That's not my call to make. So you know, we make up stories, right? So if someone's betrayed us, and I declare a major or minor minor, I've got this whole story about you, you did it to me, You've done me wrong. And we often hold on to those stories, which can be very ineffective when we're trying to build strong relationships.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  16:29  
Exactly. So can you give us an example of the difference between a major and a minor betrayal?

Marsha Clark  16:36  
Yeah, so I, as I often do in these, I want to help create the visual of the tool if you haven't, you know, got the book in front of you, or the tool in front of you. So I want you to think about, think about a person first, first of all, because there's some pre work to filling out the tool, if you will, I want you to we do an exercise where I want you to think, give an example or tell a story, or think of a time when someone broke trust with you. And it can be either a personal or professional situation. So we asked them a few questions about that, you get that, you know, memory in your head. And we asked you about this specific experience, who was the person? And what was your relationship with that person at the time of the betrayal? And was it a boss or a family member? Was it a friend? Was it appear a colleague, a customer, whatever it might have been? And then how important was that relationship to you at the time. So maybe it was this had been my best friend since seventh grade, maybe it was I've known this boss a long time. Or maybe it's this is a new boss, and I'm just trying to figure these things out. Or maybe this boss has a whole lot of influence on what my next career progression or next promotion might be. So that's the importance of my relationship with them. And then we, you know, this is where you begin to get into sort of what we call the juicy stuff of betrayal. Because oftentimes, when we start thinking about that we literally have physical sensations in our body, oh, yes, cuz we're taking ourselves back to that place. And so I want to get really clear then about what specific behaviors broke my trust, because just saying, I don't trust somebody is too broad brushstroke. And if you'll remember from our last podcast with Dennis, we talked and walked through some of the bullet to behaviors that build trust, often what happens on the when people start listing the behaviors that broke trust, they're like the opposite of the building trust, you know, you never delegate to me, or you take credit for my work, or you talk about me behind my back. All of those are the antithesis of some of the trust building, but we want you to get really clear about what those specific behaviors were so that you can recognize it and name it.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  19:02  
Right. Recognizing and naming is such a powerful thing. And has so I thought it was really interesting, when you shared in your book that some people say they've never been betrayed. I would love to meet this person...

Marsha Clark  19:16  
Maybe you need to! Yes, there's sort of a sarcastic part of me that says, then you're not paying attention. I'll be honest about that. We've talked about your you know, notice what you notice kind of stuff. So this is where the Isn't that fascinating question. So So I moved from then you're not paying attention to tell me more. Isn't that fascinating? You know, tell me more. And I wanted then ask what I'll call supportive and you know, gentle coaching questions. And what I often find is that they have been betrayed. And yet the word betrayed is so triggering for them and it conjures up this notion even of I've been victim of the betrayal, right. And for some, they don't want to acknowledge that they've been victimized by the betrayal. Or they feel foolish because they've allowed themselves to be betrayed. Because we like to think of ourselves, as you know, the savvy people who know how the world works, and you know how to live within it accordingly. And yet, here we are, we got duped, we got betrayed, we had our trust broken, we were surprised, and you know, that delicate fabric was torn. So there's a whole host of things that can keep a person in denial. And it's usually when we start getting really honest with ourselves, because we think we've just put put it away, right that we've, we're going to talk about this in our next podcast around healing, we've let go and we've moved on. And then they discover, maybe not so much, because maybe it keeps happening to them. And they don't understand why. Or maybe, you know, I no longer had the same kind of relationship with that person. Because it's the the break of trust, or the betrayal was so big, I don't, I don't go near that person, or I don't have the same kind of relationship. And that's where we want to make sure that we're understanding what the word betrayal really represents for us.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  21:13  
Once someone has answered these initial questions, and gained some clarity about what actually happened, when it happened, what the behaviors were, then what?

Marsha Clark  21:26  
Yeah, so now we're to the tool. So we've answered some of these context and pre emptive questions. And now we're going to say, Okay, what do we do with this data now that we're conscious and aware and have named it. So you take your list of behaviors that broke the trust, and you're going to sort them on this betrayal continuum, so another tool in your toolkit, so let's just say that someone betrayed me by talking behind my back. So it's the antithesis of speaking with good purpose, right by the trust of communication. So the first thing I do is decide, do I consider this to be a major betrayal, or a minor betrayal, at the time that it happened, because I may think about it differently, months later, years later, but at the time that it happened, my first cut is whether it was major or minor. And again, completely personal, because you can experience exactly the same thing and describe it differently as a major or a minor. And the the other variables that come into play again, in helping us know whether we consider it major or minor is. Do I have a history of this in my life? What is my relationship with you and the meaning and significance of my relationship with you? So we go right back to that zero to 100 tendency. And if I can help describe this, again, in our mind's eye, is you take a piece of paper, and you start with two columns, major, and minor. And then you add two columns under each one of those. So think about it as there's minor, unintentional, minor, intentional, then there's major unintentional, Major, intentional, so you're now working with first the breakdown of major minor, then you have to decide, do I think it's intentional or unintentional? And again, let's be really clear, we don't know, unless we can read that other person's. And I wouldn't know that person who can do that, to know whether it was intentional or unintentional.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  23:37  
Yeah. This is getting emotional, isn't it?

Marsha Clark  23:41  
Well, it does. And we have found that to be true in our programs, when you start talking about this, and, and when it becomes so emotional, is when we also know that we've not worked our way through it, because it's still fresh, or it's still at the surface, or it's still tender. It's a tender spot in me.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  24:00  
Right, right. What so what's underneath that?

Marsha Clark  24:03  
Well, it's because we make up the stories, right, where, you know, we, when something happens to us, we see it as we see it, we interpret it based on our life experiences, we make assumptions about it. We even draw conclusions about what just happened, as well as conclusions about the other person. And then we take action accordingly. And we that happens in a nanosecond in our brains. Yes. So we call it the ladder of inference. We have we talked about that in some of our podcasts. So we go up to that place. And, you know, we often think about that as the dance of death. What because we've not checked out anything. So what I always say is when we get to the top of that ladder, that's when we say, Isn't that fascinating, and what else could be true? And so that's what the storytelling is the human condition. We're going to do it our children point is whether we're going to hold on to that story and let it just eat away at us, or whether we're going to go get the facts to understand what's really happening.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  25:08  
Yeah, in crafting the other person as the bad guy in our stories, right?

Marsha Clark  25:13  
They're the perpetrator. They're the villain. They're the, you know, the bad guy. And you know, as I said, we can be victims.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  25:20  
Yep, I've been there done that.

Marsha Clark  25:22  
Yeah. So this starting with the first the category of the major and the minor, and then going to the intentional and unintentional.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  25:31  
Yeah, that's a really powerful shift to go through the exercise.

Marsha Clark  25:37  
And, you know, if the person if the relationship is particularly important to you, I encourage people to go and get the story. So, you know, either confirming what their story is, or what I find more times than not, they say, Oh, my gosh, I didn't understand that's how you viewed this, or I didn't see your perspective, or I didn't understand that, or you have information I didn't have that. If I go check out my story. Now we can start from factual place and objective place and work from there.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  26:09  
Yep. Yep, I can see how that happens. But it doesn't always end up with some major epiphany or shift in the story. Does it?

Marsha Clark  26:18  
No. No, I'd like to say it does more. It shifts the story more times than not. But there are other times when exactly what the story we made up is really true, and yet we can go confirm that as well. But that's also a data point that then can drive where we want to go from from that point.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  26:37  
Yeah. And I think that's a really important distinction, because I want to make sure that everyone who's listening, that they don't walk away thinking that this tool is all about learning how to accept intentional betrayals and letting people off the hook for bad or even harmful behaviors.

Marsha Clark  26:56  
Yeah, let me emphasize, you know, that's boldface italic, underlined. And so this, you know, how many times have we heard, just suck it up? It's not personal, put your big girl panties on. I mean, all of those things are out there, which is the "suck it up." Yeah, it was bad, but just get over it. You know, kind of thing. And so I want people to understand none of us, I mean, we may make a choice to just say let it go if it was a minor unintentional, and we're going to pay attention to see if it happens again. And yet, if someone is bullying us, or abusing us, or shaming us, or blaming... Or you know, throwing us under the bus, as the saying goes, you know, and we see that as habitual behavior. And we even have checked out the story with them and see that that's really true. That's going to drive my decision on whether I want to work to build or rebuild trust. Now, what I want to say to you is this. If we're in a workplace where trust has been broken, and it's so significant, I may go so far as to make a change in my job, getting, you know, transferred to a different department or leaving a company and going somewhere else. Or this is I love my job, I love this company, I love what I do, I just don't like this person in my life. Well, I've got to decide how I'm going to treat all of that. And oh, by the way, if it's a family member, you don't get to, you know, quit your family or family member say you're not my sibling anymore, you're not my parent anymore, whatever. And those are harder. So you know, thinking whether, at this point, whether I want to work to build or rebuild trust is a really important decision.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  28:37  
Yeah. And somehow, this is also bringing up in me the idea of limits and boundaries. And I know we're gonna have some other episodes on setting and maintaining boundaries while not betraying ourselves.

Marsha Clark  28:50  
Yeah, we have our own work to do around this in the sense of, even before I go, activate the steps to rebuild trust with you, I've got to do some of my own work and get really clear, and we're going to talk about that in our next podcast session. So that's called the Seven steps for healing. And then we're going to do a lighter session about setting boundaries. And this is healthy boundaries, that that will improve our relationships. And as you said, by not setting and then secondly, by not maintaining, even if we choose to set them those boundaries, that's where we can betray ourselves.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  29:26  
So before we leave the Betrayal Continuum, specifically, I want to flip this discussion around for just a minute. So far, we've been focused on when others betray us. What about when we are the ones doing the betraying?

Marsha Clark  29:42  
Yeah, I will tell you, you know, if I had a class of 100 people, probably 90 to 95 of them would put all their focus on others that have betrayed them. And it's a small percentage. You say, "Oh, my goodness! I'm looking at this and I'm really saying I didn't mean to was not intentional, but boy, I may have betrayed a person by doing these things." And so, at the end of chapter five, the chapter on trust in my book, after and this is like the last paragraph of the chapter, it says, "Okay, now I'm going to ask you to go reread this chapter, with a mirror held up to you, oh, where my you you've read it now as they done me wrong. Now go read it, as I may have done others wrong." And this is where we're really getting to grips with our own self-awareness and self-knowledge. And then understanding that we can make different choices going forward. And what are some ways that we can do it differently going forward to build stronger trust with others, and not unintentionally betray them?

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  30:50  
Right. And I love how you also talk about, like, looking out for those other behave those behaviors and others like withdrawing or avoiding you or starting to double or triple check your work, like, you know, these are all signs that they've been burned, and they're trying to avoid those future betrayals.

Marsha Clark  31:12  
Yeah, so if I can just put a fine point on that. You remember when we talked about self awareness has two parts to it me understanding myself from an internal standpoint? But then there's the external, which says, What is my the impact I'm having on others? And that's where I want to notice, there triple checking my work, they're asking more questions, they want more frequent updates. You know, that's when we're, we're seeing trust eroding. And we need to pay attention to that.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  31:42  
Yeah, it's inevitable that we're going to end up betraying somebody. I mean, this, this is just a great reminder to be watching out for clues that people might be struggling or suffering because of something we've done. And we really have no idea. And so that makes me think of another tool that you offer in your chapter on building and sustaining trust. And that is the Seven Step Feedback Model. You introduce it when you're talking about the Reina's Trust Model, but then you mentioned it again in the section on betrayal. So I'm sitting here wondering that if more people knew about a good feedback tool, we might actually be able to avoid some of that ongoing suffering, because people would feel more comfortable being upfront and clear with us about those betrayals.

Marsha Clark  32:34  
Yeah, one of the trust building behaviors is giving and receiving constructive feedback and sender the trust of communication. And I think it does play a big part in knowing what to do with that trust behavior, how does it, you know, present itself or make itself known through our behaviors. So when you get really clear about the behaviors that broke trust with you, you can then go back to the person, you know, and have a conversation using the feedback model. And it's an it's with the spirit and intent of this was a break for me, or this was a break down for me and and if I don't tell, you may never know. And so I'm the one carrying it around, and you're walking around oblivious to the whole scenario. So with the seven step feedback model, it is probably one of the most valued and popular tools that I teach, because it helps us break it down with good intentions, right? Not just shaming a person or you know, criticizing a person or pretending to know or not know, you know, all of those kinds of things. So are you, okay, if I walk through the seven steps? Because, yeah, this is another tool in your toolkit. So remembering that good leaders are always enriching their toolkit, this is a tool in your toolkit. So here's the steps. Step one is state this specific behavior that broke your trust as clearly crisply and objectively as you can. I often ask people to think about themselves as a court reporter. They're just recording what they seeing what they're seeing and what they're hearing. And so who is it? Where did it happen? Who was there? What was sad, those kinds of things? And then the second step is describe the impact. Did the impact if you broke my trust by continuously missing deadlines? For example, I would tell you in step one, it was due on July 1, I had to come ask you about it on July 2, it was due on August 1, you know, it didn't happen. You didn't deliver till you know, August 3. So whatever those things might be, and the impact of that missed deadline. We had to work other people overtime. We had to go manage that to the client that the deadline that we promised that was going to be missed, we're violating one of the terms and conditions of our contracts. So there could be financial penalty involved in this. And and this is the one that really relates to what we're talking about now. And my trust in your ability to meet your commitments, you know, keep agreements is one of the trust behaviors under trust of character, that my trust is eroding with you around meeting your commitments, and being consistent with that. So that's step number two, they need to understand the impact of their choices. And then the third one is to describe our feelings, I'm disappointed and frustrated and angry and confused. And bewildered, I mean, there's all kinds of reactions we can have. And we own those that, you know, it's not You disappointed me, it's rather it is I'm disappointed. So that's number three. The fourth is something that we, you know, tie into with the, what else could be true, help me understand what's going on from your side of the interaction or your side of the relationship. And this goes back, always two sides to every story, and then you start listening to what prevented them from being able to hit the deadlines that they've given for you. And I, this is a watch out place, because in some cases, you know, they'll start blaming other people. Well, so-and-so didn't get the information to me. So I couldn't hit my deadline. And like I said, and you want to shut that down pretty quickly. We'll talk about that in just a moment. But right now, I want you to understand that we're focused on what you did or didn't do. And and then that takes us right into step number five, which is, you know, here are my expectations going forward. So, and this is where you have to be really careful about your ask. So, Wendi, if you're the person that I'm giving the feedback to, and you've missed these deadlines, what I'm going to ask you is this... My expectation is that when you know, you're going to miss a deadline, the minute you think that's a possibility, you come tell me, that's my ass. That's my expectation. And so then I want to look you in the eye, in step number six and say, do you agree? And are you willing to? And will you commit to coming and telling me the minute you think you're gonna miss a deadline? So when I use this example, I use it very specifically, because it talks about where we can get diverted sometimes. So if you say, No, I can't commit to you that I'm going to make every deadline because we don't have enough people, you know, we're understaffed, you know, where we've got 17 change initiatives, you know, we're not going to setting priorities, all of that kind of stuff gets mixed up in it. So they're denying that they are not going to miss, you know, they're not willing to agree that they'll never miss the deadline, well, then I go back to because what's really important here is, I didn't ask you to never miss a deadline, I asked you to come tell me when you're going to miss a deadline, you don't need any more staff, you don't need any more information that is totally within your control. And you want your ask or your expectation to be something that is within their control, right, that they can agree to. And so that's step number six, look me in the eye and commit to that. And then number seven is Do you need anything from me? And this also has variations in the it depends category. If this is a person who has a track record, of being able to do this work consistently. And so the missed deadlines are an aberration. I don't I don't want them to come back and sort of put the problem back on me. You need to give me more people or, you know, I need more budget. I need more time. I need more people. You know, you're just gonna say, Okay, well, I'll continue watching and we'll continue meeting to ensure that you're meeting your agreements, meeting your deadlines. If it's a junior person who's less skilled, less experienced new in the workplace, I might say to them, number seven, which is, what can I do to support you? Or how can I help you to ensure that you're getting this right? So those are the seven steps that you can walk down some models stop at, you know, number three, stop, step at step number four, but each step is important to get the point of we're trying to get you to meet deadlines for all the things that that implies in the workplace. So I hope that was a helpful step through an example.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  39:48  
Absolutely. And I love the addition of step seven to the model that it feels more like a partnership tool like you're setting a relationship bount Not boundary, but a relationship habit of we're in this together for each other's success,

Marsha Clark  40:07  
Right. And that's why I only want to ask you to do things that are within your control, we're in this together, I want this to be a development, you know, conversation for you, because that's the point of feedback is to help me get better if I'm a good leader, I'm not getting feedback to, you know, impose my own thoughts on you, or to insist you do it my way or to, you know, blame or judge, I'm here to develop you and help you build the skills and the knowledge and the perspective to do to be more effective going forward.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  40:40  
Right. So one last thing about the Betrayal Continuum that I find fascinating is this idea of resilience. Resilience is such a hot topic in the development world today, lots of workshops, TED Talks, etc, going on about this idea. And you say that the Betrayal Continuum can actually help us gain perspective to help us manage new betrayals. Basically, it helps us develop some resilience. How is that?

Marsha Clark  41:13  
Yes. So if you go back to that Betrayal Continuum Framework, and we're reflecting on past betrayal situations that occurred maybe some time ago, or maybe they've been building up over time, so you want to reflect on the betrayal? And and you know, how you felt at the time that you sorted it into categories, but the resilience part comes in considering? Let's just say it's from something a long time ago, how has that relationship evolved over time? How did I choose to build or rebuild trust with that person, have I now made, we made the progress that I can now trust, so the resilience part is staying in it, if I've chosen to rebuild trust with you, based on a betrayal or a break, the resilience part comes and says, it's not over writes, our relationship is not ended at this point, we're putting ourselves into the rebuilding of the of the trust, because I've gained greater perspective that over time, it can be different than that moment where the tearing of the delicate fabric occurred. So whether it's a sudden one, a big one, a betrayal build up one, we've now come past that, and I have lived to tell about it. And our relationship has, in fact, rebounded and may even be stronger than it was in the beginning, because we've worked through a difficult situation. So that idea of bounce back or resiliency, but I got to have the perspective, rather than thinking in this moment, I will never trust this person. Again, you're dead to me, I mean, all the other things we say about that, rather than saying, this is an important relationship to me, I want to learn from this relationship. And I want to strengthen this relationship. So I got to stay in it. So it's a bounce back, bounce back, bounce back. And then I upon reflection, I go, "You know what? I gained some perspective, and I am resilient when it comes to people betraying me."

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  43:16  
Right. That makes so much sense. And it's reminded me of another quote that I think would be great to mention right now. And that is from the Buddha, "Even loss and betrayal can bring us awakening."

Marsha Clark  43:31  
Yeah, you know, you see this a lot. It's like, I think it's the Chinese when they have like a broken bowl that's, you know, a precious bowl, they fill in the cracks with pure gold. Because the gold in our lives is where the breaks have occurred. Right. And so this idea of breakdowns can become breakthroughs. And we're going to talk a lot about that when we talk about conflict. But you know, conflict is where it can be a place where we lose trust with one another. And so if we see those cracks, those breaks, as gifts to help broaden our perspective or deepen our perspective. It can then also help us deepen our relationships. And I think it's really precious.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  44:14  
Yeah. So Marsha, let's do our top takeaways, recap from today's episode.

Marsha Clark  44:20  
Yeah. So I think, you know, we talked about the Trust Model last time. So we're talking about the Betrayal Continuum. And, you know, categorizing breaks of trust into major, minor, intentional and unintentional and that betrayal. Another key takeaway and betrayal is in the eyes of the betrayed. And beware betrayal buildup, and I think looking for those clues in our lives that can help us know we're in that place. And then I would be remiss if I didn't say the seven step feedback model, because it may be one that you use again and again and again. So the Betrayal Continuum. Beware betrayed buildup betrayal is in the eyes of the betrayed. And we're all going to experience betrayals differently. So it's a unique lens through which we see it. And our part in minimizing diminishing reducing betrayals is to provide feedback so people know where where I stand and how you're treating me, or how your behaviors are impacting me.

Wendi McGowan-Ellis  45:24  
Well, wow, on all of that, Marsha! I feel like this was a pretty emotional episode. But for those of you who are listening, thank you for joining us today on our journey of authentic powerful leadership. Please download and subscribe to this podcast Your Authentic Path To Powerful Leadership with Marsha Clark on iTunes, Google Spotify, wherever you prefer to listen. Please share it with others who you think would feel blessed and gain so much knowledge and wisdom from Marsha. And please visit Marsha's website at for links to all the tools or other resources we discussed today. Subscribe to our email list stay up to date on everything in Marsha's world. And you can also find out more about Marsha herself and her latest book, "Embracing Your Power," on the site as well as other social media.

Marsha Clark  46:21  
Wendi, let me add my thanks to our listeners for joining us today. And yes, this is an emotional topic. You can't mention the words betrayal and you know, breaks of trust and agony and sudden and delicate fabric without it conjuring up a lot of deep emotions. And we do want to hear from you. And we want to support you if you're going through something that is seems a bit overwhelming or daunting right now. Let us know how we can help you and support you in that. And even the work that you need to do to get clear about what happened. What specific behaviors broke trust is important for you. So let us know how we can help you in that journey. We love hearing from you. And if you've got thoughts, questions, comments, whatever it might be, let us know. And we'll be happy to work with you. So I look forward to hearing from you and hope you'll join us for our next podcast because it's going to be on the seven steps of healing. So it's the next step in this process. We'll do a deep dive in that and we hope you'll join us for that as well. So, as always, here's to women supporting women!

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