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My colleague betrayed my trust, now what?

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in Workplace Communication

Any admin worth his or her salt knows that trust is a cornerstone of the job. Without trust, it’s tough to forge a true partnership with your boss.

But what happens when the trust between co-workers is broken?

Example: Another department manager criticizes you for not handling something to her satisfaction. You e-mail someone you trust in that department that the bungle wasn’t your fault, and ask whether the manager has ever done something similar to her? She forwards the e-mail to her manager.

Result? You feel betrayed by your co-worker. The manager is angry. And you must work with both. Here’s how:

Never trust that co-worker again. Anything you say to her may be used against you later. So keep your opinions and information far from her ears. Treat her with professionalism, but don’t let down your guard.

Mend your relationship with the manager. Doing so will neutralize any political power your co-worker may have gained (or attempted to gain). And that relationship will serve you better in the long run.

Workplace columnist Joan Lloyd suggests saying, “I apologize for the forwarded e-mail. I was frustrated and didn’t use good judgment. I reacted defensively and I should have first taken responsibility for what I could do to change those perceptions. I’d like to talk about ways I can improve my work and service.”

A frank conversation will gain back the manager’s respect. And the untrustworthy co-worker will expose herself as who she truly is.

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