When you hear the word betrayal, what does it mean to you?


“Betrayal is the breaking or violation of a presumptive contract, trust, or confidence that produces moral and psychological conflict within a relationship amongst individuals, between organizations or between individuals and organizations.” Wikipedia

Most likely, in our life journey, we have experienced some level of betrayal. As children, we may have felt betrayal as a friend did not pick us to be on their team in a game during recess. This may seem small to us as adults now, but if it continues to happen to a child over time with no one to help them process these issues, the problem gets bigger.


There are many needs for the children we serve today which are not addressed because they are not readily identified correctly. Children do not openly tell us many things going on in their lives. You know this if you are a parent and have asked the question, “How was school today?”

But it is in asking these questions consistently, working to build relationships, and supporting all of the needs of the children we serve we will find issues that may seem simple today but will grow if left alone.


Not all children, but many experience betrayal in multiple ways each day of their lives. Promises are made but never kept—people who they trust abuse them. Mothers and fathers leave children because of violence leading to death and decisions made to choose drugs and alcohol. Children make choices to belong to gangs because they are born into the system, they are bullied into joining, or they need to belong to something only to find these systems are full of betrayal.

School systems cannot do it alone, but when students fail, this is the label placed on the educational system. I am not saying the system does not need significant improvements, but we have many other layers and areas to improve as well.

The betrayal of our children rests with you, me, and everyone who chose to read these words. My journey has provided me with many steps, and I have several more to take, but I will always continue to take every action I can to ensure I reach further to see our children succeed.

This goes with my blog post today. So happy to see this land in my email box this morning. Trust matters!

Everything!

If you do not have trust in any relationship or environment, there is no chance it will last or work.

Have you ever worked in an environment where you did not trust those you worked with or worked for? If you have, you know exactly how it feels. While listening to an individual tell her story of the situation she had just been through, as tears formed in her eyes, my heart sank. No one needs to ever go through a time when they feel like this, making a choice over themselves or those they serve and deciding who they can trust.

It isn't easy in your work life when there is no trusting environment. You do not feel like you can take those risks to do extraordinary things for those you serve. Sometimes you are asked to do things you know are not right. What do you do when your boss tells you to do something you know is incorrect, does not follow legal guidelines, and is not in the best interest of those you serve? Do you do it to keep your job or not?


In the business world, education, and organizations, people work with us based on our reputations. It takes years to build up who we are, our beliefs, and our core values. Can an individual have enough influence to make others believe something untrue about you? I found an article that is not something I would typically select to read. However, it was fun to read, and the points below come from the article.

How do you know if your boss is working against you?

I have to say, I have had a boss with most of the above points. The article provides information on how to deal with these points. Excuse the language, especially in the title. It does get your attention.


Trust is an integral part of every relationship. As a boss or leader, you are gaining the trust of those you serve and it is the most crucial part of your work. Keeping that trust is what you work to do each day. When you are working in a high-stress level job or doing a job where knowing those above you and beside you will be there to support you is critical.

Everyone wants to feel good and safe while working to accomplish those two needs; trust has to be present. A friend shared the graphic below, and I think it represents leadership. What it should be and should not be.

Well, I tumble out of bed and stumble to the kitchen,
Pour myself a cup of ambition, Yawn and stretch and try to come to life

Jump in the shower, and the blood starts pumping
Out on the street, the traffic starts jumping
With folks like me on the job from 9 to 5
”~Dolly Parton, 9 to 5 released in 1980. This song received a Grammy for the best country song, and she received a Grammy for the best female performance. The song has gone on to produce a movie, musicals, and so much more!

Going to work each day can be redundant. People can feel isolated. So many other issues, and problems come to mind when I think of all of the issues we face today in our work environments. It seems just getting to work; we may be dodging bullets (literally), arrows, and fear to get through or out of the door to begin our work day.

Dodging Bullets

When I write about dodging bullets today, I can mean literally as our world has turned the corner in becoming more violent with the rise of crime. Neighborhoods and cities which were safe are now becoming unsafe. However, it was not my intent to speak about the increased crime but the trauma behind dodging bullets.

Trauma is more than dodging bullets. The phrase, “I dodged a bullet today,” means you escaped a bad situation or something that would cause harm to you. Many individuals around us, or even ourselves, are dodging bullets daily, weekly, or monthly. The circumstances are different for each of us, but the reality is reflected in the environment we all share. Recovering from a global pandemic, higher costs for everything we need, shortages of products, a rise in crime, and the unknowns.

As leaders, we must consider dodging bullets with our staff and arrange a time to address ways to find support solutions.

Arrows

Arrows have sharp points and are shot to have a direct hit at the bullseye. My husband is a great shot! So are those who shoot targeted arrows of negativity at their co-workers. The craft of arrow shooting is spot on when a toxic environment exists within your culture. Individuals have practiced arrow shooting for a long time.

Toxic cultures begin with one. Once they have achieved the arrow shooting with precision with no repercussions, others notice and start to join because of fear. This is when the toxic culture grows, and fear sets in as others remain quiet.

As leaders, we must recognize when these sharp points begin to surface and address them by reminding staff of our core values and beliefs.

Fear

Did you know fear is how people can control you? Fear is an emotion. It is our most powerful emotion and is our defense mechanism. When you are told something over and over, shown something repeatedly and when people you feel are in leadership positions tell you something, fear begins to take hold. Now they have power over you.

Bullying is like this for children. I often tell children and teachers not to give away their power. Power is what everyone seeks. There are lots of steps to take when dealing with bullying, but ultimately it is about placing fear to gain control over you. Children also like to see how far they can go in the classroom to gain more power as well. Why have the power struggle?

We all have fear; it is an emotion to warn us of danger. Fear is a needed emotion but not one we want to get out of control. When our fears overcome us, we have anxiety which can lead to more health-related issues. In the workplace, fear is something we need to address. People should not be fearful.

As leaders, we need to work to help all members of our teams to feel good and safe about being in our workplace environment.

S.O.S

Setting up a System of Support is a great way to help the culture of your work environment address trauma and issues faced.

The system of support will not look the same in every workplace. The framework will be the same, but the elements inside will vary based on the needs and wants of the team. Remember to listen to all voices and pay attention to those dominating conversations; you need all agents.

Framework of S.O.S

SYSTEM:

OF:

SUPPORT:

Taking action steps to help teams dodge bullets and arrows from the past and present to avoid fears today and tomorrow will improve our teams. Let’s become bulletproof on our way to conquering fear and overcoming all the arrows shot in our direction. I can’t, you can’t, but we can be the solution daily in a world that needs us!

What is wrong with your arm?

“I fell outside on my elbow and was sent to the nurse. She looked at it and got me ice. Told me to go to class, but it hurts really bad.”

Why didn’t someone tell me? I am right here! MaryAnn can I go ahead and leave, I am taking her to the doctor.

“Yes, go right ahead. Not a problem.”

I got my things together and told Sarah not to move her arm; we went straight to see Doc. I saw the nurse as I was walking out of my room, heading for my car.

“I gave her some ice; I am sure it will be fine.” the nurse says as we are walking down the hallway.

“What, I am right down the hallway, and you did not think to get me. We are going to see the doctor straight now. I do not think she is fine. I am furious with you right now. It is best not to have a conversation.”

We were pulling up to the doctor’s office in town where I used to work, and they took us right back. The doctor took one look and said she needed to go to Champaign. Do not let her eat. She may need surgery, but we will not know until they exray it. We will call ahead to let them know you are on your way.

It was not fractured to needing surgery but was very close. The doctor stated it was broken, and they would need to put her in a cast. It was close to needing surgery, but she was a lucky girl.


My daughter is now a special education teacher with three children of her own, 14, 7, and 4 years of age. At the time of her injury, she was in third grade, and I was teaching right down the hallway in a Title I Resource Room. No one had to go out of their way to find me. So the “fracture” of communication with parents has been in place for some time.

I did not let it go or get by without something being done about it, and I stood up for not just my child but all children. I continue to do so. Parents have the right to know, need the ability to ask questions, and approve of the things going on in the schools. It is a collaboration together. Children spend a great deal of time at school. Parents and families need to be able to trust, respect, and feel good about all of those in the care of their children. Open communications, collaboration, and listening help to get things moving in the right direction.

If family engagement and involvement are not a priority for you, please make it one. This is how things will begin to change and improvements made.

Trust is the glue of society. When we loose it, we have to rebuild and restore quickly. Trust brings peace and safety.

“I made a decision to write for my readers, not to try to find more readers for my writing.” - Seth Godin

A circle is a round-shaped figure that has no corners or edges. Have you heard circle used in different ways? When you think about a circle, you visualize the shape in your mind. A circle is a perfectly round shape—meaning any point around its curve is the same distance from its central point. “She is not part of that circle of friends.” “It is so important to have a circle of trust.” “The circle of life is part of the Lion King.” Many examples of the use of a circle as more than just a shape, but symbolic in the meaning of the words attached. The vision in our head may show us the shape, but the words in a phrase bring to our heart a different feeling or emotion.

Have you ever felt left out? I know I have before. People begin talking about something that happened; they start laughing and sharing information. Then here I sat watching them like I was watching a television show instead of sitting with co-workers. Circles of friendships are formed at work and it is great. It is when exclusion from these groups becomes more and more, causing those sitting outside the ring to feel isolated. When the circle of friends crosses over to the circle of safety and trust at work, a sense of belonging and validation is missed by others.

Leaders need to be watchful of these situations and try to resolve them quickly. We absolutely cannot tell others what they do outside of the workplace, and we want everyone to have fun and enjoy work; it is when those areas cross over that we find issues. I will point out leaders, especially if this came from you and modeled. Everyone wants to feel good and to feel safe in their environment. Two Rule philosophy has taught us to look at those two questions. It is applied to every aspect of life and at every stage of life. Establishing a Circle of Safety to include everyone in your organization is essential. Do not leave anyone off the list. Every person in the organization is part of the Circle of Safety.

I started the blog today with a quote from Seth Godin. I started my blog because I was working on writing a book. I need to clarify my efforts in writing, my reasons, and my purpose.

My intentions have only been to help someone. Maybe you are the one I am writing for, and if it is you, I am glad it is. I look at the names of all of those who choose to follow me and the direct messages sent to me. We all come from many different places and have other interests and careers but share many of the same thoughts, troubles, and, at times, tears. I am thankful for a new follower, a like, and an occasional comment, and I am encouraged to write for another day. I hope we create a circle of daily solution friends who can inspire, ask questions, add sparks to life, and share thoughts, ideas, and solutions to make today better than yesterday. Thank you for being part of my circle Janet, Valerie, @DavidCoker, @vivomentor, @togetr4success, @parentingfamiliesdpapa, @thechristiantechnerd, and I have others I will highlight as I continue to appreciate you.

Anytime you want to publish with a big publishing company, they want to know you have established a group of people who would purchase the book you write. I never thought about that part of the process, and I still do not as much as I should. I first began writing the book after my car accident and change in my career as a healing process.

My blog posts are written to help individuals working to serve others. I come from the educational world; I am a wife, mother, and grandmother, so you will find those stories in my writing. I am a faith-based leader, you will also see spiritual, inspirational, and motivational pieces. When you combine all of those pieces, you get: to be the solution daily. Leaders are not those sitting in offices but those doing the work guiding others, shaping and discovering solutions daily with the help of others.

I hope you continue to follow, share, join us and be part of the Circle of Solutions family. We are happy you are here and welcome your thoughts. I left out an important fact about myself. I have always been a Disney fan! This blog post is not complete without ending with the Circle of Life! Enjoy each day we have!

Over the past few years, our world has experienced uncertainty. We have been through a global pandemic leading us into a world of the unknown and many assumptions.

How can we turn our homes, workplaces, and communities from assumptions to assurances? What will it take for us to lead out of the crisis we continue to feel?

Assumption

When we make an assumption it is defined as: a thing that is accepted as true or as certain to happen, without proof. I tested this out with my middle school students one year when talking about making assumptions about others before getting to know them. Here was the example:

Each of the rooms had special speakers assigned to them. Students would rotate to each of the rooms. Once they arrived, they would get settled and the speaker would join the room. Students were then asked to answer questions about the speaker based on just how they looked.

“So what do you think I am good at?”

Students all began to raise their hands and each one said, Basketball.

“Oh, you think because I am 6’5 and black I can play basketball.”

Yes, all of the students shouted.

“Wrong, I have never played basketball very well. It was not my thing. I actually am a drummer.”

When we make assumptions based on surface level evidence and not hard evidence, we are making bad decisions. In order to make good decisions we need to base it on factual evidence. Once you have evidence then you can make a factual statement based on the information you have.

“Let me provide you with the evidence you need to base your decision.”

Assurances

During the past few years we have experienced traumatic events and a need to feel safe. When we have episodes like this, many times a great deal of assumptions begin to appear. People begin to feel uneasy, unsure and do not feel trust. It is when they need to hear assurances from leadership; a positive declaration intended to give confidence; a promise. It is the time when leaders need to listen to what is not said.

“Trusted servant leaders are the answer to today’s challenges.”(pg.136)-Simple Truths of Leadership by Ken Blanchard and Randy Conley. Building trust in your environment is a skill you work to build or it can quickly begin to erode. There are four ABCD model steps created to take and follow:

These come from the book Trust Works! Ken Blanchard, Cynthia Olmsted, and Martha Lawrence. It is also in Simple Truths of Leadership by Ken Blanchard and Randy Conley, page 77

Leaders need a plan! Every aspect of what is done needs to be done with an intentional plan. It is consistency, intentional and purposeful! The best way to begin with assurances is to be authentic and realistic in what those will be.

Have you been listening to the political ads? These are not examples of assurances individuals who you lead want to hear from you. Those are campaign talking points to gain votes. People working with you want to know with confidence what will happen, be provided, and is authentic. Please do not say it, promise it or forget to do whatever you have assured them you will do for them. Please make sure it is authentic.

I will

The “I will” assurances can be what you want them to be. Maybe you sent an end of the year survey and you have data to be able to reflect from the survey. The leader you are is reflected in the assurances you provide, the words you speak, the actions you take and in what you do each day. Leaders are watched more than others. Walk that walk, talk the talk and keep the promises you make! This will provide all with the data they need to determine the assurances you have provided are not assumptions, but facts they can trust.

"I only have 2 rules!"
© 2023 Brenda Yoho
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