I remember the sour taste and sinking feeling I got when I realized he betrayed me. I’d poured my ideas, energy and trust into his business only to have him accuse me of being a thief.
Years ago, I was part of the training team for a mediation company. I won’t go into much details. The owner (let’s call him Randy) and I grew to be friends and I could see areas in his business that he’d neglected to grow. I took those on, introducing Randy to a lucrative new market and designing an ongoing conference so he could stay in touch with past clients and generating new work.
Pretty brilliant, actually. Except I never got to see the conference I’d worked so hard on. I was fired right beforehand. Randy thought I’d stolen his ideas. Mediation is about trust. It was excruciatingly painful for me to know that someone I respected in my field thought I wasn’t trustworthy.
Betrayal is about mismatched expectations. I thought we were collaborating on a new division of his company; he thought I was using his ideas for my own benefit. You think you’re on the same page, but then the other person acts in a way that’s totally startling and you’re hurt, disappointed and angry…at them and at yourself.
Mediation to Recover
We went to mediation after a few attempts to resolve things ourselves. It was strange, yet really helpful, to be on the other side of the mediation table. I gained a new appreciation for what it feels like to be the party instead of the mediator, which informs my work to this day.
We were able to begin talking with the mediator highlighting the positives and skirting us around sinkholes. We didn’t become friends again. We did part on a cordial basis that made it easy for Randy to connect with me years later to network.
I strongly suggest that you try mediation to rebuild work relationships. It works- 85% of mediated agreements last. It helps- you’ll have a chance to speak up for you and find a solution. It heals- you’ll be able to release your negative feelings and replace them with compassion for you and the other person. Nice!
Have you tried mediation before? What was your experience?