Loose Lips and Predator Colleagues

Maintaining confidentiality in relationships with colleagues, students, and allied professionals is crucial to upholding the dignity of any professional relationship, fundamental to the management of relationships. A colleague who is not capable of that is not a colleague but is a predator. Maintaining confidentiality – or even simply respecting a relationship –  builds on the ability to have open and honest communication in the workplace secure in the knowledge that any information will not be shared with those you do not wish it to be shared with.

The Link Between Trust and Confidentiality

When you earn the reputation of someone who can be relied on to respect confidences, you command the respect and trust of people around you and build deeper friendships. In business, trustworthy people are more likely to sell more products, built a larger customer base, receive more benefits, lead stronger teams and enjoy earlier promotions. More importantly, though, to those among us who enjoy a degree of integrity, that reputation means that colleagues trust us and are comfortable with us. For leaders, this trait is vital – without it they will never obtain the relationships that will support their leadership. They will never be effective leaders. The ability to manage oneself, to control ones own behaviours, is an essential tool in the adult managers toolbox – not respecting confidential material exposes the lack of that maturity for the world to see.

Respecting and Keeping Confidences

Are you someone who can be trusted with private and confidential information?

Here are a few tips when it comes to keeping confidences:

  • Never share information that you have been asked to keep confidential.
  • Use your judgment when it comes to matters of implied confidentiality.
  • Keep things confidential that were intended to be confidential even if a relationship breaks down.
  • Do not vent your private marital or relationship issues with your friends. This will cause them to view your spouse or significant other differently, probably negatively.
  • When someone says, “I was asked to keep this in confidence, but I can share it with you,” let them know that you’d rather not be involved.

The next time you consider sharing information, be sure to ask yourself if there is a chance that the person who shared the information with you would like it kept confidential. If that is the case, don’t share it.

When you keep things confidential that should be confidential, you will gain the reputation as a person who can be trusted, and you will grow strong in character and value. Clearly, the lack of that ability has the opposite effect.  Leaders, effective managers, have this knowledge innately; for others it may be more of a struggle to control their impulse to share. For them, they will have to wait until their professional maturity kicks in  and they understand in a meaningful way the profound importance of confidentiality, trust, and relationship management. Until they understand how profoundly important that is they will never achieve the maturity they need to perform effectively.

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