I Am Telling You This, But Don’t Tell Anyone Else – It’s a Secret

Because you are my friend I can tell you a secret, but don’t mention it to anyone else, it’s super confidential. This is the way you ensure the spread of anything that should be classified.

secret

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If it’s confidential, it means you cannot pass it along. End of story!

It should be very clear from the start whether the information is confidential or not. No grey areas here for many reasons, starting with the fact that news travel fast and ending with the fact that people tend to become media agencies, with a clear objective of passing the news so they feel like the belly button of the world.

Rumoring is the core of any ‘secrecy policy’ and is more pronounced in case of distorted info or from an unverified source. The rumors reach their peak when combined with ass-kissing and together they are the most common technique used in small or big companies. There are those special moments when you realize it wasn’t actually a car, but a bicycle and it wasn’t really stolen, but given away.

Once the “birdie” is out, there is no way you can stop it, we all have a confidant, and he/she has a confidant and so on… you end on some sort of MLM, where each news goes down (or up) the pyramid, often distorting the reality because each person adds some juicy details.

The company you work for should have very clear rules about data, product confidentiality. You cannot expose (critical) information chaotically and need to always make sure that those handling confidential infos treat them as such.

As manager you can’t turn yourself into a “loudspeaker”, because you set a bad example for your subordinates. Most employees copy the boss’ behavior, no matter if it’s good stuff or bad stuff.

As employee, you must take into consideration that when sharing information with the boss, that piece of info won’t stay confidential – because the boss is the representative of the company. It’s a different story if you talk about a personal problem, though there are some doubts there too. If it’s company related, the boss can’t and shouldn’t close eyes to it. You can’t expect that your manager keeps the “secret” about something not working properly and not take any actions.

The boss should facilitate an open, sincere work environment, where no one suffers from telling the truth. Nonetheless, if speaking freely hurts you once, you’ll make sure not to suffer again, so normal communication is over.

No violence at work, please!

As employee though, if you have the reputation of a “mole” don’t be surprised when people start avoiding you, because generally people tend to have a similar behavior, even if the circumstances are different. If someone tells you “Hey, guess what Johnny told me, but you can’t tell anyone else”, expect them to have the same approach with other people when you tell them a secret.

Not the least, if you tell something to some people and something else to others, you’ll end up forgetting what you said. Well done Sherlock!

The back bone keeps the whole body in a vertical position, that’s why professional behavior serves the same purpose, though figuratively speaking.

It’s not even that hard: what’s confidential should stay that way, don’t turn into a “dispenser”, don’t make assumptions, have a spine.

Good luck succeeding!