In recent months based on the nationally
and internationally publicized closed door conversations and E-Mails
it may good for us to evaluate what meaning we personal we hold for
Confidentiality. Allow me to share my evaluation with you, and
ask that you do the same and seek an opportunities to discuss this topic
with your associates, professional networks and by extension with your
family and friends.
To me above all else, to me this word
speaks of honour. My first experience with these words can be traced
to the playground. Knowing information and being asked to keep
it as a secret made me feel like a Queen; filled with glee and pride
to be counted amongst the chosen few.
In my teen years it seemed like the
more private information you knew the more you would be held accountable
for it and there would suffer sever consequences and experience “drama”
if you loosely handled what you knew. I made it my business to avoid
information that did not directly affect me and being anyone’s confidant.
My mantra was “the less I know the better it is for me.”
Adulthood saw more of the same as the
teen years. The less I knew the better it was for me. Until the
day I was forced to embrace confidentiality up close and professional
when I accepted a job as a human resources and training associate, then
magnified to the 10th power when promoted to co-lead a department
with a team of approximately 15 associates. Oh! And to make this
pot even sweeter, the nature of the organization required all associates
to comply with honoring the clients’ rights and confidentiality, sealed
by your initials to a line statement when receiving your copy of the
employee handbook. Failure to comply could result in termination and
possibly legal action.
Interestingly keeping confidential
matters confidential was relatively easy for me as my job and livelihood
were at stake. Unfortunately, what was uncomfortable were family, friends
and colleagues who found it challenging to accept that I could not share
with them what I knew. The simple; “you could tell me, I aint gone
tell nobody” was equivalent to me hearing “I want me to loose my
job”, “I want you to live with a lack of integrity” and “I don’t
respect your position.”
Today as a Path Coach, my stance to
confidentiality remains the same, actually it is even more intensified
as being a self employed professional, not honoring my clients confidence
can be the detriment of my reputation and livelihood.
Let’s shift perspectives from me
to you and allow you to evaluate how confidentiality may be affected
or has affected you in the workplace:
1. Is it a challenge for you to be
a confidant? Consider if people respect you by sharing with privilege
information with you in detail. Is information passed around and
over you especially when your position calls for your inclusion?
2. Have you been betrayed by a confidant?
Reflect on if enough time was allowed for this person to prove their
eligibility to be held responsible with your affairs. A bit challenging
if the betrayal was at the hands of your manager or subordinate, perhaps
consider how documentation or a witness could have soften the bruise.
3. What does it mean to you to guard
information? What makes it good and acceptable for you to be like a
bank vault filled with money, only allowing access to a chosen few,
up to a certain point and only at the appropriate time?
4. What linkages do you see between
your demonstration of confidentiality and your character, reputation,
potential for promotion, respect, and most importantly the legacy by
which your children and your children’s children will be reminded
of and may be subjected to.
If your evaluation reveals that it
may be wiggle room for improvement it may be in your best interest to
reconsider your approach to upholding confidentiality and resolve to
take immediately corrective actions. Here are a few recommendations
to get you started:
Erect boundaries to protect
Protect what you know as
if your life depended on it
Shun the temptation to share
what you know
Suppress the curiosity to
be in the know
Embrace the honour and respect
included in being a confidant
Understand that that sometimes
knowing less than is acceptable
I leave you with this quote by
Clinton Secretary of State in the Obama Administration and former
first lady of the United States of America.
In almost every profession
– whether it’s law or journalism, finance or medicine or academia
or running a small business – people rely on confidential communications
to do their jobs. We count on the space of trust that confidentiality
provides. When someone breaches that trust, we are all worse off
Copyright @ 2011 Kaylus Horton
Kaylus Horton is the Principal
of Renaissance Group of Companies. As a Certified Path Coach she facilitates
learning and discovery for the focus, direction and the pursuit of vision.
For more information about
coaching in the workplace visit www.renaissancebahamas.com or send an