A very short blog to help you not make the same mistakes I did!
I learned a very valuable lesson recently. In an attempt to ease anxiety and comfort someone, I shared something that I had knowledge of I thought would help to relieve the anxiety and stress that a colleague was experiencing. Unfortunately, that information did not stay where it should. Instead it was used as a source of control, power and position, eventually getting back to the person that originally trusted me with the information. This put them in a very difficult position.
Needless to say, I was informed by a text that simply said, “you told him?”
Wow, shock, awe and anger all welled up inside of me. I wanted to run and hide and ignore what I just read. My gut was in knocks. I had just betrayed someone that trusted my with information. Information a senior leader in the company should have kept private. I didn’t. I used it to show my position and my arrogance of knowledge and information. What a dummy!!!
However, I learned a lot from this;
- You should not say anything to anyone that you wouldn’t say to them. Will it pass the red face test?
- People will use information in order to gain influence and credibility for themselves.
- You must quickly iniate a dialogue with the person whose trust you betrayed.
- Show true humility in acknowledging your wrong doing. And sincerely apologize with immunizing the situation.
- Recognize your need to rebuild that trust.
- Immediately forgive the person that betrayed your trust. It is not their fault. You are the one who told them something you weren’t suppose to.
- Realize NOTHING is sacred from ANYONE at ANYTIME. If people can use the information for gain in position or influence, they will take the risk of betrayal.
- Work should be work and you should always understand the information you get at work is part of your job. Telling any confidential information to others is a job performance issue.
I have personally learned this through my own stupidity and lack of good judgment.
Even when you are trying to put someone at ease and share information, you must understand the risk level and the need for confidentiality.
Leaders must remember we are leaders all the time, every time through every situation. We must always calculate our next move, check our hearts and motives and always do the right thing.
Chuck Swindoll said, “If you want to be miserable, live only unto yourself. Think only about your own needs and desires.” I believe we need to always check out heart and determine our motivation and desires.