Confidentiality and transparency are strange bedfellows

I’ve been faced with a challenging leadership conundrum lately, when is it the right time to disclose important information when that same information is confidential?

It’s an issue that I have been ‘ummming’ and ‘ahhhing’ about for some time. On one hand, I have been looped in to sensitive information that has the potential to create significant challenges for the organisation in the immediate future. On the other hand, with that potential looming, I need to prepare my team, communicate effectively to minimise confusion and to begin planning for the imminent changes that will affect the objectives of our business plan.

Which is more important – confidentiality or transparency?

Most of the time, I default to transparency with my team. We have built a strong level of trust with each other that allows for open and honest communication with the focus on shared solutions for wicked problems. I like sharing the decision making process with others so there is a combined understanding of how we got to a certain end state.

But I am a strong believer in confidentiality too. When someone shares with you important information, it shows a level of trust and confidence. I want to honour the positive judgement of my character by respecting the privacy of the matter.

I haven’t solved this conundrum yet. It’s a balance, just like a see-saw. One usually takes a higher position of importance than the other depending on the circumstances. The success of the balance seems to rely on the culture of the team and what we value – trust, accountability, kindness, respect and positive challenge.

You can read more about the idea of balancing transparency and confidentiality from Lynda Jeffries at:

I’m keen to hear your thoughts on what you value more – transparency or confidentiality?

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