Career mistakes

Speaking out of turn

At a conference dinner, I heard of a school that was run, as some are, by a tight-knit senior leadership team of about six. They decided everything and were sometimes slow to let others know what was going on. But one member, it seems, enjoyed passing on confidential information - "You haven't heard it from me, but ..."

This person was always referred to, derisively, as "a usually reliable source". As a strategy for currying favour by someone who should have been winning respect more professionally, it was misguided and counterproductive.

What's the right thing to do?

Whether you spill the beans about meetings that are supposed to be confidential is between you and your conscience. Do not, however, do it to impress, or to confirm your privileged status to yourself and lesser mortals. They will see through it and you will lose respect. Instead, use your energies to persuade your team to be more open with everyone.

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