“Confidentiality is an ancient and well-warranted social value.” -Kay Redfield Jamison

Innately, people like to kiss and tell. People like to tell stories; they like to share gossip and information about others and themselves. In a progressively globalized world bound together by communication, confidentiality is even more important than ever before both professionally and personally.

Wrongfully exchanged documents, misleading numbers or unauthorized use of personal information are all common forms of confidential breaches within the work force. Regardless of the form, there is one thing that causes the unlawful disclosure of classified information every time. This one matter will cause people to be unethical, to lie, to cheat, and leads to poor moral aptitude: money.

A breach of confidentiality is easy if one is drowning in bills and living paycheck to paycheck. Fudging this number this one time, in order to hit the bonus and make an extra ten thousand dollars is an effortless choice. Unethical choices then become simple.

Each time a bank teller chooses not to misuse unauthorized information, a customer’s right to privacy is protected. The longer their privacy is maintained, the more their confidence in that bank grows. This key aspect of trust, respecting another’s confidence in you, builds customer retention and develops growth.

In the professional sphere, confidentiality functions similarly to the personal sphere with one exception: Human Resources policies. Laws enforced by HR ensure the proper handling of private information. In a professional setting, a confidential conversation can occur as long as it does not violate HR policies. Once the Human Resources line is crossed, confidentiality is breached.

The solution is straightforward: do the right thing. The right decision is to make the hard choice, despite the situation. The current moment is temporary, and so are the pressing problems. Do not let money or greed get in the way of the position you have to take because confidentiality transcends time.

If you breached confidential information, you need to do some soul searching. If the breach stemmed from a motive to climb the corporate ladder, eventually you are going to step on one of those ladder rungs and discover they are no longer there. You will fall and no one will be there to catch you. To begin rebuilding those rungs, go back and apologize to the person whose confidence you breached. Furthermore, go to the individual you inappropriately confided in, admit your error, and ask them to you help you correct the wrong by not passing on that information.

Additionally, if someone knows that you confided in them and they broke your trust, do not confide in that person again. Self-evaluate any character flaws you may have since you trusted them to begin with. Then, it is critical to have a conversation in person that is succinct and direct from the start. It is imperative to not let bad news or tension linger. By bringing the situation up, you may find yourself surprised.

Confidentiality has led to a world of success for me, a value largely developed through my time as a healthcare provider. Deeply private information was regularly disclosed to me under the patient-provider confidentiality relationship; a relationship that is sacred. Honoring the trust others invested in me has become a staple of who I am both professionally and personally.

A cornerstone of trust for all types of relationships, confidentiality is imperative to sustaining relationships that last. The more of a confidential relationship you have with the individuals in your life, the longer and deeper of a relationship it will be…

Privacy Preference Center