Training Badge
Submitted by ebn305 on


Hi all,
Perhaps some of you have been in this situation.

My boss has given me what he describes as "confidential information" that affects the future work practices of my team. In a nutshell, a technological makeover could reduce staff required for the daily ouput from 6 to 1.

I believe the team need to know about this so they can start preparing, adjusting or leaving.

The thing is - other areas of the enterprise know that this is coming and he Approach To Market documentation is now in the public domain. (On a website where my team are not likely to venture).

Where do I stand? If I tell 'em, my boss will further mistrust me (that's another story). If I don't, and they learn of this from someone else, my relationship will be dealt a serious body blow.

I do weekly 03's with each team member, but not with the boss.

your perspectives?


attmonk's picture

I would speak to my boss and point out that there is information in the public domain and that the team will find out by themselves, and wouldnt it be better for us to prepare something to tell the team so they are fully informed before they stumble over the info.

Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

First, you are ethically obligated to NOT DIVULGE this to your team, regardless of what APPEARS to be the stupidity of your boss's utterance.


However, you can:

a. Talk to your boss about how others are already operating with this knowledge - in other words, it's NOT confidential, as I read your post.

b. Do the work you will need to do to be ready to implement the change, even if in private.


RichRuh's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge


How does this mesh with the Horstman's law: 'There are no secrets'?

If someone on your team asks you point blank about something like this I assume you tell them- at least that's what I got out of your podcast on layoffs.

Would you mind clarifying your thoughts here? At what point do you keep things confidential, and at what point do you spill the beans?


Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

WHAT?!?!?!? Rich, NO WAY!

First off, Horstman's Law simply states that people don't keep secrets, and no matter how hard you try to keep something confidential, you can't.

This is COMPLETELY different from a manager's responsibility to not divulge anything. A manager who is told organizational plans in confidence and then shares them ought to be summarily fired. Just because word gets out doesn't mean that you as a manager can agree with it. People will always ask about rumors, and when you are asked, even if you know, you are obligated to say no comment. I recommend,

"I do know, and I'm not at liberty to say."

When a manager gives her word - as she does when she is in a meeting where confidential info is shared and she hears it and does not comment, and then leaves, she has accepted the unspoken obligation to keep the confidential information private.

There is NO WAY we ever suggested in the layoff cast anything other than TOTAL refusal to comment in any way about any rumors.



RichRuh's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

This is one of those cases when I'm really glad to be wrong!

I misinterpreted something you said,and I've been puzzled about it ever since. Thanks for the clarification.