Eileen’s Lessons June 2017
When my children were younger, I was aware of a classroom behavioral issue in their religious school. How did I find out? I had just walked into the school to pick up one of my children and a parent was badgering an administrator in the hopes of finding out what was going on. I could see that the administrator was uncomfortable and had told the parent several times that she couldn’t discuss the matter.
As an HR person, I understand the need for privacy and to not discuss private matters. So when the parent left, I approached her and let her know what I observed and offered her a tool to use for the next time. That was to simply say “just as it would not be appropriate for me to discuss anything about your child with another parent, it would not be appropriate for me to discuss any actions related to this child with you.” Wow. It was powerful for her.
In my years in HR, I have been asked about private and/or sensitive information too many times to count. Case in point, this past weekend, a friend who had previously asked me about something that was sensitive, again asked me about the same matter. She suspected that I knew more details, but quite frankly, it wasn’t something that would have been appropriate for me to discuss. When she first asked a few weeks ago, I said: “It would not be appropriate for me to discuss.”
But this past weekend she asked again, I said: “I’m sorry, the information you are asking from me isn’t mine to tell.”
Many times, managers, employees and just everyday people simply “want to know” things, but they don’t always easily accept or understand that it’s ok to not know everything. Quite frankly, having full knowledge isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, just ask any HR person.
Until next month.