Finding Your Filter

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Sharing is a sign of trust.  We all want to be “transparent” when it comes to our thoughts, feelings and the way we manage our decision making.  It’s good to put all of your cards on the table when dealing with your co-workers, your boss and your clients, but you have to know when TMI (Too Much Information) is crossing the line. Finding and using your verbal filter helps you edit out only the pertinent information from the “need to know “ category and may make the difference in confiding more than you need to.

We all want to share and feel like we are in the know when it comes to the corporate “inner circle.”  That’s a natural feeling to have when you believe you are not part of the process of how the company or your job works.  It’s about control and information as they say equates to power.  That holds true whether you are on the giving or receiving end of any news. Some of us are better at managing information, where others feel like they need to be part of every conversation and know the inner workings of a company. But when is knowing more than you need to something you can handle?  Do you need to be part of every conversation and know how everyone feels about you or the boss or your peers?  It’s one thing to provide “feedback” in a constructive way when the party you are sharing it with is open to receiving the feedback.  It’s entirely another when you are spreading the word about people or situations that best be kept confidential.

Knowing how much information to filter out when discussing another person in the organization is the difference between being helpful from being harmful.  You can find the right and wrong way to share information.  Sometimes it’s a slippery slope when the individual or the organizational culture does not foster open and honest communication.  You run the risk of being too open and too communicative if the company does not support that type of behavior and information sharing in a safe and confidential environment.

You can and will develop the kind of trust you need from your co-workers when you know the difference between sharing too much information that may cause others to feel insecure about your candor and your honesty.  Asking permission to share “unfiltered” feedback is a way to engage in a trusting and open dialogue with a co-worker especially if you have to share tough news.

The art of corporate communication is more about what you should not share with someone than it is about what you feel someone needs to know. When you have managed to discern the difference you open yourself up to new and meaningful ways to share your thoughts and a point of view so that others can appreciate it.  Knowing when to speak your mind is a skill that will serve you well whether you are starting out in your career or you are a seasoned veteran.  Learning the best way to share information with your colleagues and associates is a skill worth practicing. Possessing self-awareness in how you handle your professional interactions will serve you well as you traverse the corporate landscape.

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