Weigh carefully the potential consequences of quoting other people and spreading gossip. This means guarding against attribution and retribution. First, attributing statements to others out of context can be misleading. When you hold meetings, ask folks not to attribute what particular individuals said in the meeting afterward. If they want to share something about the meeting with those who were not in attendance, ask them to keep it general without pointing any fingers at particular individuals. Second, remember that people who pay a price (receive retribution) for what they do or say will be shy about showing up as a whole person in the future. As you encourage your people to share their opinions and input, be careful not to punish them in any way after the fact if you don’t agree with their suggestions or point of view. Maintaining confidentiality by guarding against attribution and retribution builds trust and puts people at ease to be creative, think outside the box, and get focused. Breaking confidentiality weakens trust and promotes fear and bad feelings. The choice is yours to create a culture of trust with the help of this leadership rule.
Seven leadership rules that help organizations rise to new peaks of performance are featured in my latest book, Energized Enterprise.