“Another crucial aspect of effective communication lies in knowing what not to say. Too many leaders have inadvertently stepped on land mines without realizing it because they either said too much or otherwise made promises or guarantees that they simply couldn’t keep. Knowing what not to say, therefore, is an important part of communication. One common area where such land mines exist has to do with over-promising confidentiality.
“If an employee asks to speak with you off the record, train yourself right now to respond like this:
“‘Maybe. It all depends on what you have to say. If it has to do with one of three things, Laura, then I can’t promise confidentiality because I’ll have an affirmative obligation to disclose it to senior leadership: The three things are harassment or discrimination, potential violence in the workplace, or an inherent conflict of interest with the company’s business practices’” (page 101).
“The biggest takeaway for me from my talks with other moms was that as parents, we can’t be passive about our kids’ financial educations, and especially when it comes to our daughters. As with lessons about healthy eating or safe sex, parents have to take charge of the conversation or kids will start to pick up all sorts of false and even harmful ideas. Between advertising on television and the seemingly magical powers of Amazon Prime, my kids could easily lose a sense of limits and frugality. … I knew that some of my conversations were sinking into my five-year-old’s head, because she started bringing up the topic herself. … When I sat down to pay bills one weekend morning, she asked if she could help me. She sat beside me and watched as I tried to figure out why our water bill had gone up so much from the previous period, and then explained to her dad that we had to look for ways to waste less water” (page 162).
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