discretion / disˈkreSHən

dis·cre·tion / disˈkreSHən / noun. The quality of behaving or speaking in such a way as to avoid causing offense or revealing private information

The Cool Hunter posted this quote a while back and it got me thinking about discretion and integrity in the workplace.  I had always assumed the two attributes were closely linked in meaning, but not so. Integrity is the soundness of one’s moral character and ethical principles whereas discretion is about not giving away secrets or offending people.

It’s the discretion side of the equation that has me puzzled. An ex-colleague is part of an organisation who were restructuring. Apart from the obvious retort of “so what! show me a place that ain’t restructuring”, she quite happily shared any number of confidential tit-bits for my amusement. But it begs the question – if she was so free and easy with the information she provided me, what was she telling other people?

I know most of us like to hear the gossip but none of us would want to be the ‘actual subject’ of the discussion at the water-cooler.


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