'Can I tell my friend what the boss really thinks of her?
(Money Magazine) -- Question: My good friend Delia aspires to be a project manager at the company where we both work and where I'm already a manager. At a recent senior staff meeting, my boss discussed which employees are on the short list for the next time a manager job opens up.
Delia isn't among them - my boss said flatly that Delia doesn't have the right temperament. Can I tell my friend a promotion is unlikely, or do I owe it to my boss to keep my mouth shut?
Answer: When your boss tells you something in confidence, you're obligated to keep it in confidence. That's a responsibility that goes with your job. While it may be tempting to imagine that there's some middle ground - say, hinting to Delia that her prospects for a promotion are poor without coming out and telling her what you know - that won't fly.
Information about hiring, firing and promotions is among the most sensitive in any organization. There may be other gray areas in which you would arguably have wiggle room (for example, the date of the office holiday party), but this isn't one of them.
As your junior at the company, Delia should understand that you may be privy to information she'd like to know but you can't reveal. Friends don't ask friends to violate these confidences, and employers must be able to rely on employees to keep them.
What you can do: When Delia next mentions her aspirations, suggest that at her performance review she ask what her prospects are for breaking into management and how she might improve them.
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