Sharing personal information at the workplace is tricky, complicated and confusing. On one hand, we want to develop close relationships with our coworkers and bosses and being open to sharing ourselves with them seems like a great way of lessening the distance between them and us. If we share too little, we can be perceived as being cold, standoffish or unfriendly. On the other hand, sharing too much or the wrong kind of information can lead to mistrust, negative judgements, questioning of our discernment and alienation from the people whose relationship is so important to our working lives.
Every work environment is different and what is appropriate sharing in one, may not be in another. Part of our ability to determine what to share and not is accurately assessing our work environment. If your work environment is highly structured and work oriented, the less personal information that is shared, the better. If on the other hand people are very open and seem to enjoy sharing their personal lives, it will be more of an expectation on us to follow suite. Even in the most open environments there are definite limitations on what and how much we should share. Look at who the most respected people are at work, notice how much and what they share and follow their lead.
Here is a list of things to go under your Do Not Share Category:
Anything personal going on in your life that can be viewed as a negative
Never share problems you are having with your in-laws, relationships, your own or your family’s struggle with addictions or any kind of situations that can cause others to question you or put you in a negative light. Any financial problems or past criminal activities should be kept strictly to yourself. While you may think that it is okay to sharing the negative aspects of those close to you, as you are not directly involved, your colleagues or boss may view the activities of those in your circle as a reflection of your judgment and or character.
Making negative judgments about others competence
There will always be people at work who you feel are incompetent but for your own well-being, it is better that you not broadcast this to your boss or colleagues. Likely these people are known to others and your mentioning this will not help the situation or put you in a good light. Others may view you with suspicion and wonder if you are saying negative things about them behind their backs. Once trust is lost, it is near to impossible to gain trust back again.
Political or religious beliefs
There is nothing that can push people’s buttons and induce them to be fired up as politics and religion. Many people carry their political and religious beliefs with great fervor and nothing can cause more damage and conflict than questioning or disagreeing with them. That is why you should stay as far away from these two topics as possible. If directly asked, you could politely say that it is Go to the full article.