Withholding Truth & Trust

Withholding Truth & Trust

“And this has been going on how long?” Gerald: “Uh, about six months”.

You may recall the story-line in the Full Monty Movie where Gerald is withholding from his wife that fact that he is unemployed and has been living a charade for months?

Long term it’s not the deceit per se that will damage the relationship – its that Gerald can no longer be trusted to be honest and open.

His wife will forever be evaluating his dialogue through the lens of ‘you are not to be trusted’. Harsh maybe, understandable definitely. Not because she wants to be resentful, it’s just how humans tick.

Once burnt twice shy and all that good stuff.

Too frequently we hear of team mates ‘withholding information’. Typically their justification is honorable and sincere but not cogent or attentive to the occuring ‘Trust drain’:

We didn’t want to hit you with bad news.
I thought you’d get upset.
We were scared it would damage the relationship.
I was just too embarrassed or ashamed (just like our Friend Gerald)

Don’t be too harsh on you self or others – we all withhold to some degree and some cases its prudent – ‘transparency is not alway about letting it all hang out’.

How we would be better served is testing our strategy, for that is what withholding information is, a strategy to conceal until a ‘better’ time.

The strategy Question. Is it better to bear the risk of keeping a lid on ‘this’ until its invariably surfaces in a big fat surprise and major trust outage (like skeletons in the cupboard do)? Or, go the Full Monty and speak up now with probable low level upset (with high potential to repair superficial damage and actually build greater Trust)?


Paul Fox
Paul Fox

Paul Fox has been active as a Construction Industry Performance Coach for the last 20 years and remains at the forefront of Collaborative Working and High Performance Team Behaviours. He disrupts the status quo of individuals, project and senior teams who want exponentially more output with much less struggle.

Comments are closed.