One thing that’s important to remember in any job that you do is to treat your customer with respect. As members of Hall Staff, our customers are the residents. One of the best ways to respect our residents is to demonstrate confidentiality. I’ve found that this is an area the paraprofessional staff as well as the professional staff can grow in.

Confidentiality is important when you are trying to build trust with your cluster, or your area. Think back to the last time you told someone something in what you thought was confidence. Now, only hours later you are faced with that same statement you told in confidence, but by someone you did not intend to talk with about it. More likely than not, you were either disgusted or furious. Possibly both. Now think back to the last time you took a situation you dealt with, as a member of Hall Staff, and you “told the tale” to others. Maybe you know that it got back to the individual(s) involved, maybe you don’t . . . the point is, they were probably upset. They told their buddy down the hall, he told someone . . . now your residents will never come to you if and when they need help, for fear of others knowing about their problem. It’s a vicious cycle, and one that greatly reduces your effectiveness as a leader in your residence hall.

So, how do you demonstrate confidentiality? Do you wear a sign that says, “I’m confidential?” No, you really don’t have to do anything . . . in fact that’s exactly what you have to do: nothing. All you do is keep things to yourself, thinking of the people involved before you “tell the tale.” It all goes back to the golden rule: Treat others as you wish to be treated.

Thanks to Nick Bertram, Staff Assistant in the Division of Student Life at Eastern Kentucky University for writing this article.

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