How many contradictory messages are circulating in your work place



We live in a society when we often say one thing and mean another. The workplace is no different. These contradictory messages can make work a miserable place for many employees as they try to meet the stated and unstated instructions of their managers.

I recognize at least a couple of the contradictory messages listed below in every workplace I have ever worked in, as well as ,within my own family and friendship circles.  I also recognize how damaging they can be. They cause confusion and set people up to fail.  After a bit of soul searching I also recognized that I too have perpetuated some of these contradictory messages. Note to self: Stop doing that.

By acknowledging these contradictory messages, we can challenge them and change our messaging so it is consistent and not confusing. We can  make sure we are clear about what we expect of others and what others expect of us.

Read the list below:How many of the these contradictory messages do you recognize?

  • Keep others  informed, but hide mistakes
  • Tell the truth , but don’t bring bad news
  • Take risks, but don’t fail
  • Beat everybody else, but make it look as if nobody lost
  • Be a team player, but what really matters is  your own individual performance
  • Express your independent ideas, but don’t contradict the boss
  • Be creative, but don’t deviate from the rules
  • Promise only what you can do, but never say “no” to your boss’s requests
  • Ask questions, but never admit ignorance
  • Think about the global system,but you’s better optimize your own sub – system ( department, team)
  • Think long term, but you’d better deliver  immediate results
  • Follow all the rules, but cat as if none of them exist

From Fred Kofman’s fantastic book ‘Conscious Business’ . A fantastic read if you want to learn about adaptive leadership. Like all good adaptive leadership books you learn as much about yourself as you do about organisational systems.

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