How Mixed Messages Undermine Your Leadership

Mixed messages kill. When you as a leader say one thing yet do another, it kills your credibility. It demotivates your people. And it undermines whatever you’re trying to achieve.
What do mixed messages look like? It’s when you trumpet excellence but tolerate poor performance. When you set goals but don’t provide the resources to achieve them. When you empower people yet punish them for making decisions that don’t work out. Whenever your words and actions are misaligned, you’re sending a mixed message. And the conclusion they draw? You’re not credible. You can’t be trusted.
As a leader, you’re on stage. Your people are constantly judging you. They listen to what you say but they hear what you do. And the moment you’re inconsistent … they’re on it.
The crime of it is your people want you to be credible. They want to trust you. They want to believe you’ve got a clear vision and are committed to achieving it. Most of all, they want to feel secure in knowing you’ll set them up to succeed, not to fail. Consistency inspires. Inconsistency kills.
Earlier this year, Fortune magazine published their annual, “100 Best Companies to Work For,” edition. After 20 years of using the same, basic methodology for selecting the best companies, this year marked a major change. Why? Their research revealed the importance of consistency. How providing a great place to work for all employees all of the time results in not only a great culture, but revenue growth three times that of competitors.
Be aware of the messages you’re sending. Don’t send mixed messages. If you’re serious about culture and performance, then make sure your actions are aligned with your words are aligned with your intentions. Consistently.
Make it happen.
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