Nobody’s a fan of mixed messages, so why do people tend to deliver mixed messages without knowing? I think a big part of it is being resistant to self-reflection; afraid of asking the tough questions, like:
Am I really modelling what I’m communicating?
Are our/my strategies really lining up with our/my values?
Am I mad because people aren’t doing what we asked/told them to do, or, am I mad because people are doing what I’m telling them to do, but I’m just telling/asking them to do the wrong things and I’m being actively confronted with my own communicative inconsistencies?
You’d think these would be fairly routine and basic questions we’d ask ourselves, but they really aren’t.
It’s because the speed with which most people and organizations move these days doesn’t allow time and space to ask and answer these questions.
It’s because it’s easier to assume we’re clear in our communication and that everyone else is the one missing the target.
It’s because it’s incredibly difficult, and often scary, to create creative, consistent, and cohesive alignment between what you say, what you do, and what you are asking people to do.
This is as much applicable on an organizational level as it is a personal one. Because nobody likes to get in trouble or be seen negatively for only doing what they were being told to do.