Are you causing confusion or solutions?

The lens of perception
Most people tend to assume that everyone else experiences the world, whether it’s a goal, a task, a conversation, a meeting, an event, an issue, etc., as they do themselves. But, in reality, we don’t!

Each human interprets and experiences the same “thing” differently, influenced by their unique “lens.”

You might wonder why this matters. When we don’t ensure that our perspectives align and that we share the same interpretation of a particular situation, this misalignment — or lack of clarity — inevitably leads to conflict.

The conflict conundrum
Throughout my decade-long career as a leadership consultant, one of the most prevalent issues I’ve encountered within organizations is conflicts between leaders and employees regarding employee performance or the perceived lack thereof.

The majority of employees I’ve had the privilege of working with are genuinely committed to excelling in their roles and meeting their leader’s expectations.

The challenge of assumptions
However, the primary challenge often lies in employees not fully grasping their professional responsibilities or precisely what is expected of them.
Consciously, they assume they understand their roles and what they need to deliver. Unconsciously, many of them frequently find themselves in a state of confusion.

On the other hand, leaders often believe they’ve clearly outlined their employees’ responsibilities and performance expectations. Unfortunately, most are unaware of their employees’ confusion and stress due to the lack of clarity regarding their roles, obligations, tasks, and deliverables.

Addressing the wrong issue
Rather than addressing the core issue — the lack of clarity and alignment of interpretations — the leaders unintentionally end up focusing on the employees’ actions and perceived performance issues, mistakenly attributing the problem to the employees themselves.

And now we have a conflict!

The stress of uncertainty
When you’re uncertain about what to do, how to do it, or when to do it,
it causes mental and emotional stress. Misalignment invariably paves the way for conflict.

Conflicts start within ourselves as a thought process and frequently later manifest in a “clash” with others. You’re in conflict when you experience internal resistance, such as frustration or irritation.

The ripple effect of lack of clarity
Lack of clarity leads to uncertainty. Uncertainty activates the fear circuits in our brains, intensifying the production of negative thoughts: assumptions, beliefs, convictions, and worst-case scenarios.

When these circuits are activated, our imagination conjures all the potential negative outcomes, triggering our survival instincts and defense mechanisms.

We find ourselves in a “fight or flight” mode, with our focus primarily on self-preservation and our reactions being controlled by our subconscious mind.

This neurological process unfolds numerous times daily for the vast majority of people, often without their awareness.

The course of erosion
Within an organizational context, the consequences of employees and leaders experiencing a lack of clarity and uncertainty are manifold:

  • Empathy diminishes, along with our ability to genuinely listen and understand others.
  • Trust erodes, hindering collaboration as we increasingly view each other negatively.
  • Accountability is often disregarded as blame-shifting becomes the norm.
  • We’re prone to becoming victims or codependent, placing blame on others for the situation and our emotional state.
  • We become dependent on others, insisting that our actions hinge on their behavior.
  • Cognitive function falters, making concentration, focus, and learning more challenging, ultimately affecting decision-making, creativity, and innovation.
  • Mistakes become more frequent, and productivity suffers, among other issues.

Organizations that perpetuate a culture of ambiguity and unclear communication inevitably face the consequences—an unhealthy corporate culture, dysfunctional teams, disengaged employees, declining productivity and so much more.

In conclusion
Uncertainty can be paralyzing, but within the realm of conscious leadership, clarity emerges as a powerful antidote. By recognizing the profound impact of uncertainty, leaders can actively cultivate clarity within themselves and their organizations.

In the domain of conscious leadership, clarity reigns supreme. It dispels the shadows of uncertainty and empowers individuals and teams to navigate a clear path forward. By promoting clear goals, transparent communication, and adaptability, leaders can break free from the paralysis of uncertainty.

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