When a leader ‘says’ that they are risk tolerant and will encourage innovation, experimentation and creativity but have low or no surrender of control, employees get mixed messages.
Employees are constrained due to a leader maintaining control over what they can and can’t do. They have no freedom to make decisions as decision making is retained by the leader.
When people receive mixed messages they are emotional confused and conflicted. Conflict happens when we think a message is going one way – good – but turns out to be going another way – bad.
Responses to mixed messages are commonly frustration and anger. Other reactions can include withdrawal and shutting down until there is clarity of message – which might never occur.