Mixed Messages, Taking Responsibility – And Why I’m Not Perfect Either

tea pitcher and tea mug

Mixed Messages, Taking Responsibility – And Why I’m Not Perfect Either


Shannyn says to team member of a client….

“To improve communications and ensure everyone knows what they are responsible for, I’d like you to develop a process that shows the current steps from the start of process (Step 1) to the end of the process (Step 10) and under what criteria person A or person B works on which bit of the process.”

The first draft comes back… it’s a written plan on FUTURE process and includes details on HOW and WHY to change the current process from Step 1 to Step 4.

Shannyn provides more context on what she and the business owner plan to do with the process, and why it’s important (she gives the bigger picture)… “Now can you see why we’d like to see the current process from Step 1 to Step 10? Can we get there?”

Team member says, “Sure, sure, no problem.”

The second draft comes back. It now shows future process written from Step 1 to Step 4 without the details of HOW and WHY.

Shannyn scratches her head. She sits down and steps through the process with the team member.

The team member is exasperated “why did I go through all that trouble? I did a lot of work on that. I don’t know what the difference is between what you want and what I’ve delivered. Surely just writing out the steps is fine. Why did I do more drafts if it wasn’t right in the first place?”

Shannyn re-questions herself and asks the same questions she has been asking since the first draft. “What have I not said that is causing the message to not get across? How are my messages getting mixed and misunderstood?”


The process development is… still in process (yes… the pun is intended), but Shannyn, various team members and the business owner are close to finalising it – and building systems around it.

This scenario highlighted a couple of things for Shannyn, and in the spirit of authenticity she thought she would share her learning.


  1. Shannyn must take 100% responsibility when the message isn’t being received in the manner that she wants it to be.
  2. Shannyn should have spent more time coaching and not “telling”. If Shannyn had have spent more time coaching, she would have checked in with the team member for clarity, made sure that any challenges were uncovered, that milestones and check ins were developed to make sure that the team member was aligned from the start and along the way.
  3. Shannyn, nor anyone else on the planet (believe it or not) is perfect.
  4. Shannyn continues to take 100% responsibility. If she is involved, and it’s not working, she looks at what she needs to do, what she says, and who she needs to be to change the outcome.


If your message is getting confused, diluted or isn’t getting through at all, then what have you done to take responsibility for that?

How much do you accept 100% responsibility for the things that impact your life? Taking 100% responsibility for your mixed messaging is the only way that you’ll stop having mixed message problems.


What to do next:

Are you having trouble getting your team on the same page, communicating effectively, and moving towards the goal cohesively? Get in touch!

Read this next: Nobody’s Perfect -: Recognising Strengths and Weaknesses and Development for Leadership


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