One of the reasons I moved out of NYC was the increasing stress of dealing with a million potholes, ungodly traffic, second avenue subway construction and car towing. It is not unusual to have three or four “parking regulation”signs on one pole offering completely different messages.
For example a sign could say “No Standing Between 8am And 6pm” and on top of that sign, another sign might read “Pay at Muni meter between 8am and 8pm”, and yet another sign that says, “trucks and buses only permitted after 9am to 10pm”.
Now which sign do you want to believe?
Pick the wrong one and you car gets towed; you get charged a $185 towing fee and $115 summons; all because you believed the wrong sign.
Today I believed the wrong sign and paid the price.
Suppose you’re one of those managers that give a lot of signs, which one does your employee believe; which one is the priority and which one is she penalized for not obeying?
How clear are your signs on what you really want your employee(s) to achieve?
Because if they are not or, worse, are conflicting signs, your employee is left to choose one and if it is the wrong sign, you lose productivity and then you lose credibility.
Moral of the story: Don’t sugar coat what you mean. Say exactly what you expect from the employee and then have him/her repeat it back to you.
Otherwise, you might incorrectly tow that employee away 🙁