In Keep Them Guessing, the player changes her mind on key issues, without acknowledging that she previously had a completely different view or allowing anyone to point this out. People never know which way a manager’s mind will go, and so become very cautious in their presentations and recommendations. Some top managers play this game because they want to be viewed as ﬂexible, yet they fail to recognize the cost of hyperﬂexibility. When no one is sure what a leader
believes or wants, confusion or even chaos is the result. People devote themselves to trying to anticipate what a leader requires rather than acting with a sense of purpose and shared mission. Flexibility must be balanced with clear goals and processes, and managers who opt for Keep Them Guessing rather than clarity will lower their group’s morale and diminish their output in the long run.
Example: Marianne, an ambitious thirty-three-year-old manager in a relatively young, rapidly expanding organization, wanted to be seen as someone who was highly adaptable—this was the CEO’s credo. Consequently, Marianne was quick to ote which way the wind was blowing and to move in that direction. She kept an eagle eye on trends and industry events, and every new change in the ﬁeld inﬂuenced how Marianne viewed various policies and practices. Her people, though, were bewildered by her sudden shifts. One day Marianne favored an aggressive policy toward customers; the next she advocated a more cautious approach. Even worse, one day a direct report would go into Marianne’s ofﬁ ce and ask her how she wanted him to approach a particular customer with a problem, and she would respond in a particular way. A week later, another customer would have a similar problem, and she would offer advice to a direct report that was quite different than what she had provided the ﬁrst person who asked for help. Direct reports would compare her advice, scratch their heads, and spend a lot of time trying to “read” which approach Marianne favored.Click here to check all the "games of the month"