The Confusion Episode





In this episode of Quick Clarity Angie and Jeff explore how the talent market is evolving. Today employees’ expectations of their work experience and of their leaders are heightening. This creates inevitable, sometimes painful, confusion for leaders. Listen and read more below as we explore these great expectations, and how leaders can recognize their own confusion and adapt. 

What is Confusion? 

[02:10] Confusion is an endemic human experience, just like breathing, so assigning value in terms of “good” or “bad” is pointless. The mind only does what it is designed to do: predict outcomes. When those outcomes don’t match our reality, confusion ensues. Talentism sees confusion as an unconscious phenomenon that leads to feelings, not a conscious one that leads to thoughts, similar to the “fight, flight, or freeze” autonomic reactions. The modern world is more complex than ever before, and confusion permeates all things in adult life. Businesses must confront this confusing world and master it, especially high-speed growth/fast-change companies. 

The Expectations of Work

  1. [16:04] – People want meaningful and purpose-driven work. It’s not an economic security feature or a place to punch a clock. Instead, people want the business to improve the world around them or solve problems they see as important, and they want the company to have a higher-order priority than survival.
  2. [18:28] – People’s expectations of management are going up, not down. Gallop polls show that over 85% of people feel dissatisfied with their managers. Talentism believes these numbers will persist as management teams fail to change fast enough to match the reality of the changing world.
  3. [19:56] – People want to build mastery towards a calling. Two things are needed for some to find their calling.  1. People must find where they are compulsive  2. People need an environment to improve that compulsion. 
  4. [21:54] – People want autonomy and to express their individual contributions. In the past, work was where you sacrificed independence in exchange for payment. In the modern world, people expect the ability to express their identities and contributions and have a role in defining the culture and my manager’s power over me.
  5. [24:07] – People want meaningful relationships in the workplace. Community is essential, and people want to have the ability to build one that reflects themselves and their values.  

The Expectations of Leaders

  1. [28:25] – Leaders should be emotionally present and mature. The more people look to work for meaning and community, the more they bring themselves to the workplace and often look to leadership for guidance.
  2. [31:10] – Leaders need to bring a unique and compelling vision. As people look to find more identity in the workplace, they are looking for their leaders to have the vision to propel their meaningful and purpose-driven work into the company culture.
  3. [32:00] – Leaders need to be clear-minded, excellent communicators. There is an expectation that the leader has thought deeper, seen further, and thought more fundamentally about the things that matter to the business than anyone else there. Furthermore, leaders are expected to be able to communicate that more effectively than anyone else there, even in times of crisis.
  4. [33:26] – Leaders need to be trusted. Even 60 years ago, this was an entirely foreign concept, but modern leaders must be trusted to be successful managers. 
  5. [34:53] – People expect their leaders to take a stand on political and social issues and feel that aligning on those issues is very important in their choice of workplace. 


  • Thompson, D. (2014, February 24). Workism is making Americans miserable. The Atlantic. Retrieved May 12, 2023, from 
  • Putnma, R. (2000). Bowling alone. Simon & Schuster. 

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