Growing up my mom had a flowerbed outside our house that she would always insure was full of flowers each spring. Instead of purchasing plants though she always bought little packets of seeds to scatter throughout the soiled area. Each season the bed would be watered and protected until the small tiny sprouts became flourishing assortments of flowers.


While most of the time the brilliant colored flowers matched the photograph on the packet of seeds, there was times that something different would sprout out of the ground. For some reason this seemed to always frustrate mom because she didn’t get what she had hoped for. While I’m sure it was a simple mistake within an automated packaging system she always felt it was some form of false advertising to have something pop out of the ground that was different from what was on the label.


Over the years of coaching professionals many of my client’s challenges center around leaders and coworkers whose outside picture is different from what sprouts out of the ground in the daily course of the week. Clients speak of a boss who has senior leadership “snowed” into believing they are something they are not, coworkers being rewarded while all they did was ride the coattails of other people’s work or someone who received an undeserved promotion. These along with many other stories are understandably frustrating for anyone. It’s feels like False Advertising and just like my mom when something other than what was on the package sprouted out of the ground, it is extremely frustrating.



When you find yourself in an environment of false advertising be careful not to plant seeds of weeds





  • ATTITUDE: It is easy to cop an attitude when in an unhealthy environment. Many times the intent of a bad leader or coworker is to drag people down; don’t play into their game. Stay upbeat and positive.


  • WORDS: It is hard to keep your mouth shut, but it is important not to talk about situations around the office. You need someone to confide in; someone who will give counsel and encourage you, however you don’t want to fall into the trap of gossip. Truth is no one likes a gossip, nor do they trust anyone who is constantly bad-mouthing, even if it is truth.



  • PERFORMANCE: Granted, when bad leaders or coworkers exist it affects the performance of everyone around. Even so, you don’t want to compromise your stellar reputation because of someone else’s actions. Stay the course by being determined to be your best no matter what is going on around you.




  • SIT UP: Watch and be observant before you take any action to address the activities that are concerning you. Pay attention to other leaders and seek advice from someone you trust with confidentiality that will give you unbiased advise.


  • STAND UP: There is a time to speak up. I generally recommend face-to-face meetings; however it is not always the best idea depending on the situation. When the environment is in turmoil, taking matters up the chain of command is justifiable. Be professional, keep emotions out and stick to the facts.


  • SHUT UP: There comes a time to be quiet. If you have spoken up and done everything you can to resolve the situation, then sit back and be quiet. Realize there are some things in the workplace you’re just not going to change. It is what it is, whether it is fair or not. Continuing to stew on the matter only ruins your day, not theirs.


  • GO UP: Realize that you’re not trapped! Too many clients that I coach forget they are free agents and their options are plentiful. Sometimes times of turmoil and injustice are a way of knocking us off balance so we will be open to other opportunities. Use the time to ask if the situation might be a way of pushing you to something new. Whatever you do, never adopt the belief that you are trapped.


You are talented, gifted and a dedicated worker who is going somewhere. Believe in yourself and you will indeed “GO UP!”




Robert Simmons, the President/Owner of Leading Life Consulting and Coaching, is a certified Professional and Executive Coach and Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt.

Leading Life Consulting and Coaching offers business process improvement consulting, employee coaching*, as well as workshops that engage employees to take positive action in the workplace and in their personal lives.

To find out more contact Robert at

 *Personal coaching sessions are conducted remotely utilizing phone calls, Skype or Facetime to allow flexible scheduling as well as anonymity for clients.


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