Future Manager Italy Insights

Breadcrumbing and False Promises

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Author: Future Manager Research Center

After ghosting (cf. “Talent Ghosting threatens Recruiting”), another phenomenon that hovers in the world of Human Resources and in business in general, is that of breadcrumbing. If the practice of ghosting is more frequent between a candidate and a recruiter where the former disappears without a trace, in breadcrumbing the roles are reversed. This time in fact the employee falls into the trap of one of his superiors or in a situation between two peers who have an ongoing negotiation and one of the two wants to take time. The compound word of English origin gives a very good idea of ​​the circumstance in which breadcrumbing is being implemented: literally “sowing crumbs” that is, preparing the ground by generalizing or responding in a vague and evasive manner. Conduct of this type is decidedly immature however, it is often adopted to delay or extending the wait in a decision-making choice or in a negotiation.

Take, for example, the hypothesis of a leader who entrusts his young employee with a risky or burdensome assignment, offering him a possible promotion in case of an excellent success. Seen in this way, it would seem a very normal situation that could occur in any business scenario however, the leader concerned has no intention of granting a role advancement to the poor employee that is left in uncertainty and doubt and appears manipulated and disappointed.

Another case that we would define as true breadcrumbing occurs when a staff member spends very flattering words towards a colleague convincing him that, given his great skills, he badly needs his help to carry out a task. Once this task is completed, the first employee takes all the credit, thus making it clear what the words and praise he previously “sowed” were bogus.

How would you react when you realize you are a victim of breadcrumbing? When colleagues make fun of you, set clear boundaries and respect them without ever crossing them; be ready to help when needed, but beware of being too available as it could be interpreted as a sign of weakness. Have the courage to take credit for the work you have done, always avoiding excesses. In this sense, if it were to be the boss to sin of breadcrumbing towards you it is clear that the solution to the problem would not be immediate, especially when talented young people are hit. In this case highlight your successes, your positive contribution to the company being aware of your potential and, above all, be patient, the wheel turns!