Things You Never Say to an Employee


wordsStress can make you do strange things.  While you may have sworn never to treat your own employees as you may have been treated by past bad bosses, it can be easy to slip into Bad Boss Mode when tensions mount.

In a recent article, author and business coach Lindsay Broder shares “7 Things You Should Never Say to Your Employees.”  Here we highlight 4 of the biggest no-no’s:

1.   “I’m the boss.  Do as I say.”  And remember, this sentiment, however it may be phrased, will still sound the same.  Bosses should act as leaders, supervisors, and exemplars.  The do-as-I-say approach to managing never works well.  Lead by example and you’ll find employees are more inclined to do as you do.

2. “You’re lucky to have a job.”  I’ve heard that throughout the recession many managers have been saying as much, although perhaps in kinder tones.  For example, “We’re all lucky to have work these days.”  While employment is a plus, making your employees feel indebted to you for their jobs does nothing to build morale.  If employees are struggling to fulfill their responsibilities, talk to them directly about specific shortcomings in performance and together make a plan for improvement.

3. “Why are you the only one who has a problem with this?” Perhaps that employee is the only one willing to share their concerns.  Your ability to motivate employees will help them understand the purpose behind the tasks.  And if they recognize a problem, you may learn something by hearing them out and seeing what corrections they might suggest.

4. “I don’t have time for this.”  As Broder says, “Are you serious?  You’re the BOSS.  It’s your job to make time.  Rather than flat-out rejecting your employee’s request for your time, block out a few minutes in the near future when you can give your employee your undivided attention.”

We understand that what may appear to be a power trip, may just be a stressed and overwhelmed business owner.  Consider ways you can address the stress to avoid taking it out on your employees.  They can be your greatest asset, but only when they are motivated to succeed.  Avoiding these harmful statements can ensure that you create a calm and inspiring work environment for everyone.

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Broder, Lindsay. “7 Things You Should Never Say to Your Employees.” 1 April 2014

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