Four Things You Should Never Say To Your Employees

Your employees want to love and admire you. They want to feel good about the job they are doing and most importantly, they want to feel like they are contributing to the success of your business. It is our job to make sure we create the environments where they are engaged and able to do their best work.

I often have the chance to be inside different companies and will overhear a conversation between an employee and their boss. I am happy to say that most of the time, they are great conversation but occasionally, I will hear the manager or supervisor say something that makes me cringe a little bit.

Here are some of the most common:

  • I don’t have time for this, so let’s move this along. – Anytime I hear someone say this, to me they might as well be saying, I don’t have time for you. There is no doubt that managing or leading is a lot of work, but your employees are there to make your life easier. If you don’t have time for them, chances are they won’t have time for you, in the future.
  • If you think you are having a bad time, let me tell you about what is going on with me. – Sometimes this is simply a protection thing. It is like the person is saying, “if I tell you enough about all the bad stuff going on, then maybe you won’t tell me anymore.” The truth of the matter is that, you want your employee to tell you the things you need to know. If you put them in a spot where they are feeling they can’t tell you the bad or they need to protect you, it will be you losing out.
  • If you can’t figure it out, then I will find someone else who can. – Generally, this one is said in frustration, but it really doesn’t help anyone. It doesn’t help the person to figure out how to correct what they are doing and in fact, likely makes the problem worse. Not only are they worried about trying to get it right, now they are concerned about being taken off the project, demoted or fired. You might end up choosing to replace them but threatening is never a good idea.
  • You are reading way too much into this. – Sometimes employees need to have you simply listen to their concerns and fears. Remember you know a whole lot more about the things going on in the company than they do. When they are expressing their concerns to you, it is generally an indication that there is a communication breakdown, especially is they are “able to read too much into it”.

It doesn’t matter how long you have been a leader, there are going to be those days when you wish you could drag back the words you have said, in the heat of the moment. We all have been there and done that. It is part of leading. However, the other side of leading is being able to own up to those mistakes and making them right. Remember, a bad manager is not defined by their lack of perfection, but rather in their lack of recognizing their imperfection.

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