Some phrases really should be banned from the workplace.
You know them when you hear them.
They are the sorts of things that make people wonder how their boss ever got promoted in the first place.
And yet, they are the kinds of things we all hear, and maybe even say, all too often.
If any of these sound familiar, hopefully it’s because someone ELSE is saying them.
So steer clear.
1) “I don’t care what you think, I just want it done!”
Now there’s a boss who knows how to get things done. Yeah, right! The one thing this type of boss needs to do well is hiring, because his people are fleeing for the door right this moment.
A manager who barks orders like this and verbally announces such little interest in the ideas of others, (even if they are bad ideas) will soon have no one left to lead.
2) “If you don’t want this job, I’ll find someone who does.”
Sure, people work to make money.
But great leaders understand that pay is but one part of a worthwhile professional relationship. And it’s not always the most important.
To attract and keep good people, managers must move beyond the dollars-and-cents and let people own their jobs.
Give people the tools, direction and responsibility, and let them know that their contributions have value.
Bad bosses, on the other hand, love to remind employees that it’s all about the transaction “You work for me.”
They never fail to remind team members that someone else would take the job if you ever got sick of it or let the lousy manager down in some way.
3) “There is nothing I can do.”
This is the ultimate cop out in an easy-open can.
Right off the bat it sounds like, “there’s nothing I’m willing to do.”
So, instead of putting up a wall, ask the employee the much more productive question, “How do you suggest we address this?”
Hear her out and take it from there.
4) “I need more people like me.”
Um, probably not. And it’s very likely no one around you wants more mini-Yous, either.
Leaders understand that the key to innovation and growth is diversity of thought. They don’t want yes-men or yes-women.
We all fall for this from time to time.
We think, “if only they worked as well as I do.” And on a single, narrowly defined effort, that might be true.
But beyond that? How good would an opera be with nine sopranos and no tenors or baritones?
Or a basketball team with five point guards?
Or a high school where every teacher taught biology?
You get the picture.
5) “You don’t know what you are talking about.”
Not only is this insulting, it will suck the life right out of employees.
Of course, the employee may not know what he or she is talking about. But a good manager will take that opportunity to have a “teaching moment.”
In a positive way, show the employee the right way to do the job or explain why his or her thinking is misguided.
In the end, you’ll have a better employee, one who is engaged and appreciative of the help you’ve given.
6) “I didn’t see that one coming.”
Really? You and the rest of the gifted leadership in this building have been wearing blinders for so long that you didn’t know?
This statement also suggests a manager who keeps his head in the sand micromanaging, and so was obscured from the larger picture.
Either way, when faced with a surprise situation, try to gather the facts before assessing what to do — or say — next.
There will always be surprises out there. Just remember: The bigger the gap between the reality that unfolds and expectations that we hold, the more intense the level of frustration will be.
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