Four Things Not to Say to Your Employees

Building an engaged, motivated team takes work. It means treating the people on your team with respect.  It means making them feel like valued, contributing members of a team.

The words we choose in conversations with the members of our team play a big part in how they feel about themselves, their manager and their role in the organization.

Effective managers and leaders avoid using the following phrases:

I can’t / I won’t

Effective leaders and managers focus on what they can do. They look for other options and ask for suggestions or alternative solutions.

You have to stay late today. 

Demanding that an employee stay late is disrespectful. Instead, say something like “I could really use your help in getting this report completed.  Are you able to stay an extra hour today to help me?”  You’ve asked instead of demanded and you’ve given them a time frame to work with.  When they do agree, don’t clock out at quitting time. This is a project you are supposed to be completing together.

You’re lucky to have a job.

Ouch!  The implication is that the employee is essentially unemployable.  Even in rough economic times when jobs are hard to come by, we need employees to help us keep the doors open.  More importantly, we want engaged, service oriented employees and diminishing their contribution is a sure way to kill engagement and motivation.

Because I’m the boss.

So?  A title does not guarantee infallibility.  Effective leaders and managers welcome suggestions, feedback and dissenting opinions.  Being surrounded by people who are afraid to question is not a sign of strength; it is a sign of uncertainty and fear.

What are some other things that should never be said to employees?

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