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Executive Management: What Not To Say To Your Staff, Part I
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Executive Management: What Not To Say To Your Staff, Part I - Executive Leadership Articles

Executive Management: What Not To Say To Your Staff, Part I

Executive Leadership Articles

Executive Management: What Not To Say To Your Staff, Part I

While you may be thinking, “I know exactly what I shouldn’t say to my staff—I just use my common sense!” the truth remains that many Executive Leaders, however well-meaning, will unintentionally insult their staff at some point during the course of their employment. This may involve unthinking gestures or body language, but most commonly managers insult through careless words. In our first part of the “What NOT to Say to Your Staff” series, we will cover 3 phrases that may appear innocuous but can be honestly demoralizing to the employees that you manage:

  • 1. You Clean Up Well – Where to begin? While often used to express that the speaker is favorably impressed, this phrase is a backhanded compliment. In addition to communicating that someone usually does not look particularly good on a daily basis—or, at best, that they dress just passably—it also conveys a healthy dose of surprise and even shock that someone could ‘clean up’ so well, even beyond expectations. This phrase can make someone feel embarrassed or self-conscious and question their daily attire, which may or may not be a positive thing but, if it is, should be conveyed within a professional development meeting and employee evaluation behind closed doors, and with far less passive aggressive language. It’s even worse when you say it to employees who typically do wear highly professional attire and you do it in front of someone in a position of power, such as a Board Member. A good rule of thumb is to simply avoid this phrase entirely.
  • 2. I’m in Charge, that’s Why – Apart from conveying that you in fact have no logical reason for asking an employee to do something, it also comes across as petulant. While Executive Leaders do not owe their staff explanations for decisions they make, under the right circumstances providing thoughtful reasons can strengthen the business relationship between manager and staff member, as well as show an employee that you value him or her enough to offer insight into management-level decisions. At the least, it can serve as a positive teaching tool. After all, not all mid-level employees will remain so for the rest of their lives; gaining valuable insight can help slowly groom a promising staff member for a future position of leadership.
  • 3. I’m Not Really Sure What You Do Here – Unlike what most Executives who use this phrase believe, it actually reflects more poorly upon the manager than the employee. This communicates to someone that not only is management ignorant about the function of a particular role within their own organization, but that the hard work of said person is neither valued nor noticed. For employees who go above and beyond the call of duty, this can be crushing. Executive Leaders may note a dramatic plunge in worker productivity and positive self-starter attitude. And, if you haven’t been thanking your employee with perks or bonuses, your acknowledgement of their dedication may be all someone has to show for their efforts—a flimsy perk, at best. Be careful not to put yourself in a bad position: if you don’t know what an employee does, find out and analyze your own management style in the process. Remember that, at the end of the day, you are responsible for every employee that you manage.
 

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Executive Management: What Not To Say To Your Staff, Part I - Executive Leadership Articles

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