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

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

Executive Leadership Articles

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

In Part I of this series, we covered 3 common phrases Executive Leaders use (often with good intentions) that can insult their employees. In Part II we will cover 3 phrases that, while you may be tempted to use them in the heat of the moment, should never cross your lips. For those managers and directors who think, “I would never say that!” know that each of these have actually been said to business professionals by Executive Leaders and left their employees feeling demoralized, resentful, and not a little disappointed. Learn from your fellow manager’s mistakes and keep these phrases out of the office:

  • 4. You’re expected to put in extra hours every week—you know that, right? When managers single out one salaried employee above all others in his pay grade and hold him to a higher level of expectations and commitment than his fellows, sometimes if you’re lucky you’ll get that rare employee who will revel in the challenge. He will put in extra time, take on projects beyond the scope of his original position, and do everything short of live in his cubicle. However, even the best of employees is doing these things for a reason. Sometimes it’s with the hope for advancement; other times, he’s working toward securing a comfortable Christmas bonus. The fact remains that, if frequent unpaid overtime was not something that you discussed with him during the hiring process, if you do not ask the same (and sometimes even ask less!) of the other employees that you manage or, even worse, if you have no intentions of repaying his efforts in some way, uttering this phrase will turn an exceptional employee into a poor one in just one step. Managers may think that employees don’t notice how their fellows are treated in terms of extra hours and expectations, but in fact they pay a great deal of attention. It’s human nature to compare and compete, and we have a built-in sense of fairness that sets off an internal alarm whenever we observe ourselves being treated differently than our fellows. Without the recompense of a bonus, extra vacation, overtime, or sometimes even just simple praise and recognition for going above and beyond, there’s only so far an employee will go for his company before that alarm goes into overdrive. No one likes to be taken advantage of, and this phrase only rubs salt in the wound. It communicates to your employee that you take him for granted and have no qualms about taking advantage of his solid work ethic to meet your own goals.
  • 5. You might be a hot shot here but at another, bigger company…who knows? It can often be highly tempting to put an employee in his place, especially if you are worried that he may someday want to go on to bigger and better things. Other times, it can be refreshing to give an arrogant employee a broader perspective. However, regardless of your reasons, resist this impulse! Nothing communicates fear or jealousy like this phrase will.
  • 6. That’s not true! Sometimes, your employees will share with you their professional experiences and fears that they are struggling with. If you catch this phrase flickering through your head, beware: think before you speak and do not be dismissive of your employee’s experiences. For example, if you are a 6’4 older male executive and your 5’1” young female employee has just confided that she is working to overcome being seen as “too young” or “too short,” both of which contribute to others viewing her condescendingly and dismissing her authority, do not tell her “That’s not true! People are blind to those sorts of things now.” You are treading on dangerous ground. Instead, take the opportunity to provide mentorship: give advice about dealing with others, how to boost authority, how you have seen other women in her position handle that particular issue, and other tips that you yourself have found useful as you climbed the corporate ladder. Instead of earning her disdain, you will earn her respect and solidify the manager-employee bond.

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

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