Your employees are the lifeblood of your brand, and as the boss, it’s your job to keep your workers content, efficient, and effective.
The easiest way to totally fail at that, is to be a typically abusive boss who antagonizes employees instead of empowering them. Trust me, you don’t want to be that boss.
To be the leader that your team will want to work hard for, here are five things you should never say to an employee.
1. “I pay your salary, so…”
Any remark that begins like this is going to sound frustratingly pompous – no matter what the context.
Bosses are always tempted by this phrase in heated exchanges, simply because it’s often true. However, reminding your employees that you can whatever you like because you pay them is outright belittlement.
Paying somebody for their time doesn’t give you the right to be abrasive when that time comes. That’s not how it works.
2. “Where have you been?”
You may think this is an innocent question to ask when an employee arrives late to a meeting, but it’s actually demeaning and intrusive.
In fact, it gives your employee the idea that – as their boss – you feel that you have the right to question their activities outside of the work place. Talk about unsettling.
Instead, focus on the fact that they were late, and that they should try to manage their time more efficiently. Getting personal in such situations is never appropriate.
3. “If you don’t like it, leave.”
If you want to make your employee feel worthless, tell them that you’re happy to see them leave at any time.
Comments like these all but push employees out the door – particularly if you use them in conjunction with other quotes found on this list.
It’s simple; if your employees don’t feel valued, they won’t produce anything of value.
4. “Nobody else struggled with this – so what’s your problem?”
Comparing one employee to another is a surefire way to solicit envy and resentment amongst colleagues. Such comments can quickly turn a friendly office into a poisonous work environment.
Furthermore, this type of comment makes the employee feel alone in their failure – which will only compound the inevitable insecurity a mistake brings.
Alternatively, try asking questions (politely) to understand why they struggled with the task in question, so you can provide assistance accordingly.
5. "Why are you getting so upset?"
If you ever happen to use one of the remarks above, this is the worst comment to follow it up with.
Not only are you continuing to belittle the person by insinuating that they’re overreacting, but you are also demonstrating that you deem your own behaviour to be acceptable. That’s the perfect recipe for escalation.
If your employee gets upset with a comment you make, try apologising before making your point in a more sensitive way.
With Great Power...
You are the boss, and that does indeed give you authority in the workplace. But the manner in which you wield that authority will determine the well-being of your business in the long run.
If your employees feel that you rule with an unfairly flailing iron fist, they will become distant from you, your instructions, and eventually, your brand.
About the Author
Kaya Ismail is a wordsmith and founder of Employ the Internet. He is a seasoned content marketer with a love for video games and coffee.