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Management Skills: What Not to Say to Your Employees

Any business owner knows how important attracting and retaining quality employees is to ongoing success. There are plenty of ways to keep your staff happy – salary, benefits and other perks are among the top. As an employer, there are also certain things you must do on a daily basis – namely to watch what you say. Simply put, there are certain things you should never say to an employee, ever. Otherwise you might find yourself facing frequent (and costly) turnover. Here are a few examples of things you should never say to an employee.

“This is how we’ve always done it.”

Sure, following company policy is great, but making statements like this is the quickest way to extinguish innovation and creativity. It’s always a good idea to keep an open mind, even if you happen to be a creature of habit. If one of your team members makes a suggestion, weigh it and see if it would be beneficial to implement. Not only might you find a new technique that will save time, improve efficiency or boost sales, but you will show your employees that you value their opinion and that they’re an important member of the team.

“I need you to be more of a ‘team player’.”

Things like this are broad statements and don’t clearly communicate what the problem is, nor what behavior you’d like corrected. Identify what it is that the employee is doing that you’re not happy with, and then pull them aside to discuss the situation. For instance, if the staff member in question is consistently missing team meetings, sit them down privately and explain to them how important it is that every team member be present at these meetings and why. Be clear about what’s expected of the employee going forward so that there’s no room for misinterpretation.

“I know exactly how you’re feeling.”

Even if you think you understand why your employee is upset about something and what they are feeling, this statement is something that can easily come across as insincere and the employee may feel you are humoring them. Encourage the staff member to openly discuss with you what is bothering them, and then validate their concerns with empathy by saying something like,  “I see where you are coming from” or “I can only imagine what you’re feeling.” Then set to work to find a solution to the issue at hand that will help your employee get over that hump.

“You did a real great job.”

Just like the team player comment mentioned above, the problem with a statement like this is that it’s too vague. While it is obviously meant to be a compliment to a hard working employee, it’s much more effective to cite specific examples of what you appreciate. Not only does this show your staff that you are tuned in and recognize their efforts, but it also reiterates the exact type of behavior you’d like to see more of.

In addition to what you say, tone is also an important thing to watch. Avoid posing questions or making statements in an accusatory or confrontational manner. Stay calm, even toned and stick to the facts. If you do, your communication will be clearly received and will have a much more powerful affect on your staff.

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posted by Rebecca Daneault @ 7:57 AM