It’s one thing to put your foot in your mouth. It’s something else to do it at the office. As they say, some things are better left unsaid and this is especially true of your employees. Although it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and forget you’re the boss, it’s essential to maintain a level of professionalism at all times.
Personal opinions of employees and their lifestyle choices should never be discussed in public (if at all). Disciplinary action and shortcomings should also remain private. On that same note, employees should refrain from badmouthing you and your ideas. Mint.com recently posted a piece titled “Top 10: Things to Never Say to Your Boss.” We decided to follow their lead and look at the flipside. Here are 10 things never to say to your employees.
10) “It looks like you’ve gained some weight lately.” – Even if it’s true, this comment is nothing but rude. It is equally bad form to offer dieting tips and low-cal recipes with someone that hasn’t shared their weight loss journey with you. (Ditto other comments about weight, height, hair color, or just about anything about your staffer’s appearance.)
9) “You want to get a bite to eat after work?” – Fraternizing with your employees after working hours may seem like a good idea at the moment, but it often turns into something quite different, making it tough to differentiate between a buddy and an employee.
8) “That’s okay. I’ll let it slide just this once.” – Comments like these give your employees the impression that you are lax in your management and disciplinary methods. The last thing that you want them to think is that you’re a pushover.
7) “It’s not a problem until you make it a problem.” - Similarly, you don’t want to come across as a tyrant. You should care about your employees and their personal issues as long as you don’t meddle.
6) “No one is going to believe you over me.” - Harassment cases do stand up in court. Do not press your luck by making such a naive statement.
5) “Isn’t your review coming up soon?” - Passive-aggressive statements like these do more harm than good. If you want to encourage an employee to be their best, find other ways to encourage it than vague threats.
4) “Don’t bother me right now. I’m updating my Facebook status.” – Social media networking is an important part of today’s business world. It should not, however, be an excuse for failing to communicate with an employee.
3) “You know you’re my favorite.” – Every employee should think that they are your favorite. But you can never confirm this out loud.
2) “Personal issues shouldn’t get in the way of your performance.” – As true as this statement is, it’s unrealistic. Everyone has his or her fair share of problems. Be sympathetic yet maintain expectations. Give employees some slack when times are tough and they’ll pay you back twofold.
1) “I don’t care about the way it makes you feel, just do your job!” - Employees that are praised on a regular basis are more likely to perform better. Care about your staff — and the way they feel — and they will work hard to do what you ask of them.