Don’t Say These 5 Things to Your Employees

This week ALTRES is celebrating National Staffing Employee Week and all the hard work that our temporary employees have done throughout the year. It has us thinking about employee appreciation and how saying “thanks” and doing something special for your staff is a positive habit for companies to adopt. Still, while employee gifts, parties, or bonuses are no doubt appreciated, there are other ways to recognize your workers. In fact, one of the best ways that managers can show they appreciate their staff is by communicating with them more effectively.

A manager’s words carry enormous weight with the people he or she manages. Saying the wrong thing can destroy morale. On the other hand, recognizing an employee’s work through encouragement and honest conversations can boost confidence and productivity. Take a look at these 5 things that managers should stop saying to their employees, and tips on what to say instead.

  1. Just figure it out.

    As a manager, you are charged with leading your employees – and that means helping them succeed. It’s true that at a certain point, employees should be able to figure things out on their own. However, if your worker has a question, consider providing him or her with the tools needed to find the answer. What to say instead: This is something I’d like you to handle yourself. I recommend using resources X, Y, and Z.

  1. If you don’t like it, work somewhere else.

    This phrase is commonly used when a manager doesn’t know how to deal with an employee who is questioning an order. The best thing you can do in this situation is have an open discussion about the worker’s responsibilities and what is expected of him/her. What to say instead: Your responsibilities are X, Y, and X and your coworkers and I are relying on you to complete your work in a professional and accurate manner.

  1. This is the way we’ve always done it.

    History is rarely a strong justification for deciding not to make a change.  Don’t be afraid of opportunities for process improvement.  Take it from Steve Jobs who said, “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” Value your employees who demonstrate creative thinking and have ideas for positive changes. What to say instead: Thank you for your suggestion. Let’s try doing it your way.

  1. There’s nothing I can do.

    Translation: you are not willing to do anything.  If you’re overloaded and don’t have time to address a particular situation, give your employees the opportunity to problem solve and find a solution on their own. What to say instead: How do you suggest we address this?

  1. That’s a dumb idea.

    Don’t discourage your workers from voicing their ideas. Managers should foster an environment where it’s safe to think out loud and toss around ideas – good or bad. Furthermore, never let feedback get personal by focusing on an employee’s intelligence or worth. What to say instead: Interesting idea! Let’s discuss the pros and cons. OR Because of reasons X, Y, and Z, let’s continue brainstorming other ways to solve this.

There’s no doubt that people want to work for a manager who listens to their concerns, ideas, and questions and responds in a productive way. Respect and appreciate your staff by communicating effectively and you’ll be on your way to a more productive, motivated workforce.