“One kind word warms three winters” is a Japanese proverb that will apply to the country we live in, even if snow is a foreign concept in the Philippines. The astute proverb implies that the words we speak have power, and that applies especially to leaders of an organization. Bosses can use the power of words to craft a positive office environment through, say, giving a heartfelt compliment to a person’s job well done or encouraging the team when facing adversity. At the same time, words can be used to speak ill of others, bring people down, or make a company a not-so-wonderful place to work in.
What are some of these words deemed unfit for employee consumption and that only a bad boss would say? An article by Occupreneur coach Lindsay Broder gives us a primer. Current and future top honchos, familiarize yourself with the list Broder put together and save yourself from any “I-wish-I-could-take-back-what-I-said” occurrences:
1. "I’m the boss. Do as I say."
Ever experience being told by a higher-up to do Task A, but the same boss does not practice what he/she preaches? Hello, hypocritical boss! The person-in-charge establishing double standards is a fast way for staff members to lose respect for the captain at the helm.
2. "You’re lucky to have a job."
A good boss should treat direct reports professionally and strive to enact solutions rather than add to the problems. Demanding gratitude only shows that the boss has failed to motivate the team to perform well.
3. "If you don’t like it, I’ll find someone who does."
Motivating others through fear is a band-aid approach – it is not a viable method in the long run. Being their boss does not entitle someone to be a jerk.
4. "Why are you the only one who has a problem with this?"
How a boss handles disagreements can hasten or damage the team building process. Being the boss requires a very important skill called “listening” and widening one’s perspective that everyone has a unique way of looking at things and that bad days do not exempt anyone.
5. "I don’t have time for this."
Really? Where have you gone, open door policy? Employees requesting for a dialogue deserve a boss’ eyes and ears. How would you feel if a direct report said the same thing?
6. "You have no idea what stress is."
Just because you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders does not give you a license to be indifferent to others’ existing stress levels.
7. "Do you see my name on that door?"
Throw your weight around at work and observe employee morale come crashing down. Then see for yourself if a one-man show can indeed work!
The message here is that your words have an impact. It bears repeating. Share below the kinds of words thrown around in your office, community, or by your (old or current) boss. Do the words inspire or make you shut down like a computer? Never underestimate the priceless value of a “Good job!”, “Let me know when I can help”, or “I’m proud of the team’s performance.”
Image by: Ordo