Never Say These 5 Things to Your Employees

Joe Weinlick
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Good employees are hard to find and costly to lose. As a leader, you have to learn to see the value each person brings to the team and manage workers with respect, patience and encouragement. Otherwise, your best workers may head for greener pastures once they have better opportunities. Be mindful of how you communicate with others, and avoid these five belittling statements to keep good employees on your team.

1. I Can Easily Replace You

Threatening someone's job may seem like a clever way to show off your power, but it actually just motivates good employees to start job hunting. Imagine how demoralizing it is to be told you have no value in the company and could end up in the employment line at any moment. When you badmouth workers, they're likely to feel insecure and wonder if you're speaking negatively about them to other managers. Employees don't have any incentive to aim higher if they don't get recognition for the positive results they're already achieving.

2. What's Wrong With You?

Whether someone made a mistake or simply couldn't interpret your vague instructions, asking this question achieves nothing and leaves good employees feeling undervalued. Problems are easier to resolve when you focus on employee strengths instead of weaknesses. Besides, it's more productive to ask the person to walk you through what happened. That way, you can understand the employee's thought process and figure out the best way to move forward.

3. You're Doing a Perfect/Terrible Job

Complimenting people isn't a bad thing, but be careful that you aren't giving empty praise. Learning and growing is just as important as getting recognition. Most good employees want specific information about what they're doing right or wrong so they can improve and bring more value to the company. You should also avoid negative generalizations. Employees can't get better at their jobs if they have no clue why their work is unacceptable.

4. You Aren't Capable

Anyone can get promoted to a managerial role, but real leaders know how to leverage employee strengths and inspire them to embrace new challenges. Telling workers they don't have what it takes to succeed can destroy morale and discourage people from honing their skills. As the boss, your words carry a lot of weight. Use that authority to help employees reach their full potential and groom the next crop of leaders. Being positive and supportive decreases employee turnover while producing a more a harmonious and highly skilled workforce.

5. I Don't Have Time for This

While prioritizing is crucial, leaders should never dismiss workers who need to discuss legitimate problems or questions. In most cases, you know more about the company's goals and obstacles than your team, so it's your job to steer people in the right direction with guidance and feedback. Good employees get tired of being shut out and forced to make decisions without support. Some may even realize they can go after higher positions elsewhere since they were acting in a leadership capacity all along.

One good employee can make a big impact on your environment and bottom line. Take time to nurture the people who give exceptional effort every day and contribute to the company's success. With tactful communication, you can maintain good relationships and keep your team engaged.

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