Mark Twain said it best, “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter — 'tis the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning.”
“We’ve always done it this way”
Just because something has always been done a certain way with success, doesn’t mean it will always be effective, and good leaders understand that. Great leaders listen to suggestions from employees and are innovative in their thinking. Just because a strategy worked in the past, doesn’t mean it will work in the future. Be open to change.
“Because I said so”
If you want to lead a strong team, transparency is essential. Employees have the right to know how their actions are bettering the big picture of the company. You should trust your team enough to explain how assignments keep the business moving forward.
“Watch employee A, they do it better”
Pitting your employees against one another through unnecessary comparisons is one of the fastest ways to develop office rivalries and a hostile work environment. While using an employee’s work as an example can be acceptable in some situations, it is never ok to tell a team member they are inadequate compared to others in the office.
“You don’t understand”
Think about how you feel when someone tells you, “You don’t understand.” You naturally start to shut down, tune that person out and can possibly become very defensive. Your team is no different. Asking “How can I help?” or “What do you think about that?” is a better way to open dialogue to get them to ask questions and for you to better explain a process.
“It’s not the right time”
There’s never a perfect time to try something new, especially if it will require change in the workplace. If it’s a good idea, just go for it. The obstacles you see today will likely still be there a week or month from now. It can be disheartening to your employees to hear you say, “Let’s do it later,” and chances are, they will be reluctant to revisit the idea with you.
Becoming a great leader is a work in progress. You will undoubtedly make mistakes and encounter learning curves along the way. However, understanding how you communicate with your team and knowing that your words can leave a lasting impact on their mindset, should encourage you to be more careful when speaking. Really, if you wouldn’t want it done or said to you, why would you say it to one of your employees?
Other articles you may find interesting:
7 hiring red flags great recruiters spot
7 questions top recruiters ask job candidates
5 characteristics of a great restaurant manager