Knowing how towith employees can make a huge difference in productivity and morale. See results by eliminating these phrases from your repertoire:
1. “You’re doing this wrong.”
This statement can cause embarrassment and does little to encourage what you want—doing the job right. “It is much more effective to instruct employees what to do rather than what to stop doing,” says Alan Vengel, author of The Influence Edge. He suggests saying, “Try it like this to get a better result” or “This is the behavior I am looking for from you.”
2. “What were you thinking?”
This phrase immediately puts the receiver on defense and gets the conversation off to a negative start. Vengel notes that a manager who is feeling frustrated and overwhelmed may say this without thinking. He suggests managers take a couple of minutes to compose themselves, then say, “Let’s look at what went wrong and how we can make adjustments to improve the results.”
3. “They decided we have to do this.”
“Never explain a directive from seniorusing ‘they’ terminology, positioning yourself as a powerless recipient of marching orders,” says Ed Muzio, author of Make Work Great. He suggests saying, “We decided to do this because …” and explaining the rationale for the decision. This structure lets the employee know that you are part of the leadership team behind the decisions and justify the actions.
4. “Good job.”
Yes, compliments are beneficial, but Muzio says that a generic “attaboy” is not particularly useful. Instead, he recommends showing that you care and are observant by using a phrase like, “Your (specific behavior) resulted in (specific positive outcome). Thank you.” That way, the person feels appreciated and knows what behavior to repeat next time.