To avoid accidentally belittling someone at work, steer clear of these phrases:
“I’ve always thought I could really succeed in your job.” What you’re really saying is, “Your job isn’t that tough. Even though I’m hardly qualified to do it, I bet I could do it as well if not better than you.”
“You’re actually starting to meet my expectations in your new role.” Despite your intent to compliment an employee’s progress, this comment sounds more like an I-expected-you-to-fail jab. Try a more tactful approach: “You’re doing a fine job in your new role.”
“I don’t expect you to understand all of this.” You’re trying to say, “I know this is complicated stuff.” But instead, your remark comes across as a thinly veiled attack of the employee’s intelligence.