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What to say when …

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You want to discipline an employee for saying “This is crap” in a meeting, even though you share that view:

“I understand your frustration, and I even agree with the gist of what you said. But it’s important to express your opinions in appropriate language. That’s the best way to make a positive impact.”

Your boss says “try harder” when you’re already giving 100 percent:

“Believe me, I wish it were a matter of my trying harder. I’m giving this every ounce of my effort. For me, that’s the easy part. The hard part is the other factors involved. Could we address those together?”

You criticize an employee who then breaks out in tears:

“Please try to put this in perspective. My intent in telling you this isn’t to upset you but to help you improve.”

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