View of managers at work addressing their employees sitting at mahogany table with laptop on top.
Image: © MIND AND I/

These are the 11 things a manager should never say

9 Aug 2019

Be careful not to dismiss your employees’ ideas, concerns or personal lives.

While people will have varying opinions on the most optimal management style, there are certain things you just shouldn’t say to workers under your charge.

Prevailing views on how best to lead people have evolved in line with changes in the workforce and new ideas about how best to motivate people.

For example, a manager may think that all compliments and praise will be beneficial and will positively impact morale. Yet not all recognition is created equal, and if the recognition comes off as impersonal or half-baked, it could end up having the opposite effect. For example, just saying ‘great job’ without highlighting the task in particular will do little to make your employee feel that you value them.

Managers, understandably, have pretty hectic schedules and so may be tempted to dole out drive-by praise. Yet you’re better off asking an open-ended question and demonstrating curiosity about your employee and their process. Once you’ve listened, you can then give your positive feedback, and be assured that it will be seen as coming from a much more genuine place.

Be sure to highlight areas in which the employee is excelling and then ask what areas they would like to develop. As opposed to opting for the rather vague, ‘Keep doing what you’re doing’, this shows you are paying attention to your employee and are invested in their personal development and professional growth.

You should aim to never come across as dismissive of your employees’ concerns, ideas or personal issues. Employees that feel valued work better and, in turn, ones that don’t are at risk of becoming disengaged.

For more advice on the things a manager should never say to workers, check out the infographic below, brought to you by Headway Capital.

what managers should never say to empl

Infographic: Headway Capital

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Eva Short
By Eva Short

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic, specialising in the areas of tech, data privacy, business, cybersecurity, AI, automation and future of work, among others.

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