If you’ve ever had a bad boss, you probably have a litany of sentences tucked away in your memory that stand out as the red flags that made that manager so terrible to work for. Here are some of the leading offenders. (More of them will be presented in the next post on this blog.)
“You’re lucky to even have a job.”
Depending on what the economy is doing any given day, this might certainly be true, but it’s an empty threat. As much as the employee is lucky to have a job, you the manager are lucky to have a qualified candidate filling the position. Censure or terminate the employee if things really aren’t working out, but petty threats like this aren’t helpful to anyone.
“It’s work; it’s not supposed to be fun.”
Well, that’s a buzz-kill if I ever heard one. The misconception here is that all hard work has to be drudgery. People can enjoy and be passionate about all kinds of work. Rather than dismissing this kind of complaint outright, try to see what might be the root cause. Are people not feeling motivated? Do they not feel ownership of their work? How can you encourage passion and pride in whatever the hard work is?“
I don’t pay you to think.”
You shouldn’t stop people from thinking and innovating. Even people in the most menial of jobs might have ideas to improve the process. It’s important to listen to and respect everyone in the company — from the CEO right down to the janitor.
“I don’t make the rules.”
Again, while this might be true, it absolutely undermines your authority and makes you appear to be just a puppet of upper management. There are different ways to answer a complaint about company policy. You could direct the employee on how to take their complaint to the correct person who can affect change, or take the complaint up the ladder yourself.
“Your job is what I say it is.”
Runner up to this one would be “This is your new priority.” Disregarding an employee’s priorities to deal with your crisis of the moment is disrespectful and conveys an impression that you don’t have your act together when it comes to managing projects and priorities. Rather than just reassigning people, explain why you need them to shift directions and how their current projects will be affected or covered.
Words have power, and what we say is important. Someone might think that they are a good manager because of what they do, but if they use sentences like the ones I have listed here than this indicates that they are not.
Source: Bernard Marr, best-selling author and keynote speaker.