When it comes to company culture and employee morale, all roads lead to company leadership. As successful leaders know, management sets the tone for productivity, collaboration, respect and so much more through their words and actions. Unfortunately, they are a few professionals who fail to realize the negative impact they are having on others around them because on account of what they say. What may seem motivational or educational to some is an incredible insult to others.
7 Tips for Effective Communication
In the heat of the moment, whether a looming deadline or documentation error, it’s easy for leaders to address employees or their peers with the first thoughts that come to mind. Some call it tough love, while others call it a reality check. Whatever you choose to call it, there are some phrases that you should never let slip at the office or on the job site. By removing a few choice phrases from your vocabulary and choosing a different approach, you will build stronger connections with your colleagues.
- Remove Comparisons
Never utter the phrase, “So-and-so is really excelling at this.” While you may think you’re inspiring someone to rise to the challenge, making a comparison to another person will only lead to resentment. More than likely, whoever you’re talking to will feel shamed because of their inabilities, or they will feel hopeless about making enough improvements to be considered an equal contributor or part of the team.
- Avoid Being Curt
Another phrase casually tossed around is “you don’t need the details, just execute.” If you are trying to bring a quick end to a team meeting or you are frustrated by the questions or demands for detail, it’s easy to pull rank and just demand performance. However, employees who are working in the dark, so to speak, find this lack of transparency demotivating and frustrating. Most employees need to see the big picture to determine personal relevance to the process. Their work needs to matter. Your colleagues need to see your vision to achieve the results you anticipate or expect.
- Don’t Minimize the Problem
Too many people anxious for results spout off “don’t bring me problems; bring me the solutions.” The tough challenges faced at the office need to be met head-on if they are going to be solved. The problem needs to be addressed before an adequate and effective solution can be uncovered. While employees and peers should have the liberty and the ability to reason through problems on their own, there are times when more experienced insight or another set of eyes is all another person needs. This statement leads to problems getting buried or ignored out of fear of your response.
- Never Become an Island
Whether you are running out of time or you are OCD about the way things are done, avoid saying “never mind, I’ll handle it myself.” Although you could handle it yourself, uttering these words will set you on a fast track toward isolation. Whatever team building or collaboration you try to get started in the future, you’ve already established your lack of trust in an employee’s ability. There are times when you have to step in and get things done, but it’s the tone and attitude that exchanges honest help for total narcissism. Allow others to take part for the simple fact of being a team player, even if it’s not exactly how you would do things.
- Always Have Something To Say
Feedback can be either positive or negative, and either way you look at it, not having a response to someone’s efforts says a lot about your leadership abilities. Don’t ever let your colleagues hear you say ” I don’t have any feedback for you.” This phrase tells people that you were too busy to really appreciate their work, you don’t actually understand the efforts that someone put forth or you can’t recognize how efforts either helped or hurt the project. At the very least, positive affirmation for the effort with a “let’s reconvene on where we take it from here” should be on the tip of your tongue. Colleagues want to excel in the industry or challenge themselves to new achievements, and your feedback could be a key role in their professional development.
- Refuse To Pull Rank
Ever heard someone say, “I’m the boss?” and assume people will comply with that fact alone? This can be a hard position to ignore, even if someone was just making the phrase in jest. There can be too much meaning behind the seemingly innocent phrase that touts your power and authority. This approach forces people to do what say based on positional standing rather than motivating and inspiring people to follow your leadership and passion for the job. This can win obedience but never loyalty. As you navigate different environments, there will always be someone with more education or experience, even if you are tasked with the leadership role. Don’t be insecure about your own shortcomings. Rely on the strengths of those around you to advance the project or goal as a whole and not your personal ego.
- Listen More Than Your Speak
Even though you may have a lot to say, sometimes saying nothing at all speaks volumes. Solid connections are built on both giving and receiving, and that includes wisdom, information and respect. Doing more listening than talking will open your eyes to new perspectives and help you avoid making some conversational mistakes.
The best advice you can have when navigating professional relationships is to choose your words carefully. Even when innocently spoken or done in jest, the wrong phrases can sabotage a happy, healthy working environment.
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