All of us have had a bad manager. While there are any number of shortcomings a manager can exhibit, they all seem to revolve, in one way or another, around communication.
But many of us have also had really good managers. The ones who empower you, give you hard honest feedback, and just genuinely care for you.
However, the case for most managers is that they are learning on the job, which is never an easy or pleasant experience. Though there are hundreds of books out there that address management and leadership, it is a skill that is learned over time — often the hard way.
If you are a manager, here are some helpful ways to better communicate with your team to make them feel cared for and valued. For those who are not managers, these tips are helpful when communicating to clients or internal teammates. After all, communication is universally important.
Our friends over at Headway Capital created a very helpful infographic to make things even easier. I will be going over some of my favorite phrases not to use.
“I do not pay you so I can do your job for you”
You might be thinking you would never be that rude to say something like this. While that might be true, maybe you are communicating this in different phrases or with body language that shows you do not care.
Even when an employee asks you a very simple question, start off the conversation with “well how do you think it could be done?” This gives your employee a voice in the situation and will build trust in the long run.
“Nice job today”
This one is tough. Being a person that loves to give compliments, I know I say this a lot. However, what this is actually implying is that your coworker or employee does not do a good job every single day.
Make the compliment very specific to what they did a great job on instead. For example, if there was a complicated customer situation, you might say “you handled that client like a true professional. Great job.”
“Keep doing what you are doing”
By saying this you are essentially saying “you are doing great work.” I know this sounds like a fine compliment, but this does not help your employees grow or feel empowered to do better. A better way to give praise could be stated like this: “You are doing such a great job with project management, what other skills would you like to grow in?”
By asking this type of question you are giving your employees a chance to voice what they would like their career path to look like and giving them hope that they can grow with your company.
“Does that make sense to everyone?”
This is common when presenting a training program or going over a new tool with a client. When giving instructions for a task that you want the team to follow through on by ending your expectations with “is that clear,” it makes it seem like the audience is foolish if they ask a question.
A better way to ask this is “I know I covered a lot really fast, what are a few things I was not clear on?” This opens up a conversation and will result in your team fully understanding what is expected of them.
Overall, being a manager can be very hard, but communication is the most important tool for any manager to master. If proper communication is not happening, then your team will experience a lack of empowerment, possibly resulting in employees moving to new departments or leaving the company altogether.
Check out the rest of the phrases of what not to say below, and continue to work on becoming a better manager and overall communicator!