What Supervisors Should Not Say (Out Loud)!
Have you ever mentioned something in private to an employee you later regretted? Are you in the habit of commiserating with a team member who shared their frustration about a loyal but cantankerous client? Do you find yourself expressing disdain for your boss with an employee who is under your supervision? If you are leading or supervising a team, your influence, attitude, and disposition have greater impact than you probably realize.
Leadership is really about influence and how you use it to help your team utilize their specific strengths in reaching the goals and objectives of the organization or company. There are countless ways to fuel your team members to maximize their potential. Similarly, there are a number of ways to cause them to undermine your leadership, second-guess your confidence, question your competence, and mishandle your trust as a leading example. I'm sure you want to be in the former category rather than the latter.
If you are finding that your team is losing respect for you as a team supervisor or team lead, you may want to take a look at “5 Things Supervisors Should Never Say (Out Loud)” as written by Avery Augustine of Newsweek Magazine online.
He writes, "Management is chaotic. People—employees, managers, customers, and everyone in between—are unpredictable, situations escalate, and in the heat of the moment, it’s easy to let something not so appropriate slip out, without even realizing it.
As a supervisor myself, I had plenty of those moments. And it usually wasn’t until the end of the day that I’d realize, “I probably shouldn’t have said that.”
It’s not just as simple as vowing not to say, “Hey, you suck!” to any of your employees. These are things that may seem like normal office chatter—but over time, can undermine your authority and effectiveness as a leader. Here are a few to watch out for.
1. “My Boss Has No Idea What She’s Doing” Just like your employees may occasionally get frustrated with you, there are probably times when you get frustrated with your boss. And since you mainly interact with your direct reports, it becomes easy to commiserate with them about your shared disdain for the higher-ups. All of a sudden, passing an assignment from your boss to your team becomes, “I don’t know why she wants you to do this, but here’s what she wants,” and announcing a confusing new team policy turns into, “I have no idea why she thinks this is a good idea, but here’s the latest rule she dreamt up.” The thing is, when your team starts to sense that you don’t have much confidence in your leaders, they’ll follow suit and start to doubt, too. And employees who don’t have buy-in to a company’s mission or leadership often turn into job-hunting dissatisfied employees. It’s fine to get frustrated with your boss—I assure you, everyone does. But it’s not OK to share that with your team.
2. “Did You Hear About…” The rumor mill is constantly running in the corporate world. Employees move from cube to cube, spreading (almost unbelievable tales from last night's happy hour), whispers of possible promotions, and murmurs of impending layoffs. Every day, there’s a terrible new policy supposedly about to be implemented or a boss from another department who really has it out for his team. And as a manager, you should be the last person heard talking about those rumors—especially with the people who report to (and look up to) you. Not only will the rumor spread faster when it’s heard from someone higher up the ladder, but you set an example to your team that gossip is acceptable—and even encouraged—in your office environment.
3. “That Client Drives Me Crazy!” Your employee is getting chewed out by a client on the phone, and asks you to step in. Your response? “Ugh, Rita again? I can’t believe she thinks we’re just going to drop everything to help her. She’s one of our smallest clients!” But it also communicates that you don’t take customer service seriously. That Rita is just “another client,” who doesn’t deserve your best service. By belittling the customer’s issue, you’re telling your employees that it’s OK that they treat customers that way; that they shouldn’t go out of their way to understand the problem or try to help.
4. “He Really Messed This Up” When a big project is in the works or a deadline is looming, tensions can get high in the office. So when someone throws a wrench in your work, it’s easy to let out a big sigh of disappointment and focus the blame on him or her. "He can't do anything right" you say—to your boss, your direct reports, and anyone who will listen.
But unless you’re addressing the source of the problem, your complaint is inappropriate. Whoever’s at fault, it’s your job to deal directly with him or her—or, if the culprit is in another department, bring it up with his or her supervisor. Otherwise, you’re conveying to your team that you don’t want to deal with the source of the issue—you just want to complain about it.
5. "I Hate My Job"
Being a manager is difficult. There’s pressure on you from the higher-ups to push your team to achieve their goals, and pressure from your team to be an inspiring, lead-by-example boss. Add in the challenge of figuring out how to manage to a variety of personalities and working styles, and you get a job that can be incredibly frustrating. But broadcasting that you hate your job as a supervisor isn’t going to help you in any department. Your boss may start to hesitate to recommend you for leadership projects and your team will doubt your ability and desire to lead. Think about it: Have you ever looked up to a manager who so obviously and vocally hates management?
As a leader, you may not always know the right thing to say. But by eliminating these blatantly not-so-right phrases from your repertoire, you’ll be way ahead of the game."
It's good to do a self-check and evaluate where you need to fine-tune your supervisory communication skills. I hope you enjoyed this post. Please share on your social media sites with your family and friends. Make this your BEST day ever!