As a manager, employees always look at you. They watch how you behave and are really careful about what you say. You have to always be intentional and be really careful with what you say. Some really simple statements that you often make might not have the effect you initially imagined. German Trujillo Manrique highlights some of the seemingly harmless statements that should never be made by a person in a position of leadership.
“Just Keep Doing What You Do”
This statement is usually made when talking to the high performers with the purpose of encouragement. Unfortunately, this type of feedback is actually really bad. The high performers will be left confused. They will be frustrated by what is mentioned since they are ambitious and almost always want to focus on improvement.
Constructive criticism is a huge part of being a leader. You have to offer this and try to mentor people, especially those that perform really well. A much better alternative would be to simply say what the performer is good at and what can be done to make future improvements.
“Was What I Said Clear?”
Such a statement always seems to be reasonable but it does not actually offer a truly accurate picture. No matter what the answer to the question is, you will not actually know if people understood what you said. As an example, many bright leaders offer a lot of information. The audience ends up being overwhelmed. When this happens, people do not really know how to answer. Also, when the question appears in a setting where many people are present, the possibility of responding is low due to fear of looking confused. Doing a quick review of what was presented is much better.
“Failure Is Not An Option”
This can only be appropriate when faced with a really dire situation. The best leaders understand that this is not something that should be the case with most meetings that happen. At first glance, you think that you are setting the bar really high. In reality, what you do is encourage mediocrity. When people are too afraid of making mistakes, they are not going to make any experiment. They will not try to find better ways to do anything.
A much better approach is to talk about calculated risks and put an emphasis on the fact that risks should only be taken in the event that there is a good possibility of success.
“Bring Me Solutions”
This is usually associated with something like “do not bring me problems”. The statement is normally made in order to encourage proactivity and problem-solving. What it does is stop many from talking about the issues that they do not know how to properly solve. As this happens, leaders end up being completely unaware of big problems that exist. Also, people end up being too invested in solutions. They want to sell ideas instead of working together with others.
As you can see, you have to be really careful about what you say. Some really simple statements you often use may be mistakes.