As an executive coach, I hear it most of the time: “I want to keep my team happy while maximizing output!” As a manager or boss, there is a very fine line that you have to walk to keep your team happy. Just last week, one client I was executive coaching in Bangalore had a deadline that was fast approaching and I heard something that I knew spelled trouble. Nothing happens in isolation, so I figured these problems were also occurring in other organizations.
At the time it may seem like no big deal, but compound the same behavior week after week and it’s a surefire way to foster unhealthy relationships with your employees. As the leader, you might want to be the bigger man or woman and keep your comment to yourself. Find a productive technique to bring it up when you are more levelheaded.
Being an external coach, I get a neutral perspective from the leader and the direct reports. I’ve listed five phrases that I hear time and time again that crush the possibility of positive relationships in the workplace.
1) “It will be faster if I do it myself.”
You want something done right? DON’T do it yourself! You handpicked and hired these great employees for a reason. So you can focus on the big picture while your employees help you out with the work that’s a little less important, but still crucial for your business.
It can be easy to get into the habit of wanting to do everything. After all, you probably know how to do it best. But we’re not looking for the best, we’re considering for growth. And to grow you need to be using all of your brainpower and resources for those high value activities. Stepping in too often to correct the work that employee’s produce can be de-motivating and embarrassing.
2) “Be me proactive”
It can be easy to tell your employees to prevent problems before they occur. But often, employees are doing everything they can. As the boss you are more aware of the situation and often have much deeper insight and foresight with regards to problems. To fix this issue, make sure to use specific requests instead of general catchall phrases.
3) “That’s What I Pay You For”
During your career you will reward the employees for a job well done. Even though you’re constantly worried about the bottom line, never respond with a snarky “that’s what I pay you for.” Direct reports and employees are looking for recognition, whether financially or verbally. If you want to keep your employees from abandoning ship and going to another job, get used to giving out rewards for good behavior. It keeps the employees happy and producing at the highest levels.
4) “Back In My Day, We Did Things Differently”
This is along the same lines as, “if only I was doing it…” or “kids these days.” You were probably one of the top performers during your ascension to becoming the boss. That’s why you have the position that you do. For all the hard work that you have put in, be proud of it. At the same time, not everyone has the motivation and ambition that you might have. Make an effort to find out and truly understand what motivates others and you’ll see performance skyrocket.
5) “I Would Like To See You In The Office More”
In the past, one of the most obvious ways to judge how hard an employee was working was the amount of time that they were spending inside the office. Unfortunately, this view is no longer a correct indicator of how much quality work your team player is producing. You are surely aware of those employees who sit around all day, yet contribute very little compared to their peers. Be sure to target productivity, rather than office hours, as a measure of an employee’s output.
It can be easy to get worked up and frustrated quickly with poor performance. Often, there are other ways to mitigate these problems than being confrontational with your employees. Develop your leadership presence by holding your comments, especially while in a difficult situation. Take time to think about how you want to approach a situation, rather than acting out of instinct. Relationships are everything when it comes to getting the most out of your employees. Make sure you stay away from these five phrases and attitudes and you will keep your employees happily giving their very best for your team, company, and vision!
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom ~Viktor Frankl
Executive Coach Vikram Kalloo
Executive & Business Coaching – Mumbai, London