Berger Leadership Blog

Apr 24, 2015

What leaders don’t want to hear

Office talk

Even if you’re the most optimistic, upbeat and encouraging boss, you cannot assume your employees experience the same love, appreciation and dedication for the job that you do.

Minda Zetlin, coauthor of “The Geek Gap,” summarizes the advice of author and innovative business coach Daniel Prosser in an article, writing that words can be powerful motivators and de-motivators.

Quoting Prosser, Zetlin writes, “Conversations in nearly 90 percent of companies are limiting, and they undermine and sabotage the company’s performance.” The worst part, she writes, is that most bosses have no idea these types of employee conversations are taking place.

Zetlin summarizes 10 phrases that Prosser says bosses should take as danger signs if they overhear them coming from an employee. Here are some that caught my attention:

  • “It’s not our strategy.” Do your employees have a hand in guiding your company or actions taken by their department? If they are just being asked to do various tasks with no sense of ownership, then don’t be surprised to hear this phrase.
  • “They don’t appreciate us.” It pays to tell your employees “thank you” and “good work.”
  • “They’re always making excuses.” If you make excuses or point the finger when something doesn’t go as planned, don’t expect your employees to act any differently.
  • “Because the boss said so. That’s why.” Don’t be a controlling boss.

We are never going to know everything our employees are saying, but we can avoid giving them reasons to develop and spread negative feelings about the workplace.