5 Things (Really) Smart Leaders Never Say to Their Staff



I love Inc.com. Every day the folks there provide an endless supply of good advice on leadership, team building, and other best practices in the business world. But last week, they really dropped the ball with an article called 5 Things Smart Leaders Never Tell Their Staff. It reeked of old-school, bulletproof leadership in which "father knows best." Judging from the outcry in the comments on their Facebook page, I'm not alone in that assessment.

So, in rebuttal, I humbly submit my list of 5 things really smart leaders never say to their staff.

1. "I'm the boss. Do it my way." - or any other version of "my way or the highway." Pulling rank is a weak method of leadership. Collaborative leadership creates more leaders, which should be the primary goal of a Generous Leader.

2. "Congratulations, you get to keep your job another day." -  I had a boss who would say this all the time. I know he thought it was funny. It wasn't. It created an underlying uncertainty that was hard to shake. Never joke about terminating someone.

3. "You think you have stress?" - They get it. You have more responsibility, therefore you have more stress/anxiety/responsibility. It's okay to acknowledge vulnerability. But it's not okay to override or negate your team's feelings.

4. "I don't have time for this." - Um, then what do you have time for? Generous leaders support their team. If it's not a good time, stop and set a time for when you can focus. And then keep the commitment.

5. What they want to hear versus what they need to hear. It's no fun doling out tough love. Weak leaders will let an employee flounder until termination is the only real option. Generous leaders will have the hard conversation. No one enjoys it! But the results of the conversation will let you know if your investment of time and concern was worth it. You'll either be met with defensiveness or a willingness to grow. Either way, you've learned something about your employee.

So there's my 5. What about you? What are your 5 things you think you should never say to your team?

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