Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

What You Shouldn't Say as a Manager

You may read these statements and think that they are a bit extreme, and that you would never say something so brash and blatant. While that may be true, it’s important to keep in mind that Alain’s four statements are really representative of attitudes you might be bringing to the office.

As an ad manager, your employees listen to what you have to say. They look to you for direction, advice and authority. What you say carries a lot of weight in the office, so the number one rule is to always think before you speak. As CBSMoney pointed out in Amy Levin-Epstein’s article, “Four Things a Manager Should Never Say,” there are even certain phrases that you should never say to your staff. The article cited Patrick Alain’s book, “The Leader Phrase Book: 3,000+ Phrases That Put You in Command,” as the source of these four no-no phrases for managers. You may read them and think that they are a bit extreme, and that you would never say something so brash and blatant. While that may be true, it’s important to keep in mind that Alain’s four statements are really representative of attitudes you might be bringing to the office. You might not be saying these sentences verbatim, but you may be implying their meaning in other things you say or do. So, that brings us back to rule number one: Always think before you speak (and act, for that matter). Is what you’re saying or doing giving off the meaning of the below statements?

1. “That is impossible.”

This might occur as a gut reaction. An employee suggests a project or an idea that seems too good to be true, impossible to execute even. But when you say this to your staff, you are essentially building a brick wall to their creativity. If used too frequently, your staff will be less likely to bring new ideas to the table, which certainly is not the work environment you want to create. Instead of telling them it’s impossible off the bat, sit down and have a conversation about the logistics of what they are suggesting. Present them with the possible realities that worry you, like what obstacles they may run into along the way. This may bring you to the conclusion that their ideas are, in fact, not do-able, or they may just be able to prove you that it can be done.

2. “He/she is a jerk.”

Of course, there will be times that you get frustrated with your employees, but it’s never appropriate to vent those frustrations at the water cooler. Doing so will build a distrustful relationship between you and your staff. If you’re willing to argue about one employee, the employee that you confided in might believe that you speak the same way about him. However, there is an appropriate way to handle these frustrations. Employee feedback is a constructive and useful activity for the workplace. Take your frustrations and turn them into constructive criticism that can be offered as employee feedback. This will give you the outlet you need to express yourself in an appropriate and useful manner, while not maintaining a positive relationship with your employees.

3. “It’s my way or the highway.”

This phrase leaves little room for creativity and innovation. While you need to demonstrate yourself as an authority figure, you also need a working relationship with your employees. If you’re continually saying “no” to your employees, because you want it done your way only, you will only build bigger problems in the office. Instead, make sure you’re really taking your staff’s thoughts and ideas into considerations. Greatness is rarely achieved by just one person. Ensuring an open dialogue within a group of thinkers is a surefire path to growth and progress. So instead of saying, “It’s my way or the highway,” sit down and have conversations with the employees who are part of the project. Bring all of the opinions to the table and try to take an objective look at the situation as a group — not just as the leader.

4. “I’m always right.”

Similar to “My way you the highway,” this sentence leaves little room for collaboration, which can truly limit your department. Make sure you are allowing for a multitude of ideas and opinions to be voiced in your office. However, as a manager, there will certainly be times when you need to make the final decision. Instead of telling your employees it’s your way, because you are “always right,” tell them the logical explanation and reasoning behind your decision and why it must be that way. Make sure you still convey your appreciation for your employees’ ideas and opinions and also their value to the office.