What Not To Say As A Manager?

What Not To Say As A Manager

Being an effective manager requires leadership skills and a keen understanding of what should and shouldn’t be said to maintain a healthy, motivating, and respectful work environment.

Here are some key phrases and types of comments that managers should avoid…

  1. Personal Criticisms or Attacks – Comments that target an employee’s character or personal attributes rather than focusing on behavior or performance can be demoralizing and are unprofessional. For example, saying “You’re so lazy” is not only hurtful but also unconstructive.
  2. Comparisons Between Employees – Making direct comparisons like “Why can’t you be more like [another employee]?” can create unnecessary competition, resentment, and a toxic work environment.
  3. Dismissive Language – Phrases like “Just deal with it” or “It’s not a big deal” minimize employees’ concerns or feelings. This can lead to employees feeling undervalued and unheard.
  4. Promises You Can’t Keep – Overpromising and underdelivering can quickly erode trust. Avoid saying things like “You’ll definitely get a promotion next year” unless you’re certain you can make it happen.
  5. Threats or Intimidation – Comments that imply or directly state negative consequences in a way that feels threatening, such as “Do this or else,” can create a culture of fear rather than motivation.
  6. Inappropriate Jokes or Comments – Any language that could be construed as sexist, racist, homophobic, or otherwise discriminatory should be strictly off-limits. Even if intended as a joke, such remarks can be harmful and create a hostile work environment.
  7. Absolute Language in Negative Contexts – Using absolutes like “You always make mistakes” or “You never listen” can feel overwhelming to employees and leave them feeling like they can’t improve.
  8. Micromanagement Phrases – Saying things like “I’ll just do it myself” or “Let me watch you do it” can undermine confidence and autonomy, leading to decreased employee engagement and growth.
  9. Ignorance of Work-Life Balance – Comments that disregard employees’ personal time, such as “I need you to stay late again” without recognition of their need for balance, can lead to burnout and dissatisfaction.
  10. Unspecific Feedback – Saying “Good job” or “You could do better” without specific context does not provide actionable feedback. It’s important to be clear about what was done well and what can be improved.
  11. Avoidance of Accountability – Phrases like “That wasn’t my decision” or “I don’t know why they did that” when discussing upper management decisions can undermine your authority and make you appear disconnected from the decision-making process.

Creating a positive and productive work environment starts with communication. By avoiding these types of comments and focusing on constructive, respectful, and specific communication, managers can foster a culture of growth, trust, and collaboration.