Everything you say as a leader will impact those around you. From the actual words to the tone to your body language, you need to think twice before “saying” and “doing.”
If you strive to be a better leader, there are things you should never (ever) say. Not even once.
When we started our business dashboard company Dasheroo, we were really careful about how to talk to one another, our colleagues, and our customers. We focused in on what was important to us and how to communicate. Here are five phrases that we agreed, no matter what happens, we’d never say.
1. “I’m sorry you feel that way.”
This is a “non-apology apology,” according to the Wikipedia, which can come across as condescending and demeaning. It’s impossible to utter this phrase without sounding like a 2-year-old brat. Leaders don’t talk down to people. Leaders communicate in a manner that brings out the best in the other party. This puts the onus on the other party, like it’s his or her problem. Just say, “I’m sorry.” Nuff said.
2. “That can never be done.”
The more times you say this the easier it is for you and your team to believe it. Say it enough and you will suck the energy out of everyone around you, making it so they never want to follow you or speak up in the future.
3. “I’ll just do it.”
In your mind, this may not sound bad. You believe the mantra “If you want it done right, do it yourself.” It will save you time in the end if you just do it yourself, right?
But here is the problem: The other party may take it as an insult. It looks like you are questioning his or her ability to do the job the right way. Rather than say this, try something like “Let’s do it together” or “Let me show you a trick I have used in the past.”
Teaching someone how to do it once, even twice, should save you a ton of time in the future and help grow a career path for your employee.
4. “The last guy really screwed this place up.”
A favorite among employees in a leadership position, the blame game isn’t a good look. Others hear this and they immediately think you will never take responsibility. They may also think you will eventually place blame on them.
Even if the last guy made some mistakes, there is no point in dwelling on the past. Good leaders correct past mistakes and promote a better atmosphere moving forward.
5. “Let’s get it out there and put it behind us once and for all.”
Translation: “I have no confidence and am sick and tired of talking about it.”
This doesn’t sound like a leader. This sounds like somebody who has given up.
There are steps you can take to become a better leader. Sometimes, it’s the things you don’t say that help you gain the respect of your team. Make sure you never speak the five phrases above.