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Hello everyone, this is Tom Hallett from the Learn Grow Succeed Podcast. 

As a topic for todays podcast I thought it would be a good idea to look at how leaders communicate with their teams 

Our course participants sometimes tell us that it can be easy for leaders to get caught up in their role and forget how to communicate effectively.  

Open communication is essential for good leadership and encourages transparency and mutual support and respect. 

But it can go wrong.  

Leaders can find themselves in stressful situations with multiple tasks and commitments jostling for priority – and it’s at times like this when unfortunate words can slip out if you’re interrupted from critical work by one of your team. 

But, however busy you are, thThere are some phrases that you should steer well away from to maintain appropriate and professional communication, and avoid your team becoming disengaged.  

So, the subject of today’s podcast is what leaders should NEVER say to their team 


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Let’s get into today’s podcast topic: looking at what good leaders don’t say – and how you can make sure you handle situations positivity to get the best results and manage your team effectively.  


The first phrase to avoid is: 

1. “You’re lucky to have this job.” 

I know this might sound strange and only recently a friend of mine shared a scary story that a manager in his organisation actually uttered this phrase! 

Any leader who says this to a team member is being incredibly condescending. If you have to reiterate how great the job is and how grateful your employee should be, it probably isn’t all that great after all 

Additionally, insulting an individual in this way will make them feel undervalued and unlikely to come to you with any problems, concerns or ideas in the future.   


2. “That’s not my problem.” 

If a team member comes to you with a question about a challenge he or she can’t solve on their own, it’s your job as a leader to help them work around it.  Guiding and encouraging employees to find answers will ensure not only that you help them grow in their role, but being approachable will also make sure that if there is ever a significant concern, you’ll get to hear about it first-hand 


3. “Im too busy to talk to you. 

Yes, as a leader, you have responsibilities and need to juggle multiple plates; but your team are crucial to the overall success of the organisation.  

And unfortunately, this particular phrase is used more regularly than people realise. Blunt refusal to discuss an issue will make team members feel they are not important. If you really don’t have the time right now, make an appointment to devote one to one time with the employee as soon as possible to solve the matter. 


4. “I pay your salary, so just do it.” 

Showcasing power and using aggressive language will make employees reluctant to trust you and could see levels of morale plummet. Great leaders don’t dictate; they inspire and encourage their teams. 


5. “I have to work late, and so I expect you to do the same” 

According to Forbes, putting pressure on your team in this way and implying they should be on call 24/7 will lead to a drop in motivation and dissatisfaction. You’re the manager – it stands to reason that your role will carry more responsibility and expectations. You shouldn’t expect the same of your team. 


6. Your work is rubbish!” 

Sometimes even the best individuals don’t deliver. But accusing someone of doing a terrible job is not going to improve matters. Constructive criticism will help the individual see where they are going wrong and help provide a solution.  

Additionally, be conscious of showing empathy. It could be that an individual’s work is suffering because of a problem elsewhere.  Are they ok, or do they have concerns at work or home? One of the most significant leadership traits, as advised by Stephen Covey, is the ability to ‘seek first to understand.’  


7. “Don’t make any mistakes. 

A great way to inhibit innovationThough this phrase is often spoken in jest…. There could be an underlying communication that your team member takes away. 

Your team have to be comfortable in making mistakes along the way to create a culture where development and innovation are possible.  By making your team afraid of making mistakes, you will hamper any growth and see your organisation eventually stagnate in the same, tired way of doing things – while more creative competitors advance in leaps and bounds. 

Remember, ‘He who never made mistakes never made anything!’ 


8. “Weve always done it this way.”  

This is possibly the fastest way to squash innovation and halt development in its tracks. For leaders who want their team to go nowhere, there is not a better way of achieving it.  

To make sure you are always moving forward, actively look for new ways of tackling projects. Ask your team what they think – engaging them and valuing their contribution will see productivity and commitment rise, revealing new ideas and suggestions. 


So, remember 

Using confrontational or dismissive language will, long term, damage your company culture and brand, your customer service levels and undermine your productivity.  

Good leaders don’t make excuses, shy away from interaction and most certainly do not threaten their teams. Good managers nurture and support their team, so they feel valued and inspired.  

Steer clear of these eight phrases to ensure you engage positively with your employees and enjoy the benefits of a committed, motivated and high achieving team. 


Until next time! 


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