Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me, goes the expression. Indeed, they won’t cause any physical damage. But they could leave some psychological marks. If you’re the boss of a company, these words could cost you – they may affect a staff member, or morale in general, which would lead to a drop in productivity. So keep a lookout for such negativity and your employees will be much better for it. Here are words that should be avoided as far as possible:
This very short word is the biggest negative of all time. Instead of making it your spontaneous reaction to a request, a suggestion, an idea or a recommendation, do make sure you have put enough consideration into the matter before dismissing it with a “no”.
If someone is told by a respected person that he or she cannot do something, that employee might end up believing it, whether or not it’s true. It’s defeating. It kills enthusiasm. It makes the poor employee give up without even trying.
If your employee is not getting something right, you would be more helpful to him, the company and yourself if you told him how he could get it right instead of stating the fact that he or she is wrong.
Sometimes, an employee might become stuck in a project or assignment and make very little progress as a result. Calling the person “lazy” would suggest a complete lack of motivation and would be most discouraging to one trying one’s level best. Find out what the problem is and make a helpful suggestion instead.
How will calling someone dumb, or stupid, or foolish, or an idiot help in any way? Suggest a better method or ask questions to encourage better thinking, instead of dismissing an approach as dumb. You want your staff to be motivated and encouraged to do better, and insulting them in this manner won’t help.
Dismissing someone in your staff as a failure would make the staff member start to feel like one. It would be far better to say something that would encourage the employee to attain your standard of success.
Instead of telling a person he or she is incompetent, trying explaining that they aren’t meeting your standards or expectations and suggest what they could become more effective.
It is irresponsible to use this word unless the situation demands it. Dismissing an action or the lack thereof as irresponsible could discourage an employee so badly that they stop being responsible.
Telling an employee that he or she is disappointing, or that you are disappointed with them could do some serious damage to their sense of worth. It also suggests the other person is showing you a lack of respect, which may not be true. Pick on the action (or inaction) instead. Tell the person why you aren’t satisfied with the execution of the task. Tell them to do it differently, even if you can’t offer a better method.
Just like you, there are days when an employee might feel down. Calling them grumpy is not a way to lift their spirits! Find out why they’re upset or unhappy instead, and they’d be a lot more grateful for it than being dismissed as as grumpy.
Say, you need to find a better solution for this problem. Or, you may have to put in more effort in this project. Or, I think there are more effective ways of dealing with the matter at hand. Calling someone useless is not useful at all.
Instead of saying don’t, tell your employees what you want them to do. “Don’t” suggests they were intending to do something undesirable. If used repeatedly, it would start reinforcing the idea that every one of the employee’s thoughts is a bad one, and this would discourage thinking altogether.