By Lilian Wamaitha
You must admit that in the course of your career at one time or another you have had a boss or a manager who has either made you lose respect for them or has made you feel like the better person in the room.
If you are about to begin your journey as a leader, you ought to keep all these bad experiences in mind to ensure that you don’t make the same mistakes as those before you did.
I have had my own share of bad managers in the past who at some point made me feel worthless and lowered my self-esteem to an all-time low. I managed to get past it and so should you.
I however know that no matter what my career brings along, I never want to be like that manager who would always look for ways to sabotage me or the one who thought my ideas were not relevant.
This being the case, I have compiled a list of the things that you will never hear great leaders say.
We are all bound to make mistakes but saying some of these things to people who are supposed to report to you will only make them lose their respect for you.
1. “I’m sorry you feel that way”
If we are being honest you must admit that this is one of the most unapologetic things anyone will ever say to you. In fact, it’s not an apology but a way of telling you that you don’t matter. They run the show and you are better keeping your opinions to yourself.
Rather than saying this, a great leader will make it their business to understand where that person is coming from. Make sure that the person knows that you value them and are willing to listen when they come to you for anything.
2. “It’s not personal, it’s business”
Really? This is classic jerk talk and as a leader you shouldn’t be saying such things.
As it is, this phrase has never been used to follow up a positive comment, so it’s probably best if you don’t use it at all.
While sometimes you will be forced to have difficult conversations with your subordinates, you don’t have to make the feel the worse. Instead, focus on the positive.
Understand that as a leader, one of you goals is to coach those who report to you and you cannot do this if you are always undermining them.
3. “It’s not my fault”
This is a common one among some leaders. No one likes to be around or even work under someone who never takes responsibilities.
Great leadership is about leading by example and such a person will be the first one to step up and accept an equal amount of blame as the others.
Passing on the blame to others especially your juniors is just a way of telling them to stop respecting you.
4. “I am the one who did it”
The opposite of a leader who likes passing blame on others is one who takes credit for everything.
A strong leader is the one who shares achievements and successes with their employees and makes sure that each one is recognized for their contributions.
5. “You don’t understand, do you?”
This is one of the fastest ways of making another person feel stupid and worthless.
Any person knows when they have made a mistake and rather than demeaning them and pointing out their short comings, a great leader will help them turn every weakness into strength.
6. “Because I said so”
I imagine that you have heard this saying a few times in your life, most probably from your parents. But can you imagine hearing it from someone who is supposed to be your boss?
It’s demeaning and not to mention disrespectful. It simply tells you that you are there to be seen not heard.
A good leader will use strategic leadership to encourage those who work below them, making sure that each and every person understands why things are done in a certain way in a way that they are also open to their suggestions.
7. “That’s the way I’ve always done it”
As a leader one of the most important things you can do is listen to those you are supposed to lead. If someone thinks that there might be a better way of doing something, instead of going with your ego, you should give them room to air their opinion.
Any good leader is always looking for ways to better the business and it’s the duty of everyone, intern or top managers to have a say in how things are done.
8. “I’ll do it myself”
Sometimes, it may seem like things will be achieved much faster and better if you do them yourself.
You think that you are the only one who can do it right, right? Well, wrong. Even if you are not the boss, there was something those the one who hired them saw in these people that made them hire them in the first place.
Therefore, it’s your duty to show them that you trust them by allowing them shoulder some of the responsibilities.
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9. “Your performance can make or break the company”
I know this can be said in a light way to make people step up but it’s no phrase any effective leader ever uses.
When you think about it, it’s unlikely that the fate of the company rests entirely on the shoulders of one particular person and therefore it is unfair to make them feel like it’s a do or die situation on their part.
There are always better ways to motivate someone to deliver than making then feel like they are being pulled from all sides.
10. “I’m in charge”
If you are in a position of leadership, the others obviously know who is in charge. You don’t have to keep reminding them because it will not make them respect you any more than they already do.
You declaring this will only make you come out as a dictator and nobody wants to work for such a person let alone take orders from them.
For instance, you don’t have to keep harassing interns left, right and center just because you want to be heard.
Great leaders are felt and not heard.
The take away
Whatever you do, think before you say something. Obviously whoever put you in that position of leadership saw something in you that the others didn’t have. Leadership is a journey and it will not take a day or a year to perfect. You keep learning every day and you do this when you have the respect of those who report to you. Master what it takes to be a great leader in your profession by enrolling for a leadership course today.
Lilian is a Communication Officer at Career Point Kenya. What is you take on this article? Leave a comment below and don’t be afraid to send me an email through email@example.com if you need any professional advice.