The following six phrases have never ever been uttered to my knowledge to a boss, because although they may be things an employee would want to say, I would expect any of them would lead to an immediate termination. And yet, I am willing to bet we can all identify with wanting to say at least one of them to a past or present manager. I count myself unlucky because I worked for a gentleman once that all of these would have applied.
As you read each of these, stop and ask yourself what would make an employee want to say this to their manager? Why would it be good for all managers to evaluate their own behaviors to prevent any of their employees wanting to say these words out loud?
- “Never give me work in the morning. Always wait until 4:00pm and then bring it to me. The challenge of a deadline is so refreshing!”
- “If you give me more than one job to do, please don’t share with me which one is your number one priority. I am psychic!”
- “Do your best to keep me late. I just adore this office and really have nowhere to go or anything else to do. I have no life at all beyond work!”
- “If a job I do pleases you, keep it a big secret. If word gets out, it could mean a promotion!”
- “If you have special instructions for a job, please don’t write them down. In fact, save them until the job is almost complete. There is no use confusing me with useful information!”
- “Wait until my yearly review and THEN tell me what my goals SHOULD have been. Give me a mediocre performance rating with just a cost of living increase. I’m not here for the money anyway!”
So, how many did you count with a smile on your face, and the visual of a manager in your mind? Each of these situations captures a moment when as managers we forget about how our delegation can impact other people and their workloads. They remind us that recognition goes a long way if communicated, and setting performance expectations is a life long responsibility of any manager.
I didn’t invent these moments, as I got them from a newsletter I subscribe to that has a humor section. But rather than leave it as just a time to laugh, I wanted to prompt some discussion on how close to home they hit for you. And, if you as a reader would be a fair target for one of your employees to say these to you, take this opportunity to reverse course.