Depending on your working environment, employer-staff interactions can range from a nod in the corridor, to (if you’re lucky) beers and foosball over lunch.
Some employers find a sociable workforce unprofessional, others actively encourage it – and why not? Being pals with your employees doesn’t mean the job won’t get done.
Happy staff are engaged staff, meaning more productive on the whole, and what’s not to like about a friendly working atmosphere?
However, no matter how friendly you are there are some lines that shouldn’t be crossed. From startup to corp, 20 employees to 2000, here’s a list of the top 5 things you should never say to your staff.
1. “I heard you’re struggling with the new project?”
From an employer’s perspective this is clearly just a roundabout way of making sure someone’s ok. However, consider the implications this has on your employee. First of all they may be coping fine thank you very much, secondly where did you hear that from?!
There’s nothing worse than feeling like your colleagues or superiors are gossiping about you, so no matter how innocently the information was passed on, never imply that you heard something through the grapevine. Simply ask, “how are you getting on with the new project?”.
2. “You think you’re having a hard time?!”
Of all the things you should never say to your staff, complaining about the fact that your job is harder or more stressful is one of the biggest no-no’s. You might be pals, but you’re also the one in charge – and that means being a good example.
If you’re having a stressful time, don’t complain about it to your employees. The chances are if you’re stressed then they are too, this is where you need to knuckle down and inspire confidence – not complain about how difficult your job is.
3. “Don’t take this personally but…”
Everyone knows that those words are followed up with a hidden insult. No matter what it is that you need to broach, never say to your staff “don’t take this personally” because I promise you, whatever follows will be taken personally.
4. “Have you been working out?”
Compliments are nice. As a boss it’s great to compliment someone for doing a good job, or for helping someone out, or for being super organised. However, it pretty much goes without saying commenting on looks counts as one of the things you should never say to your staff.
Of course, it’s all within context and a compliment isn’t always taboo – but there’s a fine line, and one you don’t want to be the wrong side of. Leave it to the rest of the office to comment on how great their colleague looks, while you focus their great performance.
5. “My partner and I are having issues”
Your employees don’t need to know about this. They just don’t. No matter how chummy you are, no matter how much you know about your their relationships, chipping in with your own love life is just too much information.
At the end of the day, having a friendly banter is one thing, going over the line is another. A flat hierarchy can be an awesome work environment, but keeping it professional requires it’s own set of social rules.
As a leader it’s up to you to toe the line, so make sure you stand poised with our list of 5 things you should never say to your staff! Have any tips you’d like to add? We’d love to hear them, feel free to comment below.
Image Reference – Flickr Thoughtfuldev