5 Things Managers Should Never say to Employees
Updated: October 15, 2014
Apple and Facebook’s new healthcare perk of egg freezing reminded me that male managers need to be reminded they should never use the word “womb” or bring it up in the workplace.
February 19, 2014
An article in U.S. News, discusses 10 things not to say in the office, which inspired me to create a list of things managers should never say to employees and have actually been said to me from male managers. I have a feeling many of you could add to the list:
“You need to hit your quota, I need to buy my son a car.”
Hey jackass-it’s called a job. It’s obvious from a statement like this, the accountability apple and tree have likely been inbred for generations. There is no excuse and there is no saving a manger that out of touch with their employees.
“Meet my fiancée, she really wants a nice ring so make sure you hit your quota.”
Employees are often motivated to sell more so their manager can buy the second (or 45th) spouse, jewelry. Oh I’m sure Wharton dedicates a semester to this philosophy in their business school.
“Can you take my son to work with you and not tell HR I asked you to?”
The ‘Take your daughter to work day’* (yes, it started out with our daughters since they were originally thought not to have the same exposure to business as little boys-Phew! Glad that’s fixed) probably wasn’t designed to fool HR.
“Did you know you’re taking a job from a man?”
Please detach yourself from your mother’s breast and crawl out the cave. As a manager if you have ever uttered (get it) those words or any variation to a female employee, please see next post for additional direction.
“Why are you wasting your womb years with a career?
See above and Google sterilization techniques to fix the situation for future generations. Give our kids a chance by not giving yours a chance.
Again, we can file this under stuff you can’t make up. There is a solution to bad management- correcting it (statistically about as promising a rehabilitating a serial killer) or remove it and make better selections moving forward. The solution is MMpiHer Method ™. http://www.killingmycareer.com/category/mmpiher-method/
And the original list that inspired mine:
1. “Are you pregnant?” If someone wants you to know she’s pregnant, she’ll tell you. Until and unless that happens, assume it’s none of your business—and asking is a good way to offend most women, pregnant or not.
2. “You owe $10 for this gift for the boss.” Many workers don’t want to budget for going-away or shower gifts for co-workers and resent being asked to give up their hard-earned cash. That’s doubly true when the collection is being taken up for the boss, who presumably earns more than them. Besides, etiquette rules say that gifts in the workplace should flow downward, not upward.
3. “You’re so skinny! Why aren’t you eating?” Commenting on other people’s bodies should be off-limits in the workplace, even if you intend it as an expression of concern. Your co-workers are there to work, not to have their eating choices or their bodies scrutinized and judged.
4. “That’s not my job.” Protesting that something isn’t in your job description is a good way to plummet in your co-workers’ esteem—and your manager’s. Most people end up pitching in to help on things that don’t fall squarely within their job descriptions, and refusing to help will quickly earn you a reputation for being unhelpful and probably a little bit lazy.
5. “The new manager is a real jerk.” Snarking about the boss is rarely good for your career. Even if others join in, your comments may get back to your manager. And even if they don’t, you don’t want to become known as a wellspring of negativity.
6. “I heard Kim is dating Ryan.” If you spread office gossip, your co-workers might listen eagerly, but they’ll note that they can’t trust you to be discreet. It’s great to bond with co-workers over life outside the office, but the details of other people’s lives aren’t yours to share.
7. “You’re HOW old?” Whether you’re implying someone is surprisingly young or surprisingly old, keep your amazement to yourself. Show respect for your colleagues as professionals, and don’t baby the younger ones or make the older ones feel they’re one step away from retirement.
8. “Don’t ask me. They don’t tell me anything.” Complaining about how disempowered you are is a good way to undermine your own credibility and authority. If you don’t have the information you need to do your job, you should go ask for it—not complain to others that you don’t have it.
9. “Why are you so dressed up today? Got a job interview?” You might not be thinking when this pops out of your mouth, but there’s no outcome here that doesn’t put your co-worker in an awkward position. If she does have an interview, you’re forcing her to either confide in you or lie. If she doesn’t, she now has to worry that you think she does.
10. “I’m so hung over.” Telling your co-workers about your long nights partying might seem like no big deal, but if you get a reputation as a lush, you’ll find your credibility diminishes—no matter how good your work.