A recent survey by JBG International Success Academy, a performance training and research company, asked two hundred managers, leaders and working professionals in six states and ten countries to share statements they made, or heard others communicate that were considered untactful and made others defensive.
Here are the top 50 statements as a result of the survey:
1. “That’s not my job”
2. “Why can’t you do it”
3. “I’m here to work, I’m not here to make friends”
4. “I’m busy can you get all of this”
5. “I’m right, you’re not”
6. “You don’t know what you’re talking about”
7. “I’ve told you how this is done before”
8. “I don’t work for you”
9. “He’s not pulling his weight”
10. “I’m always the one doing the work”
11. “Just do your job”
12. “What have you been doing all day”
13. “He did it, not me”
14. “This is your fault”
15. “Do it or go home”
16. “I’m busy”
17. “You don’t pay me enough”
18. “No place could be lousier than this”
19. “Well, I just assumed… [insert anything here]”
20. “They should be happy to have a job”
21. ”I don’t have time to babysit you”
22. “Its your baby now”
23. “That’s not how we did it at my old job”
24. “Thats not how we do it around here”
25. “Don’t expect me to bail you out”
26. “There are several unemployed people waiting for your job”
27. “I’m not here to be nice to people”
28. “I’m not paid to think”
29. “Why do I get the all the dirty work”
30. “You do know I can get a college intern to do your job for free”
31. “Sorry…I can’t. That wasn’t in my job description”
32. “We don’t look for creativity in our employees”
33. “I am busy”
34. “I can only do this job”
35. “No one appreciates me”
36. “No one listens to me”
37. “I didn’t sign up for this $#% !”
38. “You’re all alone on this one”
39. “What the customer doesn’t know won’t hurt them”
40. “She/he just got the job because they are (fill in the blank) with the boss”
41. “I don’t know” (with no follow up)
42. Hold that thought, I will get back to you” (NOT)
43. “Yes” to everything …. and then not delivering
44. “Why me?”
45. “I don’t work for you I work for the organization”
46. “We already tried that, and it doesn’t work”
47. “You’re wasting your time”
48. “Don’t worry. I will take care of it” (fail to follow through)
49. “I don’t have time to talk to you”
50. “Told you so”
According to a recent Gallup Poll survey, roughly 70% of employees across the country either dislike their jobs or don’t really care about the work they perform on a daily basis. However, most must still come to work everyday to pay bills and take care of their families. But just because they come to work does not mean they are giving their best performance. Their bodies may be present at their desk, but their hearts and minds are far from their work.
What does this mean for managers, leaders and business owners? Lost productivity, lackluster customer service (if employees don’t care about their work, they won’t care about customers) low morale, and ultimately lower profits.
Managers and leaders must understand that employees need a reason to come to work and bring their best performance. That reason has to be more than a paycheck. If not, managers and leaders run the risk of creating “paycheck employees,” who only come to work for a paycheck, or “transactional employees,” who only perform work they are paid, nothing more or less and won’t do more unless they are paid more.
Listed below are three actions managers and leaders can take immediately to create a workplace environment where employees are engaged and want to give their best performance:
1. Connect with employees on a personal level
This does not mean you become best friends with employees or learn their deepest secrets. It does mean knowing what’s important to them, including family, advancement, job security, or going back to school. It also means knowing their personal goals, hobbies, interests, and what they ultimately are working for and trying to become as a working professional.
There is a successful hotel manager in Las Vegas who accomplishes this by taking new team members out to lunch. During lunch, she asks one of the most important questions a manager or leader can ask, “what are the two most important things to you?” She then takes a mental note of their response or writes it down and places it in their employee file for future reference.
2. Deliver praise and recognition weekly
Workplace morale is just like a muscle, it must be exercised at least weekly to stay strong and healthy. I recently conducted a leadership seminar in New York City and when I informed the audience about how much they should praise and recognize employees, one manager responded, “What! That means I have to start making stuff up.” This manager thought the paycheck and just having a job was enough praise and recognition for his employees. Now of course we should not make things up, we must be genuine with our feedback. It may be helpful to think about praising and recognizing the ”small stuff.” For example, a few ways to recognize mediocre performers is noticing their positive attitude, perfect attendance, willingness to work late and improve, or praising small incremental progress toward achieving their goals.
3. Positive reinforcement
Managers and leaders often do not recognize their employees until they underperform or do something wrong. However, when their employees do things well, they say things such as, “they are paid to do those things anyway.” The most effective leaders understand why we should praise and recognize employees for doing what they are paid to do anyway; we want them to keep doing it.
Can you imagine going to a professional football game and watching a team score a touchdown and nobody clapped? Suppose the audience’s response for not clapping was “they are paid millions to do that anyway.” You would be hard-pressed to attend such a game because the audience will clap to encourage the players to keep doing what they are paid to do. Managers and leaders must have the same mentality of football fans and clap for their team players so they will keep performing desired behaviors and stay inspired to bring their best performance to work everyday.