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8 Phrases You Should Tell Your Employees


Summary: Want to be a better boss? Here are eight phrases you should adopt into your daily language towards your employees.

8 Phrases You Should Tell Your Employees

Many articles and guides are often catered toward how to be the ideal employee or worker, but this one is for my bosses. No matter how much hierarchy and “power” you have, you ultimately need the people that work for you to follow your direction and command in order for your business to flourish, or even to just keep it running.
So how do you assert your power and keep your employees motivated to work for you? Be a leader, not just a boss.
A boss is simply someone who barks commands to those who work under them. A leader on the other hand also commands tasks, yet at the same time are respected by their employees because true leaders ensure those who work for them that they are individuals with a voice, are supported by management and important to the overall team.
Where do you start? Here are 8 phrases that you should ask your employees:
  1. How are you?
You might be thinking that it’s silly to include this on the list, but it’s sometimes easy to forget the humanity of your employees when you have major deadlines and tasks to be completed and a major deal on the line. However, don’t forget to ask your employees how they are doing, and MEAN it. The key is to genuinely care about your employees. They will recognize your authenticity and respect you not just as their superior, but someone who looks out for them and someone they can respect.
  1. Please.
Again, when you have about a dozen things to get done, it could be easy to forget this one simple word at the end of your request or command. But, it is just one WORD and makes all the difference. So next time…
“Could you print me a copy of numbers from the Johnson account, please?”
“I would like you to get that report to me by 5 PM sharp today, please.”
“Get to the meeting 15 minutes prior, please.”
Not too hard is it?
  1. Thank you.
“Thank you” is the proper follow-up to “please.” When the task you have asked to be completed is finished, offer a simple thank you. Add additional verbiage as necessary, but just “thank you” will suffice.
  1. What are your thoughts?
Yes, you are the “boss” and yes, you probably know what’s best…most of the time. But, it never hurts to ask your employees what they think of a particular decision you are making or about to make. A) You could potentially gain insight from a different perspective, which could broaden your approach or B) Your employees may not have anything earthshattering to add, but they will respect that you asked for their opinion. Not only will your employees feel heard, they will feel like they are contributing and serving a purpose on your team.
  1. Good/great work.
When good or great work is done, it should be acknowledged! This is the number one way to assure that good and great work continues to get done. Even your star employee, who knows they are the star employee, needs a pat on the back. If an employee rises to the occasion, let them know. Don’t assume it’s obvious, and even if it is, still congratulate them on a job well done.
  1. I see the direction this is going, but I know you are capable of more.
Sometimes the job done is really terrible. In lieu of that, you could scream at your employees and tell them how incompetent they are or you can use the phrase above. Acknowledge their effort, but tell them they essentially need to do better (or much better, depending on the situation). But by saying “I know you are capable…” denotes that you believe in their abilities to do better. All at once, you will have motivated your employee and served as their cheerleader. And of course, you’re getting the work that needs to be done, properly done.
  1. Is there anything I can do to help you?
If you are someone who believes “your employees are your minions and are only there to serve your royal highness,” you probably didn’t even make it this far down the list. However, if you don’t possess that mindset, or just made it to #7, think like a mentor.
A mentor’s purpose is to guide their mentee to a better understanding and therefore better skill set in whatever their mentee is trying to accomplish. So although your employees are working for you, if you want to lead a cohesive team, your team needs to feel as if they can communicate with you on a human level and not just a professional level. Not only does this phrase increase communication with your employees, but it will also give faster insight into what parts of your team or business need more work. Talk about efficiency. And aren’t we all trying to increase this daily?
  1. I appreciate you.
You might think this is redundant because it has a similar connotation to “thank you,” but it is one step beyond that. How? “Thank you” is better used day to day in response to a particular action or task being fulfilled. “I appreciate you” however is taking it to a more human level. You are essentially saying, “I appreciate your being and also what you can accomplish,” which is a lot more meaningful. To take it a step beyond that, you can add whatever it is that makes you as a leader value your team member.
“I appreciate you, and the work you do for this company.”
“I appreciate your work ethic when it comes to completing reports on time.”
“I appreciate you and the presence you bring to the office.”
Whether you already use some, all or none of these phrases, changing your mindset and dialogue will not happen overnight. But, if you are looking to be a leader and not just a boss; if you’re looking to be someone your employees respect and therefore put in their utmost efforts to make you proud, these eight phrases are a good start.
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