What a Leader Should Never Say

As leaders, we expect that our employees, our team members, will listen and take value in what we have to say. By that same note, we need to make sure that what we are saying is actually of value and is helping those people be better at what they do and at who they are.

In a recent article from CBS News, author Amy Levin-Epstein wrote about the four things a manager should never say:

  1. “That’s impossible.”
  2. “[John Doe] is a jerk.”
  3. “My way or the highway”
  4. “I’m always right”

Each of these limits the listening that can be done and limits those around you in their potential. If you tell someone that something is impossible, that is accusatory and negative. Best to keep on the optimistic side that won’t make someone defensive. Calling someone a jerk is just a label – it doesn’t tell you anything. Better to explain what behavior is causing what problem. And statement 3 and 4 just make you appear that while you are asking others to listen to you, you aren’t willing to even consider listening to them or their opinion.


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