Words That Should Be Spoken

At work a co-worker emailed me a link they felt I would find interesting. It was a post by Karen Burns on Money and Yahoo Finance, 7 Things Never to Say to Your Boss and 7 Things your Boss Should Never Say. I found both pretty good. What about the items that should be said? I think it is extremely easy to point out the don’ts, seems second nature for most of us. Those post got me thinking, so I decided to focus on the words that should be spoken. Here are my list of the 7 Do’s that Employees and Bosses should use.

7 Things You Should Say to the Boss

  • “Did you hear about….?” I don’t mean the latest and greatest rumors (but those are fun from time to time). I mean that for most leaders they have many people and actions that need their attention that staying on top of everything is hard. Sharing information is always good.
  • “I’ve got an idea!”  Now we are talking, this leads you to being more vested with your manager and the successes of the team. Idea’s may not always be great, but they do start a better dialog that could lead to great.
  • “We might have a potential problem.” Heading things off before they become a problem is always a good thing. Who would know better than those that are closer to everything? Heads up about the problems will make you a valued employee. Of course, come prepared with data and potential solutions – as you don’t want to cry wolf too much.
  • “Let’s talk about priorities.” When the work is overloaded, having a discussion on priorities helps everyone stay aligned on the important stuff. It also lets the boss know when you are really swamped, sometimes assuming that the boss knows doesn’t work.
  • “What are the MOST important goals for this year, quarter..? Staying current on the stuff that is keeping the boss up late at night, can help to make sure that you are working on the right stuff. Sometimes it is easy to do the simple stuff, knock them out and wait on the tougher ones. Staying aligned is key, just like the priority one above.
  • “I’ve got some bad news.” Holding out the negative news, is never a good thing. Bad news gets out eventually, so before it mushrooms bigger – let it out. With that make sure that you have some potential solutions as well. You will demonstrate that is bothers you (and it really does).
  • “I want to share what I appreciate about you.” Call me old fashion, but feedback to the boss is just as important to the employee. Telling the boss what you like, will likely mean that the boss will continue to do it. Those are the qualities that you like to see.

7 Thinks Your Boss Should Say

  • “Thank you!” A simple phrase that said with meaning is very powerful. The only disclaimer on the words must be timely and heart felt.  A job well done needs to be recognized. I like hearing those words.
  • “What tools or materials would give you the ability to do you job better?” It is the how can I help you, but stronger. We have development plans, but do we really look at them real time? Asking this question keeps everyone thinking about the short and longer term.
  • “How can I support your efforts?” Bosses may think they know everything. Understanding how they can help you personally will definitely give them a better understanding of what is needed. It could be a roadblock that needs to be removed or a simple support statement.
  • “How are you doing?” Getting a sense of how things are going with an employee helps to see the pressure that they are under or how work is really going. I like to also make it more personal, outside of work. We are people first! We don’t all need to hang out together, but we do spend a lot of time together, so get to know each other.
  • “I have an idea, I would like your thoughts.” I know it is a play on the employee to boss, but it is necessary. A boss that seeks out your thoughts or opinions is saying you are a valued member of the team.
  • “How can I support your efforts better?” Another one of those simple questions to help the boss do a better job with your stuff. Don’t be shy, tell it like it is. If the boss is doing well, great. But, I bet there is always something better in the way of support.
  • “I enjoy my job and my team.” For me, coming into work does not need to be hard to do. If it becomes that way, I have to really think long and hard to drive changes. When I am open about enjoying what I am doing and who I am working with (especially my team) – then I have a better mood. I can share that with folks.

Being positive is hard. Thinking about right things to say were much more difficult than the not to’s. Why? It is our culture. The negatives come out faster and easier than the positives. Ever sit in on a post mortem? Look at the list! I sat in on a very successful project and the post mortem pointed out more bad than good. Wow. Maybe we need to change that behavior.