Why a Manager’s WORDS Matter

choose your words scrabble - 2

If you want to be a better manager, think about your words from your employee’s perspective.

Before you send an email, read it as your employee will to make sure it does not cause confusion.

Before you SAY anything, whether it be praise or growth feedback, think about how your employee will receive your words.

A manager’s words can affect how employees feel about their jobs, their value as professionals, and even their sense of security.

Words Matter: A Confused Employee is at a Stalemate

One of the biggest roles of any manager is to eliminate confusion.

Here’s a simple example of an email confusion that happened recently at Artemis Consultants.  A manager sent an email to our team with these words: “Fyi.. WFH today…plan to be in tomorrow for the meeting.” He intended to say that HE was working from home that day, but Artemis employees interpreted it as permission for everyone to work from home.  The simple mistake under communicating by not adding in the words “I’m going to” caused confusion.

Confusion can come in the form of under or overcommunicating.

Some managers use way too many words to communicate because they are concerned employees won’t understand something unless they explain every nuance.  They send long emails that cover everything.  And as a result, employees wind up either not reading the whole email or spending too much time trying to decipher important action steps.

Words Matter to Empower Employee Independence

Managers, remember that you hired confident, independent thinkers.  If you were your own employee, you would want the freedom to think for yourself.

Managers who are actively involved in every communication and every decision don’t allow employees to make their own mistakes and therefore limit their ability to grow and learn.  “As the leader, you should be the last one to offer your opinion at the decision-making factory. If a team member comes to you with an idea, instead of answering with a binary response like “is this a good plan?” try flipping the script and asking something like “how confident are you about this plan?,” says Front Page writer Kimberlee Meier.

Managers, think about when it is necessary to give your input.  Employees want to know they are on the right track, but not be micromanaged.  “Managers must carefully monitor the amount of attention and direction they give employees. Micromanagement is a motivation killer. On the flip side, not paying enough attention to employees can be demotivating, too,” says Jennifer Thomas of SHRM.

A good suggestion is for managers to begin with the end in mind. Explain to employees what the absolute best outcome looks like and then let associates drive any questions. Make sure employees understand what good looks like, and then let them manage the process of how they get there.

Words Matter: Be Mindful of How Feedback is Received

When giving feedback, consider the employee as an individual.  Feedback should be tailored and mindful of the receiver.

Your workers want to be honest with you about concerns, but ultimately want to please their manager.  Ask employees directly about stress and workload and be aware that employees may only communicate what you want to hear unless you make it a safe space.

Know your employees. Some employees need feedback more frequently than others.  Some are motivated by lots of growth-producing critique, while others feel deflated or even fear they will be fired.

Be generous with appreciation. “A sizable paycheck and generous benefits matter to employees.” Says Jennifer Thomas of SHRM, “But recognition and appreciation are what really make people happy and engaged at work, surveys show.

What managers say can ultimately affect how employees feel about their job and even how employees feel about their value, security, and worth.

While maintaining your mindset as a manager, don’t be afraid to step into the shoes of your employees. “Smart leaders know they are scrutinized with every word and action taken. As a leader, how and what you say has consequences. You need to watch your words; they are extremely influential.” says Connie Wedel at People Development Magazine.

Are you a manager looking for a new employee?  Please visit Artemis Consultants to learn about our recruiting services in SaaS, B2B Tech, and Data Services.


Written exclusively for Artemis Consultants by Content Writer Mellody Melville

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