Many architects will tell you they already bring a lack of confidence to their work. Even their brilliant designs have been met with criticisms like, “Why didn’t you do this differently?” or “It’s okay for someone with your experience level.”
Bosses who wear away at employee confidence fray the fabric of confidence and create a toxic work environment that’s not conducive to design greatness or employee retention.
When you’re the boss, what you say matters. Leaders must be aware of their statements and ensure their words reflect their values.
Above all, there are four things bosses should never say.
The Four Things Bosses Should NEVER Say
The quickest way to send your top talent creative team to a new design firm is to comment without thinking of its impact on morale.
Here’s what your firm’s designers wish you knew about the things you say:
- “We’ve always done it this way.”These six words may seem benign, but they tell us that you’re not interested in new ideas. You want the status quo, delivered by yes-people willing to stick to the past rather than look to the future.
- “Follow directions because I said so.” Weknow that you’re the boss. However, you’ll be more respected if your actions reflect leadership instead of your words. Great leaders increase understanding and ownership within their teams.
- “You’re letting your homelife impact the quality of your work.”This statement indicates that you lack compassion and the understanding that our lives affect our ability to work. Of course, our homelife affects our work, and vice-versa. We want you to recognize that we have struggles, and they can make us better designers, not weaker ones.
- “Don’t complain – you know what you signed up for with this job.” Sometimes we need to vent. Letting off steam can lead to solutions for seemingly overwhelming challenges.
Employees who never hear these words are likely working for great bosses who remember what it’s like to be an employee, and the design firm probably has little turnover.
The Words Slipped Out; Now What?
If you’ve uttered (or yelled) any of the four things bosses should never say, you’re human. However, you’re also the design firm leader, and with this elevated role comes higher expectations.
Once you’ve said something you shouldn’t, you can’t erase the words. They linger like a foul odor. So how do you clear the air?
You look to the future and practice restoration. It requires honesty and humility; the process will take time as your employees learn to trust again.
Good leaders listen to feedback when it’s presented and then make changes; great leaders seek feedback to improve continually.
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