7 things a boss should never say to an employee

Sandeep Kashyap
5 min readAug 3, 2018

“Hey, Liza. You should really work better and put in some more efforts!” A few months ago, these were the words I yelled at one of my employees who had joined in as a trainee. I did say it to her in a harsh tone and tears rolled down her cheeks like a waterfall flowing down a mountain. And, in no time it made me feel miserable and regretful.

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It was during this that I decided to stay away from things that not only demotivate my team members, but also that hurts them deeply. As a leader, I am responsible for the progress of my employees and for leading them in a direction that will indeed bear fruits for my business.

There are a lot of different ways to keep employees motivated, but not every style works with every employee. At times, you have to share your vision with the right people at the right time. And, sometimes you have to appreciate them for their work and so on. But, one thing that goes well for all is the “verbal communication” between you and your employees. Whatever the situation is, even when you are at the peak of frustration, you do not have the privilege to say something impromptu.

Apart from monitoring your tone and being rude without even realizing it, there are certain things that you should never say to your employees.

So, all the bosses keep in mind these 7 things -

1. “You Must do What I Say because I Pay you”

This is the most annoying thing for an employee to hear from their boss. Everyone knows you pay your employees, but that does not mean you have the right to make your employees do whatever you want. Your employees are not your slaves and they have certain rights and freedom towards their work. Asking your employees to do anything will annoy them and they would work disheartened for you.

2. “You Should Work Better”

It’s ok if you are not able to get the desired results from your employees that you were looking forward to. But, do not go around and curse them for it or shout at them to work better. Instead, appreciate them for their efforts and ask them to put a little more for better results. Be more specific and give them the tools they need to bring the best results. Help them make sure that they understand what you want them to understand and avoid giving indefinite instructions.

3. “It’s Your Problem”

If you want your employees to generate the best work, you need to maintain an attitude of shared responsibilities with them. Consider their problems as your problems and contribute equally to find a solution. They should not feel isolated in case of crisis. So, involve yourself in all their problems so that they see their work as being valued and a part of a bigger effort.

4. “I Don’t Care What You Think”

Using this phrase will leave your employees demotivated to participate in any encouraging conversation. They would prefer to keep their mouth shut and not pour in ideas as their suggestions will not be considered by you. This will create a negative environment and inhibit the growth of employees and your business.

5. “You Should Spend More Time at Work”

Employees hate staying for long in office, working after the normal office hours of extra work. You may choose to work according to your responsibilities but do not ask your employees to do the same. Definitely, they won’t be productive and they need a balance in their work and personal life. Spending more time in office doesn’t mean they will work harder. Be a good leader to gain the respect from your employees so that you are not criticized.

6. “You’re Doing Okay”

Do you give your employees regular feedback? You should and not just tell them they are doing a fine job, instead tell them in detail which can be a base for improvement. Giving a feedback is like raising a desire to grow, to change and to get better. Nobody remains constant in their performance. If they know what they can do for better results they will be more determined towards work. Telling someone “you are okay” will not give them room to improve and they will miss the golden opportunity.

7. ”You’re lucky to have a job”

If you hire an employee, they are hired on the basis of their skills and knowledge. They do not need to be thankful to you for hiring them. Never be rude to any employee by passing taunts like “You are lucky to have a job”, it will make them feel unsuitable. Instead you should show them that you are lucky to have them as a part of your business.

Speak carefully and develop a good attitude to be the real leader. When it comes to dealing with employees, take care of the above things and you will be known as the best boss.

Author Bio:

Sandeep Kashyap is the Founder and CEO of ProofHub — a leading project management and collaboration software. He’s one person always on a lookout for innovative ideas about filling the communication gap between groups, teams, and organizations. You’ll find him saying, “Let’s go!” instead of “Go!” many times a day. That’s what makes him write about leadership in a way people are inspired to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more.



Sandeep Kashyap

Internet Entrepreneur, CEO of SDP Labs and Founder of ProofHub