Communication is, after all, a two-way street.

1. There are lots of people out there looking for jobs.

This kind of passive-aggressive statement does little to motivate employees; in fact it can prove to be quite de-motivating.The same goes for statements like, “Your appraisal is coming up soon, isn’t it?”, and “If you don’t like it you can leave”, which is rather more threatening than passive-aggressive…

2. Clients like to buy from a sexy girl/guy like you.

In your head this might have sounded like a compliment. In the real world it sounds a little closer to sexual harassment and can at the very least make your employees feel uncomfortable.

Sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to:

Inappropriate touching

Unwelcome sexual jokes

Questions about an individual’s sex life


Rude or inappropriate gestures

Requests for sex

Staring at an individual’s body in an offensive way

3. Guess what I did last night…

Of course there’s nothing wrong with telling a staff member about your experience at the philharmonic orchestra, but be careful what you choose to share. If you decide to tell Becky how hammered you got at the bar over the weekend don’t be surprised when she loses a little respect for you, or when the whole office seems to be talking about it.

4. You don’t need to know how to do that / Just do as I tell you.

Giving your employees a clear understanding of what they are doing and why you are having them do it fosters a better working relationship between you and them and, as the purpose of the task is clearer, tends to yield better results.

5. We’ve always done it this way.

And it probably works too, but this kind of thinking closes you off to new opportunities and is a surefire way of getting left in the past. Review your options regularly and be open to possible changes, then implement them!

6. You are the only employee I can trust.

This, as well as telling an employee that they are your favourite employee, is a big no-no. While all of your staff should feel like you like them a little more than the next person, you should never go as far as to actually say it.

Likewise you should never complain about an employee to any of his or her coworkers, ever. Keep disciplinary matters private and avoid gossip, or you could face losing the respect of your staff.

Read 5 Things You Should Never Say to Your Boss here.

Staff Training is a soft skills training company that trains nationally in South Africa, for more information call (021) 839 3021 or email