No matter how big or small their role, your employees are the backbone of your business. They are not only your most valuable resource, but your most expensive one (and there is a difference). That makes them your biggest investment altogether. Great leaders understand these points, and therefore do their best to keep said employees happy – especially when it comes to keeping their best employees committed to the business and its mission.

Even when you know how important it is to keep your best employees happy and engaged, it can sometimes be easy to slip up and say the wrong thing. It happens! Just be sure to catch yourself to keep from making the same mistake again. Here are a few points to keep in mind so that you aren’t as likely to slip up. You should never say (directly or otherwise) these 3 things to your best employees:

“Just do it/Because I said so.”

Let’s be honest, here. If anyone says that to you, it feels like you’re in grade school all over again, on a fast-track to the time-out chair. That may have worked for your parents, but it isn’t going to go over as well if you use it on your employees. We all want to be treated like adults, don’t we? It’s times like these when you have to be able to switch perspectives. If employees are asking “why,” it’s probably because something isn’t clear. It can be as simple as that, and it never hurts to explain again so that everyone is on the same page. Keep in mind also that many employees work better with a sense of purpose, so it can only help (not hurt!) to make sure they know why they are being asked to do something.

“I don’t have time for this.”

We’re all busy. As a manager, you’re probably juggling a lot that your employees aren’t seeing first-hand. That’s just how it is! You should never, however, make them feel like their issues/questions aren’t worthy of your time. You have time for what you want to have time for, and that’s a good rule to keep in mind. Sure, you’re dealing with important people, but refer back to paragraph one for a reminder of how important your employees are, too. Help them to feel valued by taking a moment to address concerns, either in the moment, or by scheduling a time to talk later.

Shooting down their ideas

This one isn’t a word or phrase in particular, but it is something you have to watch. When you ask for ideas (and even if you didn’t ask), you should take the time to consider what you get as a response. If you make your employees feel silly for sharing and/or expressing their thoughts, not only will they grow to resent you, but they’ll stop sharing. As a result, you could miss out on valuable insights and perspectives that may have never occurred to you. Don’t feel threatened if an employee comes up with a better idea than one you had. This is never a good quality in management, and it will be noticed! Just be glad that you had a hand in building such a brilliant team.

At the end of the day, the most important way to interact with your employees is with patience. Even if you aren’t feeling patient on the inside, it’s important to project it on the outside. Otherwise, your best employees could learn that they can’t come to you with things, and that’s where resentment grows.

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