Chances are you’ve had a conversation with your boss where he or she says something that sounds a little bit lopsided – or perhaps even crazy. Or maybe you were the boss and you found yourself saying something that – in retrospect – you’re really not proud of.
Here are some of my least favorite things I have heard bosses say:
“That’s just the way the system works.” I’ve seen managers use this line when delivering a less-than-appropriate assessment. This boss probably believes what they are saying. But what they really mean is, “My boss told me I had to do this,” or “I think you deserve more but I failed to get you the result you deserve.”
“I can’t let you take that opportunity/promotion because you’re too valuable.” This is a classic response to an internal (within the same company) job opportunity. This boss (usually) doesn’t really want to keep you from achieving your goals. What this really means is, “You have great skills and I’m worried about how I will replace you.”
“You’re working too hard.” Sounds a little crazy, right? The truth might be that this boss is afraid of losing resources. She may want the job to look harder than it is, or perhaps protect lower-performing employees from being fired.
“You don’t want to do that,” or “Do you really want to do that?” This one is tricky – some great bosses will use these words when they want to help you think things through. If your boss is a good mentor, this is likely the case, but there’s also a chance that this boss really means, “I don’t want you to do that,” or “I’ll look bad if you do that.”
The craziest thing a boss ever said to me was, “You didn’t get the job because the last two managers they hired were female, and this time they needed to hire a male.” In his defense, he was telling the truth (and he was relaying a decision made by someone else). I was appreciative that my boss was willing to share what really happened (and I did get a management job shortly thereafter), but it was nonetheless – crazy.
It’s your turn. What’s the craziest thing your boss has ever said to you?