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Chapter 25. Getting Less Difficult—The W... > Replacing Confrontational Language w... - Pg. 269

Getting Less Difficult--The Words, Ma'am, Just the Words 269 Insider Secrets You may be the boss, but that doesn't mean you should be bossy or pushy or use your power all the time. A manager who relies on power to get work done ends up working too hard to keep the troops in line. When the manager is away, the employees tend to slack off without the "threat" of the manager around. Another type of power-based communication is ordering people around and telling them they must do this, or they have to do that. Most adults hate this with a passion, even if it does come from the boss. You need to tell someone what he or she has to do but you don't want to sound unreasonable or that you are using your power. Can you figure out how to do that so the person still understands? Replacing Confrontational Language with Cooperative Language What phrases and words do you need to stop using, and what can you replace them with? Let's begin with the power/status-based communication. Move from Power to Cooperation We want to move away from power- or status-based conversations and giving orders to a more cooperative, we're-on-the-same-side use of language. First, here are some examples of the things we don't want to say: 1. 2. 3. You have to do this by Monday. I'm the boss, and it's my way or the highway. What you need to do is file this under "mail." Let's change the first one. We're going to expand it, soften it, and change it from a you statement and an order to an I statement that sounds better. But it will still be understood. "I really need this on my desk by ten on Monday because it has to go upstairs right away. If you have any concerns about having it ready by then, let me know, and we'll see what we can do." From the Manager's Desk It's the more competent, more confident, and better managers who use cooperative language rather than ordering people around. If you rely on orders and commands and power, you might want to see whether you need to develop your management skills through reading and training.