“If I am not in command, things are not done well”. How many times have you hear this sentence from a boss? And despite this person who commands the others has as principal mission to watch everybody is doing their job, the only thing obtained by a person who commands with these kinds of sentences is the exact opposite. This is an attitude which, far from empowering people, completely paralyzes workers. The one who receives this message understands he just has to put himself in second place, and the only one knowing how to do the job is his boss.

Here are other sentences I have heard from my experience as an Executive Coach:

  • I think, at best, he/she won’t know how to do it.
  • I want things stay like I made them.
  • Until I stop doing it, things were well done.
  • If I am not supervising, things are not made well.
  • In most of the cases, I have to be serious and scream in order to have a great work from the others.

Pascual Montañés, professor of IE, tells us: “to command means to rely on the employees’ intelligence”. I am wondering how much someone who commands with these kinds of affirmations cares about employees’ intelligence. Retail Coaching sessions that I do in some stores allow me to see, through a deep analysis about costs and benefits of these attitudes, how commanders finally find out the conclusion that the only thing they obtain is more personal work, stress, anger, etc… Although their employees are putted in second place, they expect their boss is the person who does the work. Moreover their motivation and self-esteem stay at a level close from the ground, entering in a vicious circle in which the boss falls again and again, and the “employee” is less and less working and has less motivation.

Why people who receive these comments act like that? The answer is linked to the concept of the “prediction auto-realized”. What happens? Employees are interpreting the role given by their boss. Goethe summarizes this attitude saying: “Treat a man like he is, and he will still be the same; treat him like what he can be and must be, and he will transform in what he can be and must be”.

How to get out from this vicious circle? If you don’t know how to answer to this question, maybe you should start trying new things. I invite you from today to change your vision on your “employees”; give them another role; focus on all the potential present in every human beings; write on a paper 5 things which valorize this person and everyday remember how good they are… and do this even with the most complicated people to manage!!! I suggest you starting to require that they surprise you, and trust in them and in their capacity to do an excellent job.

I don’t pretend I am right and I invite you to ask question about what I have written here. However I recommend you to try these advices and maybe you will see a spectacular change for you and your “employees”.


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