6 Phrases Bosses Should Avoid When Addressing their Juniors


When discussing work, what you say matters. More importantly, how you say it matters even more. It’s all about respect.

All too often, bosses use words and phrases that come off as harsh and disrespectful to their employees.

Here are six phrases to avoid when addressing your employees.

The 5 Expressions to Avoid

“I need you to”

When giving your staff tasks or projects, it’s best to phrase your request in the positive, such as “I’d like you to” or “I’d appreciate it if…” Using an offensive opening phrase like “I need you to…” can make your employee feel like you’re ordering him or her around and may create resentment.

“I don’t care”

When dealing with a problem in the workplace, keep emotions out of it. It’s tempting to yell or say something careless, but don’t fall into this trap. Instead of saying something hurtful or negative, try saying something along the lines of “This is not what I expected.”


If there’s one word that should never be used at work, this is it. Saying no can create defensiveness and negativity on both sides of the conversation and may lead to unnecessary arguments. 

Instead of saying no outright, try replying with an alternative suggestion: “I’m not sure if we have enough resources for that right now.”

“I need it by”

You’d like to think that you don’t need to remind your employees of any deadline when giving them an assignment. After all, you’re the boss, and it’s their job to get it done. Unfortunately, sometimes we need a little help from our co-workers. That’s why this phrase should be avoided at all costs; it implies that you don’t trust your employees to fulfill a task on time without reminders.

“I asked you to”

Sometimes something unexpected comes up after you’ve assigned a task. For example, maybe you asked someone to send an email out, and they haven’t done it yet. 

Just because they didn’t do something you asked them to doesn’t mean they’re being lazy or unproductive; maybe they were busy with other work or had an urgent matter come up that was more important than the task that you asked them to complete. 

So instead of saying, “I asked you to email the client,” try saying, “The client hasn’t received the email yet.”


Author Bio

Michael Hollis is a Detroit native who has helped hundreds of business owners with their merchant cash advance solutions. He’s experimented with various occupations: computer programming, dog-training, accounting… But his favourite is the one he’s now doing — providing business funding for hard-working business owners across the country.