5 things true leaders will never say (Blog #33)


Last week it was all about the term “push back” and what this really means. This week, I want to talk to you about more terms that will help you distinguish between the true leaders and those that are merely in senior positions. Because, remember, my whole purpose in blogging every week is so you can gain the insight that I gained over 10 years and 9 jobs.

5 things true leaders will never say

No.1 – “I’m the manager and it is what it is!”

As I write this I have a vivid flashback to one of my managers from job #9. When she said those exact words to me, at the same time she raised her shoulders and shook her head side to side as if to say “And there’s nothing that you can do about it!!!” And there I was trying to address some serious concerns about how the team functioned. About workloads and about her workload. Never had I seen a manager soon miserable at work. And when I acknowledged these points instead discussing the issue, I got the attitude of a five-year-old thrown in my face with this ridiculous belief that the situation was what it was and there was nothing we could do to change it. Soooooooooo wrong!!!

There is no weaker sign than when a manager needs to point out their position so obviously. Your employees will never respect you because of a title. Respect is something that is earnt not instructed or demanded.

No. 2 – “You don’t need to know that!”

Yep, I know you know what I’m going to say. It’s only in the worst work cultures that I’ve heard managers use this term.

As I’d witness one of my managers use this quite often, it was amazing how she’d say these words with such confidence like she had every right in doing so. Well, here’s the thing. Using your authority to do something that wouldn’t be acceptable if an employee below you did it, makes you a bully! And that’s exactly what people would call her.

“You don’t need to know that” had simply become an acceptable way of in other words saying “I’m not going to waste my time explaining it to you.”

In job #8 (yes, the one that would’ve been a dream example for companies to mimic) I remember having a chat with most of my managers. I remember asking them things about their job, that didn’t directly involve my position.


Just so I could get a better understanding of it all. In the right workplaces showing interest beyond what you have to do is a positive sign. It’s exactly what you want your employees to do.

And guess what?

When I understood more, I felt better about it all. I was more confident and happier.

Could you imagine if my managers at job #8 turned around to me and said, “You don’t need to know that!” I’d have felt insulted, belittled, bullied and it’s highly unlikely I’d go to them again unless I absolutely had to. There goes trust, respect and any hopes of friendship.

No. 3 – “Guys, less talking and more work.”

The job that I was happiest in (Yes, job #8) was the job that I did the least amount of talking. I loved what I did. And I was very focused and on getting as much done as possible. I enjoyed it. I thrived off of it. And this whole approach was very consistent throughout the whole company. No one had to be told not to talk. But no one was ever told to stop talking. They gave us the freedom to do what we thought best. And the outcome… a fully disciplined team of people working away happily like there was no tomorrow!!

However, at the job where my manager actually had to email us saying “Less talking and more work” (and yes, me included) the culture was the absolute worst. I guess no one was interested in working that much in a place they didn’t like or enjoy. I remember when I’d turn around to speak to a colleague, I’d apologise for interrupting and her response would be “Oh please do, the work I’m doing right now is so boring.”

Need I say more?

No. 4 – “Get your shit together!”

In this case, if you’ve got nothing constructive to say then don’t say anything at all. If there are issues that need to be addressed then do so in a constructive manner. Outline what needs to be done about it. Simply saying “Get your shit together” is nothing short of embarrassing for any manager and a waste of company time!

No. 5 – “Employees come here for money, and that we need to respect.”

When the senior manager of multiple teams within a company says this, that says to me that he doesn’t have a clue.


You don’t want people that are simply there to make money because nothing great comes out of it. These people will merely do what they have to do to get their job done and nothing more because it’s not important to them. When money is the main motivator work culture goes right down the toilet. People are solely focused on what they have to do and nothing else. In these environments no one cares about teammates, culture, friendships, clients or members. And to acknowledge this is one thing, but to then also accept it as being OK, as a senior manager, is alarming to say the least.

 “Great companies don’t hire skilled people and motivate them, they hire already motivated people and inspire them.” Simon Sinek

Blog Tip #33 – By getting a good understanding of these terms, you’ll be able to assess for yourself who you follow and who you don’t. Whose advice or critiques you should value and whose you should completely disregard. Whose opinions you should take on board and whose you shouldn’t. Had I had this advice 10 years ago I would’ve known whose opinions to take seriously and whose to completely disregard. And the outcome would’ve been avoiding a lot of moments of stress and self-doubt that happened simply because I was unable to determine who was worth listening to and who wasn’t.

What did you think about blog post #33?

Is there anything else that you’d add to the list?

What’s been your experience with what I’ve mentioned above?

Tell me about it by leaving a comment below.

If you have any friends or colleagues that would benefit from this blog post – please share it!

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Talk to you soon.


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