Let’s talk about those managers! Do you know the type I’m talking about? The ones who have a knack for climbing up on their high horses while making you feel oh-so-small and unimportant?
Nobody on earth appreciates a condescending manager or a teammate. Did you ever take a minute to evaluate your own behavior? What if you yourself are coming off as that patronizing person in your team? Even worse, what if—gasp!—you don’t even realize you’re doing it?
Being humans, it’s likely for us to unintentionally slide into some arrogant and superior habits every now and then. I’ve listed down a few symptoms that could help evaluate your behavior with your teammates.
You Aren’t Choosing Your Words Carefully
Are you making excessive use of words like “don’t”, “can’t”, “do it!” etc. in your communications with coworkers? If yes then you may unintentionally be acting like a condescending manager. The words you speak are the reflection of your character. According to Jeff Boss of Forbes, The words you choose and how you employ them determine how you’re received—positively, negatively, influentially. This has powerful implications for not only leaders, but for everyone. Replace the sentence “you can’t hit these numbers without…” with “we can hit these numbers if we…”, here we have replaced “you” with “we” and “can’t” with “can”. Similarly replacing “I think” with “I believe”, would transfuse energy and positivity in your teammates instead of demotivating them and would make sure that your message lands on the right runway.
You’re Always Putting Yourself First
Whether it is about being rewarded for the hard work and achievements or about being considered for an increment or promotion, you are always putting your personal career goals and interests first, instead of your team. Or you head out for a long lunch even though you know the rest of your team is scrambling to finish up a project; in any case, these signs are not positive. Although taking a long break off work can become essential for you at times, there’s always a thin line between managing your own needs and not caring for your teammates’ problems. Passing credit to your teammates for all their efforts, fighting with the top management for their rights and caring for their needs is what a great manager would do. Besides, good managers don’t blame the team for shortfalls but accept the responsibility for all the shortcomings.
You’re Always Equating Your Experiences
Whenever your colleagues vent to you about a frustration or a problem, you think the best way to be supportive is to talk about your own experience that you deem similar. But guess what? It is good to demonstrate empathy but attempting to equate your own experiences especially when they are not relevant to your teammates’ situation – would definitely come off as condescending.
On the other hand, responding to them with a relieved, “I’m so glad I’ve never had to deal with that…” or “That never happened to me…” isn’t helpful either.
The right approach is to focus on listening to their issues and offering help in any way that you can. This would motivate and satisfy your teammates.
You’re Being a Conversation Hog
If you really pride yourself on your ability to maintain a lively discussion with anyone in your office, make sure that you are not being a conversation hog. Ask yourself a question, “Am I giving my colleagues adequate space and time to speak?” If you’re not letting other people chime in, whether in an office meeting or in an informal discussion at workplace, you’re sending a message that you deem whatever you have to say as far more important. So, next time you get into a discussion with colleague(s), be sure to make a conscious effort to listen just as much as you speak.
Though nobody would like to be condescending to their teammates, unfortunately, it has a way of happening without you even realizing it. My suggestion is to keep your eyes peeled for the aforementioned symptoms, and you’re sure to decrease your likelihood of inspiring groans from your team members. And, when in doubt? Offer to pay for a round of cold drinks at happy hour—that alone can go a long way.