I’ve worked for a lot of jack-holes who have said some pretty crazy stuff. I’m sure you have as well. I asked some of my friends to submit the worst things they’ve heard from leaders. Here are the top 23 with my comments after (the “What in Tarnation” is for my daughter, Abby….she loves that phrase).
1. Never trust that workers have done what they were supposed to do. You always have to check.
WHAT IN TARNATION!? Surely if they were good enough to make a part of the team, they’re good enough to be left alone and do the job.
2. The employees don’t need to be appreciated. Their paycheck is their appreciation.
WHAT IN TARNATION!? A simple thanks goes a long way and DOESN’T cost anything.
3. Just always remember: your team works for you.
WHAT IN TARNATION? I think the reverse is true. YOU, as leader, work for your team!
4. You’ll never amount to anything.
WHAT IN TARNATION!? Although this may SEEM true, all anyone needs is one person to believe in them. Be that one person and give them a chance to shine!
5. We do not have a communication problem, You have a communication problem.
WHAT IN TARNATION!? Communication takes two (or more) parties. My problem is YOUR problem!
6. My way or the highway.
WHAT IN TARNATION!? The road to hell is paved with good intentions and I think this is the highway they’re talking about.
7. Do it because I said so.
WHAT IN TARNATION!? I wouldn’t follow my friends if they were going to jump off a bridge and I’m not going to follow you “just because”.
8. You worry way to much! Relax, things will work out.
WHAT IN TARNATION!? I think these were the last words spoken by the crew of the Titanic.
9. You are a perfect example of the Peter Principle.
WHAT IN TARNATION!? If that means I’m awesome then, yes, I am!
10. Its only gotta last until I’m gone.
WHAT IN TARNATION!? So then it will be like a poltergeist that visits me from beyond the grave? I don’t think so!
11. Choose a veneer to represent your personality to others
WHAT IN TARNATION!? This isn’t Halloween and I don’t see a bag of treats….AUTHENTICITY COUNTS!
12. I don’t care if your dad dies during this operation, you better !x#/x$@ be here on Monday.
WHAT IN TARNATION!? If you don’t care about that then maybe you won’t care if I date your wife (as long as I’m back on Monday).
13. It is what it is.
WHAT IN TARNATION!? It isn’t what it isn’t too, right? This might have been what Custer said at Little Big Horn….
14. You work until *I* tell you to go home. It’s not my problem if you haven’t made plans for your kids. If you leave before I tell you, you’re fired!
WHAT IN TARNATION!? Fire me! I’d rather be with them anyway (except if they’re middle-schoolers…then I’ll gladly stay)!
15. Get in the line for the bar. That’s where you’ll meet sales prospects. When you get your drink, dump it in a plant and get back in line
WHAT IN TARNATION!? There’s NO WAY I’m abusing alcohol like that!
16. We do it this way because we’ve always done it this way.
WHAT IN TARNATION!? These are the last words of an organization that wants to die.
17. Follow me!!! Because I out rank you!!!
WHAT IN TARNATION!? Rank may have it’s privileges, but this is not one of them.
18. It’s not your fault, but we’re blaming you.
WHAT IN TARNATION!? You can point at me with one finger but there’s more pointing back at you!
19. Don’t smile till Christmas.
WHAT IN TARNATION!? What a cheap Christmas present! Smiles are FREE!
20. I demand your respect!
WHAT IN TARNATION!? I demand world peace! (How’s that working?)
21. Deny, deny, deny. Never admit when you’re wrong, it shows weakness.
WHAT IN TARNATION!? If that’s the case, I choose to look weak!
22. Don’t worry about it. The issue will resolve itself.
WHAT IN TARNATION!? Again, I think this was spoken by the crew of the Titanic.
23. Everything is a draft, so don’t spend time making sure it works or looks good, it’s a draft after all.
WHAT IN TARNATION!? Is the same true for dressing for a date? Then COUNT ME IN!
Context is everything. In any conversation, you have what’s said, what’s heard, and what’s meant…they are RARELY the same thing. These phrases are things you might have said, heard or meant…regardless, be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger. As leader, it rests on you.
What’s the weirdest (or craziest) thing you’ve heard from a leader? SHOUT IT OUT! I’d love to learn from you!