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Five Management Cliches to Avoid

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 15 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Clichés Managers Business Management

The definition of a cliché is a saying or an expression or an idea that has been overused so much it has become stale or lost any impact. Clichés lack originality, and management clichés can have employees rolling their eyes and losing faith as yet another unoriginal idea is put forward in the workplace.

Fighting Against Management Clichés

It can sometimes be hard not to use clichés in the workplace. Coming out with unoriginal ideas or lazily slipping business jargon into sales meetings can become second nature in the day to day running of an office. Savvy employees will spot a manager who is simply going through the motions, repeating the same tired business phrases or using old ideas that have been beaten into the ground in order to drum up business. No one can be original on a daily basis but avoiding office clichés can at least give managers a fighting chance of staying relevant in the workplace and keeping the respect of employees.

Avoid Business Jargon

Loathed by employees but second nature to some managers is the use of nonsensical business talk or jargon. Jargon is used by many managers as either a cover for a lack of knowledge or to show that they are on the cutting edge of new business techniques. Some managers can get through entire sales meetings or presentations repeatedly using business phrases that leave employees completely confused. Business terminology does have its place but if employees or customers cannot understand the language used then it is pointless. Speak in plain, easy to understand language unless everyone is “up to speed” with the business terminology.

Clichés Designed to Boost Employee Morale

Employee’s spirits are flagging and management are looking for new ways to bring morale up. Some managers will actually think that having a dress down Friday will be enough to boost staff morale. Employees will simply greet this idea as unoriginal and not a long term solution. Managers should actually listen to their staff and take their ideas on board. In most cases the employees are the ones who can bring new ideas, so let the staff make some suggestions. The simple act of listening to employees is a start in itself towards boosting staff morale.

Managers Should Mean What They Say

Every new employee will meet the manager who spouts the same worn speech during the first day at the office. Phrases such as ‘we are one big happy family here’ can be comforting but are rarely true. Nine times out of ten employees will soon find out that when it comes to business the customers are the family and the employee is a second cousin, twice removed. These types of clichéd sayings do not leave employees feeling overly confident about the management. Good managers will tell it like is and leave the empty workplace promises behind.

Beating a Business Idea into the Ground

You have used this idea once, twice, and then tried it again and it has still failed to drum up little or no new business. But with lack of any other ideas why not try it again and keep your fingers crossed as employees become more and more frustrated. The way to combat clichéd business methods is to come up with some original ideas. Again, communicate with the workforce; ask them to come up with some ideas, use incentives if necessary. Hire a business consultant on a short term basis who can bring a fresh pair of eyes and some new business ideas into the workplace.

Don’t Be That Type of Manager

The worst type of management cliché can in fact be the manager’s business personality. Certain managers have a business persona so far removed from the person they are outside of the workplace that they would be unrecognisable to their closest relatives. Once they step over the office door it’s suddenly business, business, business. This can have its advantages but it can risk turning the manager into a management stereotype. Managers who bring at least a smidgen of their own personality into the workplace and do not hide behind a contrived image will usually gain a lot of respect from employees.

Not all business clichés are bad; sometimes what seems like a cliché is actually a tried and tested business method that brings positive results. However, a manager who regurgitates unproductive business ideas or spouts clichéd management talk can be in danger of becoming a walking, talking business cliché. This is the quickest way to lose the respect of employees, and worse, to become irrelevant in the workplace.

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