One of the most dreadful sentences at work: “We need to talk.”
A manager comes to his engineer’s desk and says in hurry: “We need to talk.”
Engineer in fearful voice and distressed look: “Now?”
Manager: “Tomorrow as I have to run.”
The manager leaves and the engineer is in complete puzzle. He’s now wondering if there’s any serious problem he’s got involved with. His co-workers who overheard the sentence come over asking if there’s any problem. They start sharing how stressful it was for them to hear the boss getting mad in one-on-one.
The engineer comes home losing sleep. He can’t even finish his meal worrying what’s going to happen when his boss talks to him.
The morning comes. The tired and stressful engineer meets the boss.
Manager: “The project you worked on last month got selected for the presidential award. I want to talk to you about the upcoming promotion.”
The engineer is shocked. He collapses and is sent to hospital in an ambulance.
The manager is investigated. It turns out that he has a habit of saying “we need to talk” to express his power. Often times, “we need to talk” resulted in serious talks with his engineers leaving the talk crying.
The manager is fired even though he’s a very competent guy.
If you are a manager, respect your people. Treat them the same way you want to be treated. Keep in mind that the meaning of your communication is in the other person’s mind, not yours.