Talk About Corporate: How to Talk Like a Leader and Not a Boss

Disclaimer: This is probably the first time I’d be writing a ‘disclaimer’ in a blog post I’m publishing over here at It’s a Writer’s World. And yeah, this is not something I’m currently struggling with.  I just can’t help but remember my previous families. And yes, I consider them all my family ‘cause at the end of the day I’ve loved them and grown with them, regardless of how douchey some of them have been (especially you…you ***t).

If you’ve been employed in an office (local or global), I’m pretty sure you’ve dealt with office drama and breach of professionalism a couple of times. I’m fairly young in the worker man’s world (currently on my 5th year) and I’ve gone through discussions with co-employees, bosses, managers, supervisors and even CEO’s. If I’ll be a hands-on worker, I probably would be the leader of the ‘Union’ (Unyon). LOL! I tend to speak my mind whenever I see something is wrong, I’ve been erroneously accused of something that would stain my records or I’ve come across a better strategy to ease our process. But wait a second, I’m not what you’re currently thinking! I don’t just jump out of my seat with an axe and ranting on people. Well, maybe with closest friends I am an Amazon warrior. But when it comes to discussing things with my boss, I formally address it. I do remember one time a CEO commended me for having a ‘mature/professional’ approach on said case (which, by the way was proven, I was not the culprit). Hence, it would take a lot before you push me to the edge though.

Well, enough of myself. Office drama (as what I always label it) can be really stressful if you don’t really know how to handle it. You can get into heated arguments with your co-workers and leave a bad taste in their mouth even after months and months passed said incident. Especially if you got into a discussion with your immediate supervisor, usually, these CEO go-to-persons are the ones who have the GUTS to strangle the front liners and whip them hard for any error they commit. Without the right attitude, the tiger roars from with these people and they.. well, can piss you off and push you to the edge. And they won’t really care if you resign. Sad.

boss vs leader

This is a popular meme I’ve been seeing around in Facebook for a year—the difference between a leader and a boss. And it’s a powerful message to pass around. Respect is EARNED and not gained by default.

Here’s something occurring more frequently: have you ever thought that you’re being a ‘leader’ and working hard to get everything under control to satisfy the fancies of the bosses but it seems like your co-workers think otherwise? There are two ways to look at this obviously. A – It’s either you have super slack off employees or B – You’re not using the right words to deliver your message across.

I’ve been listening to a podcast prior to writing this article and maybe it’s the reason why I’ve become so inspired in writing this post. I cannot quote the hosts verbatim but here’s the gist: It’s all in the delivery. There is a way you can get your desired results/action by choosing the right words.

Example, you wanted to clarify a request handed by your boss to one of your subordinates and this is not documented or recorded in the project management system. And at the same time, you’re worried that the regular or ongoing tasks are not being fulfilled.

You don’t go around asking, ‘Why haven’t I seen output on this task yet?’ or ‘Have you been working on this or not?No. No you don’t do that. Instead..

Hi [name]. I’ve been so busy in the past few days and I haven’t updated myself with the tasks assigned to you. Is it okay if you provide me an update especially with this [uncompleted] task? I’ve looked into your files and I haven’t received any output. I’m not sure if I just didn’t receive your email. Please coordinate with me once you received this. Thank you.

The last impression you want to give your subordinate is the snobbish or sarcastic feel. Don’t ever let them feel like they’re being looked down or just because you’re given the title of ‘supervisor’ you can act out as a douche-boss and what not.

If a subordinate of yours emailed or pm’d you with an update, respond and acknowledge. Make sure you reply with words and not just an emoji/emoticon. Regardless of how busy you are, can you please squeeze in a ‘This is noted. Thank you.’ perhaps?

If dealing with a serious offense, sit your employee calmly and in a more private setting. Don’t call them out loudly like, ‘Hey, let’s go to the pantry I need to talk to you.’ You can privately Skype or email them and schedule a meeting. And make sure it’s ahead of time as well. ‘[Name], if you are free at [hour], meet me at the conference room/pantry/in my station. I need to discuss something with you.’

Avoid sounding sarcastic without sounding smart about it. Some supervisors are just plain sarcastic and have zero idea on how they could back up their talk with wit. Remember, if a discussion is inevitable; make sure you keep it as a discussion not an argument. Let the subordinate talk and listen intently to their side.

As they say, a happy employee is a productive employee. Treat them with respect regardless of how lazy or super a**hole they are to you. There are ways to get your desired reactions without sounding too bossy or too pushy. Just a twist of words would help bring out the best in your subordinate. 😉

Happy Productive Monday, y’all!

Maria Espie

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