What employees really want to say to the boss

Small talk is fine, but it’s just that—small. Bigger issues such as trust, respect, and productivity are far more important to your staff.

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We all filter what we say, especially when we communicate with people above us in the professional food chain. (Show me an employee who tells her boss everything she’s thinking, and I’ll show you an employee soon to be unemployed.)

At times verbal restraint is a good thing, but when employees hesitate to speak it can keep their bosses from understanding what they really think—and, more important, what they really need.

Here are a few things most employees are thinking but will never say—not the stuff that might feel good but wouldn’t be constructive, but things with lasting impact:

“Give me an important task, and I’ll know you respect me.” Assigning a crucial task is a definite sign of respect. The more important the project-and the bigger the impact if the project succeeds or fails-the greater the respect shown the employee.

But why stop there?

“Give me an important task—and let me figure out how to do it—and I know you trust me.” For a leader it seems natural to tell employees how to carry out a particular task. After all, you know what needs to be accomplished and you have definite ideas regarding how.

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