Among the most powerful tools in an employer’s toolbox are your words. Everything you say to your food truck employees matters. The words you use when you speak to employees have the power to affect not only your employees’ day but also how they feel when they leave the truck. Some words can even affect people’s careers, not just their day. Think twice before you speak, because your words can plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of your staff.

Most food truck owners don’t set out to be careless with the words they use, but discouraging comments can slip out in the heat of the moment. Here are three tips to help you boost your awareness of statements that can unintentionally ruin your relation with your employees.

3 Ways Not To Speak To Employees

Don’t Disparage People

As most food truck vendors can attest, civility is often thrown out the service window when stress builds up inside the truck. Your frustrations with a new employee can lead to an owner making disparaging comments, such as, “Is this what they taught you in culinary school?” or “How many times do I have to show you how to do this right?” When one of your food truck employees makes a mistake, catch yourself if you’re in the habit of blurting out belittling statements that diminish your staff.

Avoid Employee Comparisons

Never pit one employee against another. Statements such as “You don’t know how to prep the truck. You should watch Stephanie” are meant to help. Instead, the comparison risks generating negative emotions, such as envy, shame and resentment. Comparisons can also lead an employee to lose confidence in accomplishing the tasks you need them to do.

Don’t Pull Rank

Because of the power you hold as the owner of your food truck business, the gentler your approach should be. Reminding your food truck staff members that you can fire them is a surefire way to demoralize them. Comments such as “I can easily replace you” or “I’m the one in charge here. Don’t you ever forget that” have no place in a food truck owner’s vocabulary. “Because I said so” and “I don’t pay you to think” are other ways to anger your employees and start resentment where it may not be.

Ultimately, as a food truck owner, you’re evaluated on how you interact with your staff members and customers. A key to shining a good light on this responsibility is choosing your words wisely.

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The Bottom Line

While this article has focused on food truck ownership, for those of you that don’t work inside your food truck business, you’re responsible for how your managers treat your employees. If your managers are making demoralizing comments to the rest of the staff, this will not only harm their respect, but yours as well.

Demoralizing comments erode the self-confidence an employee needs to tackle the tasks they are responsible for. They can also take away an employee’s desire to give you their best effort. They can even cause your best employees to leave. It pays to be mindful of the words you use when speaking with your staff members. It’s also the right thing to do.

Do you have any additional examples of ways not to speak to employees? Share your thoughts on this topic in the comment section below or on social media. Facebook | Twitter