Because I'm a decent human being (most of the time), I reached out to Patrick Alain, the French-born author of "The Manager's Phrase Book." I told him my concerns, and we had a thoughtful conversation in which he said the book grew out of his experience coming to the United States in 2004 and struggling to find the right words in business situations.
He said his previous book — "The Leader Phrase Book" — has sold well in the states and internationally, reflecting the need for such a resource.
"Who would've thought there was such a need?" Alain said. "It sells both in the translated version and its original English version. It shows there is a market for people who don't know what to say. Many of the readers are shy. It doesn't come naturally for them. There are also many people that are not very creative, people who are very introverted or reserved."
I could argue that those people might be better off if they weren't in management positions, but I suppose that's splitting hairs.
I understand Alain's intentions and certainly credit him with filling a void.
But I'd love to see managers spend less time looking for the right thing to say and more time saying what they think is right.
Samples from "The Manager's Phrase Book"
When an employee wants time off: "I don't see any problem with that."
When an employee is burned out: "I see some symptoms of burnout here; I sure hope I'm wrong."
How to close a meeting: "Alrighty, let's get out of here!"
When you need to instill calm: "Everybody here needs to take a chill pill."
How to say no to a superior: "No."
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