Superior-subordinate: Words to avoid

superiorThe other day, I heard someone say, “I will check with my superior and let you know”. By superior, he meant boss.

At times, team members are referred to as “subordinate”

Aren’t these words – superior and subordinate – undermining equality; laced with assumption that manager is inherently better than the employee.

Does being higher up in hierarchy necessarily make someone better? A manager will surely be better than the employee in some ways. But, is it fair to assume that a manager would be better in every way?

Many a times, a team member complements his or her manager; brings certain capabilities that the manager doesn’t have.

I wonder if these words ‘superior-subordinate’ play a role in

  • Making the managers believe that they need to have answers to all questions, solutions to all problems
  • Influencing the managers’ inability to openly listen to team members’ views and ideas, especially contrary
  • Managers’ inability to accept constructive feedback from team members
  • Negatively impacting the managers’ ability to empower teams
  • Managers’ discomfort in working with exceptionally bright team members

There is a saying, “Watch your words, they become actions”.

Does it apply to words like “superior-subordinate”? I believe they do. What say?

2 thoughts on “Superior-subordinate: Words to avoid

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