Management talk or ‘jargon’ is rife within working environments and many managers who use it think it promotes a professional image. However, around 37 percent of employees mistrust management talk and claim it puts up barriers between managers and the workforce.

Why Managers Use Management Talk

Everyone is guilty of using jargon at some point or other business jargon seems to becoming increasingly popular. For some, management talk has become second nature especially when business meetings take place. Some managers use recently learned business phrases pick up on training courses or through business magazines. In a number of cases it is language picked up in business meetings from other colleagues. The latest buzz words are designed to make managers appear more dynamci and knowledgable when in fact they have the opposite effect.

Employees Mistrust Management Talk

We found that management talk is widely loathed by employees. Research indicates that employees who cannot understand business jargon feel alienated and that this type of vocabulary widens the gulf between managers and employees. Employess claim that it also breeds mistrust in the office and that some managers simply hide behind jargon when they do not know the solution to a problem. Other employees are simply baffled by it and claim that management talk leads to confusion about tasks and duties within their job roles.

Managers and Exclusive Vocabulary

For a number of managers, especially senior managers, the use of management talk is used to promote exclusivity. It is a way of informing employees that the manager knows what they are talking about and has the inside track on the latest business techniques. In terms of communicating ideas and business strategies it is a bad business tool that simply alienates workers. There is absolutely nothing wrong with specialized language and terminology, but if employees come out of a meeting scratching their heads then it is an ineffective way to communicate.

The Biggest Management Talk Culprits

Every organization and company has them; managers and specific department employees who thrive on management talk and jargon. At the top of the lsit is the human resources (HR) department formerly known as the personnel department. But nonsensical business language is not just specific to the HR department. Senior managers are also guilty, especially those who work within large companies. Another guilty department would be the sales and marketing team. The information technology department (IT) at least have an excuse for using terminology that no one other than themselves can understand.

Most Loathed Management Jargon

New business buzz words appear in the workplace on an almost daily basis. Some can be self-explanatory but others can sound like a foreign language leaving employees scouring the internet for a meaning. Some of the most loathed management phrases include:

  • Blue sky thing – to come up with ideas
  • Thinking outside the box – thinking unconventionally
  • Singing from the same hymn sheet – similar thinking
  • Helicopter view – taking an overview
  • Rightsizing – trimming the workforce to fit the workplace
  • Get our ducks in a row – to get everyone organized
  • Outside lane – to push a project forward in a hurry
  • Looking under the bonnet- analyizing a situation

Advantages of Management Talk

There can be advantages to management talk as long as everyone is ‘on the same page’ and  ‘in the loop’. For managers and employees who actually understand business jargon it can speed up communication. If everyone is aware of the meaning of the management jargon that is used then it can effectively be used to communicate task and objectives. Problems can arise if even one or two people are unaware of this type of language, especially with new recruits to a company.

Getting Rid of Management Talk

There are still managers who communicate their ideas in plain easy to understand vocabulary that employees and the public favor. In fact the Local Government Association (LGA) is advising managers and employees at councils to stop using management talk. The LGA have created a list of 200 business jargon words that should be cut out in order to avoid confusion. The LGA claim the public sector is notorious for hiding behind incomprehensible business jargon that infuriates members of the public.

Management talk does have some big advantages when it comes to employees and trust. Employees d prefer straight talking, easy to understand vocabulary in order to avoid confusion. For some employees management talk is simply a mask to cover up a lack of knowledge. As one employee said, “If a manager can’t be understood then they can’t be criticized if they are giving wrong information.”