If you're a leader, the way you talk to your employees can have a significant impact on their attitudes toward the company and on their productivity. Mary Jo Asmus recounts a story from her own life when a CEO threatened the company with layoffs unless productivity improved, which had a major negative effect on morale. "The problem was that the CEO's speech never once made anyone feel inspired or motivated to work harder." The speech would have been more effective if the CEO had thanked the employees for the work they had already done and indicated that he would hold discussions about how to boost productivity, she writes.

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