1. "I'm paying you a competitive salary."--Unless your employees are stupid, the first thing they'll do after this statement is hop on the Web and research average salary levels and find out what people in their position generally get paid. If it's less than they're making, they'll assume that the boss is lying or uninformed.
2. "My job is to make you more successful."--It's always a mistake to set expectations for which you can't really deliver. If you're more concerned with your own advancement instead of being a service to your employees, you'll create resentment when your actions don't match your words.
3. "We're all one big, happy family."--This can only be true if you yourself came from a happy family and everyone else came from a similar happy family. Chances are that some of your employees come from dysfunctional families and the last thing you want is for them to bring their family dynamics into the workplace.
4. "We are following a five-year plan."—Bosses need to take a look at their five-year plan from a couple of years ago. Then take a good long look at how they and their organization really make decisions and prioritize activities. It's more like a three- to 18-month window.
5. "My brother-in-law was the best person for that job."--Everybody, including the brother-in-law, knows he got that position because he's the boss' brother-in-law. Trying to sugarcoat it like some kind of planned business strategy is embarrassing to everyone involved.
6. "This is a 9-to-5, salaried job."--In today's business world, there isn't such a thing as a 40-hour workweek for salaried employees. Unpaid overtime has become the norm inside most companies.
7. "There's no truth to those layoff rumors."—Pretty much all but the most naive workers know that no layoff rumor is true until it has been officially denied.
8. "Employees are our most valuable asset."--Most employees are intelligent enough to realize that most companies have plenty of assets that they value more than their employees. This convinces them you can't be trusted to tell them the real truth.
9. "Your participation is entirely voluntary."—It's fine to say this if it's really true, but most of the time what a boss really means is that participation is somewhere between "highly encouraged" and "absolutely mandatory."
10. "I will divorce my wife and marry you."--A recent study of successful men who have affairs found that only 3 percent divorce their wives and marry their girlfriends. Given that office affairs involving the boss are a huge distraction, why make the problem worse with a line of BS?