Managers should always set professional boundaries with employees. Failure to do so can result in uncomfortable situations when it comes to establishing leadership.

To draw a clear line where managers should not cross, here are six questions to avoid asking employees, detailed by StaffScapes, a top Colorado PEO.

Can you work over 40 hours this week?

Businesses such as accounting firms have busy seasons that almost always require overtime commitment. However, if seasonal or deadline expectations are unclear, a manager should never ask an employee to continuously work more hours than the original amount established upon hire.

Alternative solutions for teams working crazy hours week after week include alternating priorities or requesting a new hire to help lighten the workload.

I know you’re sick, but can you come in for work today?

Managers should also never ask employees to work while they are sick. Allow for recovery to take place to avoid getting the entire office ill. The last thing a manager should be doing is putting an employee’s health, and the health of other coworkers, at risk for company gain.

Can you keep in touch during your vacation?

Controlling managers often feel the need to establish a presence and dominance in all areas of an employee’s life, even outside of the office. This characteristic usually blossoms from power-hungry individuals in leadership positions. These individuals believe that as long as they pay people for their employment, employees belong to them.

In situations such as this, employees are forced to set boundaries for themselves to ensure their freedom outside of work. Create a form highlighting current work updates before leaving for vacation to avoid emails and calls.

Can you investigate what is going on with your teammate?

If an employee’s work ethic is declining, the last thing a manager should do is involve another employee, or worse, ask one to perform an investigation. Such involvement is disrespectful, a betrayal of trust, and exploitation of employee privacy.

The appropriate way to handle the situation is to schedule a one-on-one meeting revolving around performance evaluation. A personal meeting protects employees when they would rather keep their personal life private.

Can you forge a signature on this document?

For legal and ethical reasons, an employee should answer this question with a “no.” Believe it or not, this scenario occurs more often than it should.

Managers who ask employees this question will lose respect as a leader. No matter what, a good manager always delivers honesty and would never put an employee in such a predicament.

Can you clock out before wrapping up?

This question might seem harmless to some, but it is an illegal request. Some managers undergo penalization for allowing overtime because of established payroll targets. Encouraging employees to work off the clock to avoid punishment is not only wrong but is also a fast track to creating a bitter employee.

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