When it comes to communicating with employees, don’t take shortcuts. Be polite.

“When we put aside courtesy for expedience, it may be received as off-putting by others,” says Gregorio Billikopf, a labor management farm advisor with the University of California. “We create hurt feelings and end up having to apologize or defend our behavior.”

All of this takes considerably more time than effective, polite communication. And even if you do apologize, the damage is seldom completely undone.

"We often transmit impatience, sarcasm, annoyance, or judgmental feelings unawares,” Billikopf says. “These may be conveyed by our word choice, intonation, facial expressions, body language, as well as by speaking quickly or raising our voices — even a little.”

The next time you feel inclined to take a communication shortcut, try being especially solicitous and careful, and don’t forget to speak softly and slowly.

You can pay now -- that is, take the time now -- or pay later. “But remember, when we choose to pay later, we will pay with interest,” Billikopf says.