I am the manager of a small team of programmers. I usually have a hands-on approach. I tell, they do. Often there are problems and I have to fix things they can't handle or I have to tell the higher-ups that there are delays and so on...
Because of this I am sometimes a bit angry. I don't scream at them as other people may do but I sometimes curse but in a clearly joking way.
Ey egghead nice work. The interface has an error in Menu 3b. Fix that!
Or after a long meeting with my higher-ups where they conveyed that they are not satisfied with the progress a of a project, I go down and tell 'em:
Alright nerds, I talked with the big boss and everyone but Dave is fired.
(Short confused gazes..)
Just kidding but we should finish in 2 weeks max.
Yesterday my boss told me that he heard complaints about my approach to work. He absolutely stands behind me as he loves my "Just do it"-attitude but I think my cellar-nerds misunderstand me. I don't want to hurt them but they often mess things up. And I could make boring long speeches about how they all suck but that's not my style. I make a short joke and everything's back to normal for me. No hard feelings, just a joke. But they seem to take everything personally and frankly I don't want to sugarcoat everything, we are adults not kindergarten children.
How can I tell them that I'm just joking and don't mean to insult them?