One wrong word or thoughtless response can ruin a reputation and stick with someone for a long, long time, especially in the work place. We tend to spend more time at work than anywhere else, which is why we usually end up lackadaisical and let our guards down. To avoid any major fails, take my advice and don’t say these eight phrases at work:
“That’s not my job.”
Telling someone “That’s not my job” or “I don’t have time for that” effectively suggests you don’t care and aren’t willing to help. It’s okay if you need to direct someone to a different department or if you have a heavy workload that won’t let you take on anything else, but be careful how you relay that information—and realize it may be you asking for a favor next week.
Threatening or giving anyone in the office an ultimatum rarely ends in success. Whether it’s to a long-time employee or a new intern, be careful with your wording. Making demands can quickly label you as someone who is difficult to work with and not a team player. You may be tempted to look for other job opportunities, but don’t threaten your employer with that information. If you feel that intimidation is the only way to have your voice heard, you may want to re-evaluate your work environment.
“Last night was so crazy.”
Even if you have a casual work environment, keep the weekend party stories to yourself. Overhearing you talk about getting wasted isn’t going to impress your boss. Alternatively, it may make you appear to be irresponsible and careless—especially if you come to work hungover and bored.
“To be honest…”
Beginning a statement with “to be honest” usually relays the message to listeners that something negative is about to be said. It also implies that you know you’re about to be rude, but you don’t care. More importantly, it can lead colleagues to wonder if they should doubt the integrity of other statements that lack the phrase. Without being offensive, learn to communicate what you need to say in a straightforward manner.
“You look tired.”
Show compassion instead of blurting out that someone looks under the weather. There may be a legitimate reason, such as sickness or stress. But it could be that she was running late and didn’t put on any makeup, or he is going through something he doesn’t want to talk about.
“How did they get promoted?”
Office gossip is never a good idea. Nothing can ruin your career faster than a negative, poisonous attitude about your co-workers, boss, or company. Stay away from name calling, like “he’s a jerk” or “she’s lazy.” Not only will it make you seem childish, but it may quickly put your name on the elimination list.
“This may sound stupid, but…”
Prefacing comments or suggestions with discounting phrases such as “I may be wrong, but…” or “this may be a silly idea, but…” diminishes the impact of what you’re about to say. Instead of sounding authoritative and confident, you’re reducing your credibility and your opinion’s value.
Eliminate these phrases from your work vocabulary, and instead speak with certainty and conviction. You won’t sound like a jerk or be thought of as a complete pushover if you politely but clearly communicate your thoughts.
Are there other phrases we should shy away from in the workplace? Tell us in the comments!