Are you one of those who just can’t hold their tongue to one’s teeth and you must give a comment or remark about everything in any situation? Well you shouldn’t be.
Because there are some words and phrases, which although true, can make you look very bad in front of your boss or colleagues.
It’s not about making mistakes or off-colour jokes, it’s about the subtle remarks.
We may not pay attention to them, but some of those phrases are filled with negative implication which can change the way people look at you.
- “That’s not fair”
Life is hard and probably you are thinking that many things are not fair. Put actually saying that out loud, especially in the office, will make you look as immature and naïve person for expecting everything to be fair.
To avoid looking bad, you need to stick to the facts, be constructive and don’t use interpretation. For example, if your boss assigned the project you were hoping to get to someone else, instead of saying “It’s not fair”, say that you’d like to know what you did wrong and what can you do in order to improve your skills for future projects.
- “This is how things have always been done”
Everything is changing in the blink of an eye so any method or technology can be considered out of date even after a year or two.
So, when you use the phrase “This is how things have always been done” you give an impression of a lazy person who is resistant to change. Your boss will wonder why you wouldn’t make an effort to do things differently because there’s always a better way.
If a friend or a colleague asks a favour from you and they say thank you for it, don’t answer with the phrase “no problem” because it’ll sound like the request should have been a problem, and you’ve been imposed with the favour.
Instead use phrases like “I’ll be happy to do it” or “It was my pleasure” since they will leave a positive impact on people.
- “I think …/This may be a silly idea …/I’m going to ask a stupid question”
Never start your sentences with one of these phrases because you’ll give an impression of insecure person who lacks confidence.
Don’t criticize yourself because if you aren’t confident about the things you say and do how do you expect others to be. But if you really don’t have certain information, say that you’ll find out about it and get back with an update.
- “This will only take a minute”
When you say that the task can be completed in a minute it looks like you will just rush through it. Your boss will think that you undermine your obligations and consider you as unserious worker.
Unless is a task which literally can be done in a minute, use the phrase “it won’t be long”.
- “I’ll try”
When you are assigned with a task you shouldn’t say that you’ll try to complete it because that way you look insecure in your abilities. Either accept the task and give your best to it or offer another alternative, but never say “I’ll try” because your boss will think that you won’t give your maximum.
Negative comments about other colleagues are a big no. If someone in the office is lazy, a jerk or isn’t doing his job well, other colleagues have noticed that too, so there’s no need for you to point that out.
Plus, there’s always a chance that you are wrong and in the end you’ll end up being a jerk, because hiding behind someone else’s incompetence will make you look insecure about your working skills.
So, unless you have the power to fire that person or help them to become better, keep your thoughts to yourself.
- That’s not in my job description”
If you use this phrase when your boss asks you to do something, you sound like you aren’t willing to take up some new responsibilities.
It will give the impression that you’re in the office only to do the bare minimum expected from you to keep getting paid, which looks bad, especially if you expect security in the workplace.
Next time your boss assigns you to do something that seems inappropriate for your position (of course that rules out something morally and ethically inappropriate) do it happily.
Later, talk with your boss whether there’s a chance for an update in your job description. This way you and your boss will develop a long-term understanding of which are and which aren’t your responsibilities according to your job description.
- “It’s not my fault”
Putting the blame on someone else is never a good idea. If you were a part of the thing which went wrong, no matter how small your part was, own up to it. If you weren’t a part of that, give your dispassionate explanation about what happened, stick to the facts, and let your boss or colleagues decide who’s to blame.
Because the moment you put the blame on someone is the moment your colleagues stat seeing you as someone who can’t own up to their responsibilities. This will make people lose trust in you. Some will avoid working with you, while others will put the blame on you for the first next thing that goes wrong.
- “I can’t”
When you say “I can’t” your boss will get the impression that you won’t. Even if you really don’t know how to do the task, your boss will think that you wouldn’t put an effort and consider you as a lazy person.
Instead, when you think you are lacking the skills to do something you were assigned to, ask someone to help you and show you how, so you could do it on your own.
- “I hate this job”
The worst thing is to hate the job that you do, let alone say that out loud. Negative feelings bring down the morale of the whole team, and bosses are quick to spot those who do that.
So, love your job and be happy to do it because there are always enthusiastic replacements waiting just around the corner.
To sum up
It may take some time to eliminate all these phrases from your vocabulary but once you do you’ll be a much better colleague and an employee. Be sure that those around you will notice that and you’ll get your reward for it.