When it comes to the workplace, often times the goals is working hard to get ahead. Sure, that may require some socializing with colleagues, peers and upper management, but there’s a time and a place for certain discussions. And certainly, there are things to never say at work. When awkward or tough discussions come up, it can be hard to respond “politically correct”, even when that is the intention.
According to Harvard Business Review, a recent survey of nearly 1100 individuals found that about 65% of workers want to make the other person feel comfortable during difficult conversations. To always keep the focus on your wonderful work performance and stay out of difficult discussions, the CGS Team is sharing 9 things to avoid saying while on the clock.
These are 9 things to never say at work…
#1 “I’m sorry, but…”
It can be a natural defense mechanism for us to apologize for something and quickly give an excuse as to why we did what we did. However, giving an excuse immediately after an apology doesn’t make the person you are apologizing to feel confident that you truly are sorry. Instead of an apology followed by an excuse, next time try an apology followed by a promise to do better.
#2 “That’s not my problem”
When you’re overworked or juggling a lot of different projects, one more thing could cause your emotions to come crashing down. Avoid looking like you aren’t a team player by offering some form of assistance. If you truly can’t help or provide guidance, can you lead the requestor to someone who can?
#3 “I may be wrong, but…”
Why would you want to start any discussion with how you could be incorrect? Doing so shows a lack of self-confidence in your abilities to produce or solve problems. Even if your idea isn’t the one that is used in the end, put it into the corporate universe with confidence.
#4 “I haven’t had any time”
We all have the same hours in a day as Beyoncé! Whether that is or isn’t enough for you to get your deadlines done, it’s not an excuse. If you are running behind on a certain project, approach your boss with a timeframe when it will be completed. Instead of focusing on why the project isn’t completed yet, focus on when it will be.
#5 “That doesn’t make sense”
If one of your peers is trying to explain something to you and you aren’t comprehending, instead of discrediting their explanation, ask if they can rephrase it for you. If your peer is explaining why something should be done a certain way and you don’t agree, ask if they can give a few reasons why their route is the better option.
#6 “We’ve always done it that way”
Change and innovation happens in every aspect of life, including work. Most people are scared of change and their response reflects that fear. Instead of appearing like you aren’t adaptable to change or downright inflexible, be open to change. Ask how this change can or will make processes better moving forward. You are always open to improvement!
#7 “I just assumed”
You know what they say about people who assume! If you aren’t clear on something, or you want to make sure you understand what is required of you, don’t be afraid to ask. Assuming you know something could lead to mistakes that could have easily been avoided with proper communication.
#8 “You should have”
When you’re frustrated with a teammate or subordinate, it’s easy to point out what they should have done. Blaming and pointing out someone’s faults is not a constructive way to communicate. Would you talk to the CEO like that? Treat everyone with respect and provide recommendations on how they can improve for next time.
#9 “There’s nothing I can do”
You never want to be the person that can’t help, regardless if you actually can or not. Even if it requires you to do more work than necessary or reach out to different people, exhaust all opportunities to fulfill a request.
Being personable, positive and working hard can help you grow in life and in your career. Keep negative phrases away from your workplace vocabulary and opt for positive alternatives. You want to be the team player, not the lone ranger! Have you ever used any of the phrases above at work? Has anyone ever used them when talking to you? If so, how did the experience affect you? Leave a comment below to share some of your workplace blunders!