Promote good work relationships by never saying these things

Do not raise issues at work unless you can offer or at least suggest a solution

Good morale among employees is thought to be a major contributor to workplace productivity, with staff who can get on in a positive working environment more likely to collaborate well and have higher levels of self-esteem and work satisfaction.

Good morale can also reduce absences and it is therefore beneficial for both staff and management to work hard to promote healthy, happy relationships between co-workers. Let’s look at the things you should think twice about saying to your colleagues if you want to create workplace harmony.


Being direct is important at work; however, using negative, non-negotiable words such as ‘no’ too much can stir up resentment and feelings of unappreciation. Give your colleagues or staff the chance to explain their requests or opinions fully before giving them a definite ‘no’.

Calm down

The workplace can be a stressful environment and it can be easy to encourage a colleague to calm down when deadlines are looming or conflicts arise. While this may be meant in a supportive and well-meaning manner, it can come across as patronising and demoralising to the individual. Being told to calm down can demean their feelings; instead, encourage them to air their concerns in a private place away from other staff and then work together to find a solution to whatever is bothering them.


Avoid talking in extreme terms where possible. Words such as ‘always’ and ‘never’ can lead to miscommunication in the workplace, should they be taken too literally. Although over-embellishment can occur in everyday conversation, keep things realistic where possible – you do not want to be the cause of confusion in the office.

Personal issues

Studies show that 16 per cent of people meet their future spouse at work. Spending so much time with co-workers means that relationships and friendships are likely to develop and, in some cases, flourish; however, this does not mean that it is always appropriate to share everything from your personal life.

Be wary about asking co-workers about their relationship status, their income, or whether they have children. Sometimes these can be highly personal and sensitive subjects that people may not feel comfortable discussing, particularly in the workplace. As a rule of thumb, keep things professional unless a co-worker decides to open up to you.

Now what?

Do not raise issues at work unless you can offer or at least suggest a solution. Doing so promotes a blame culture that can be hugely detrimental to staff morale and relationships.

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The British Institute of Recruiters is the Professional Body operating The Recruitment Certification Scheme

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