Watch your mouth! Things that successful people never say at work

There are some phrases that will affect the way in which people see you and paint you in a negative light

Are you struggling to move your career forward? Forever missing out on that elusive promotion? Then it could be because of the things you say whilst at work.

This is not referring to shocking slips of the tongue, bad jokes or even insults (although these aren’t recommended!), but rather more subtle remarks that you may not even know you’ve been making.

These are what may paint you as incompetent or lacking in confidence, and may damage your career aspirations over time. However good at your job you may be, there are some phrases that will affect the way in which people see you and paint you in a negative light. Let’s take a look at some things that successful people never say at work.

“It’s not fair”

Most people know by the time they start work that life simply isn’t fair. That’s exactly why saying “it’s not fair” on a constant basis is a bad idea. It makes you look immature and a little naïve. If you don’t want to make yourself look bad, it’s a good idea to stick to the facts and stay constructive. For example, if you’ve been passed over for a promotion, enquire as to why this is the case and use the feedback to improve your chances next time around.

“This is the way it has always been done”

Change is forever occurring in the workplace, and this is frequently due to technology. It’s happening so fast that even a six-month-old process may be outdated. Saying “this is the way it has always been done” simply makes you sound lazy and resistant to change. Neither of which are good.

“This may be a daft idea” / ”I’m going to ask a silly question.”

Such passive phrases instantly paint you as lacking in confidence, damaging your credibility. Even if you follow these phrases with a brilliant idea, they are likely to make people lose confidence in you. Remember, if you don’t believe in yourself, no-one else will.

“This will just take a minute”

Telling someone at work that something will just take a minute gives the impression that you speed through tasks, which can undermine their perceptions as to your ability and skills. Unless you actually know that you’re going to finish the task in 60 seconds, just say that it won’t take long. But, don’t say that it will be completed sooner than it really will.

“That’s not in my job description”

This phrase can be classed as sarcastic, and makes you sound as if you’re only prepared to do the absolute minimum required of you to keep getting a pay cheque. If you like job security, this is a bad idea, and won’t do your promotion hopes any favours at all. It’s best to complete the task eagerly, subsequently (and quietly) speaking with your boss about potentially updating your job description. This will avoid you looking petty and unwilling.

Avoiding these phrases whilst at work can do your career chances the world of good. Of course, you may have to catch yourself if some of them have a tendency to creep up on you. At least until you have mastered the art of avoiding them.

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