Things NOT to say at work. And why.

There are many common words, or sentences, that are guaranteed to annoy your co-workers, or boss.  Here are a few of our favourite no-nos and why.

That’s not my job/ That’s not my problem

When you’re asked to do something, responding with ‘that’s not my job’ is the WORST thing you can say.  In some positions, whatever your boss or a client asks you to do IS your job.  If it is technically not your job, then say you’ll look after it and find someone to help get it done.

Similarly, if someone presents a problem for you to solve or mentions a difficulty they are having, express empathy and suggest where they can go for help.

It’s not my fault

When something goes wrong, often it is our natural instinct to want to avoid blame or blame someone else.  If you have made a mistake, accept responsibility, do your best to fix it and move on.

I’m so stressed

Everyone is stressed.  Studies have shown that continually thinking you are stressed and that it’s bad for you is worse than the stress itself.  Watch this TED talk ‘Make stress your friend’ – http://www.ted.com/talks/kelly_mcgonigal_how_to_make_stress_your_friend?language=en

I’ll try and get this done/ I should be able to fix that for you

Don’t try – just get it done.  Give certainty. Commit to doing what you need to do.

But this is how we’ve always done it

Open your mind to new ways of doing things – just because something has been done the same way for a long time doesn’t mean it can’t be done in a different, and perhaps better way!

I’m sorry, but

When you put a ‘but’ after an apology it completely diminishes the worth of the apology.  You are actually not saying you are sorry, you are trying to justify your behaviour.  If the words ‘I’m sorry, but’ used are a precursor to your opinion don’t apologise for having it.  If you disagree, say you disagree.

Do you think that’s a good idea?

If someone proposes something you don’t agree with, or have concerns with, say so.  Saying ‘do you think that’s a good idea’ is a passive aggressive way of saying YOU don’t think it’s a good idea.

What are your favourite ‘no-nos’ in office conversation?