Sanjeev Sinha, Economictimes.com
You are free to give someone a piece of your mind while at home. However, when it comes to your workplace, better mind your words because even an off-the-cuff remark of yours can not only spoil your relationship with your boss or coworkers, but can also sometimes put you in trouble.
“In today’s day and age, undoubtedly we spend most of our time at work. However, it does not mean that we keep our guards down and say whatever comes to mind. In fact, most organisations work on the philosophy that words are the best representatives of a person’s personality. Therefore, we should always avoid saying something which can put us in a bad light at our workplace,” says Deepak Kaistha, managing partner, Planman Consulting.
Here’s a list of things you must avoid saying at work:
Everyone gets approached to do things that are not part of their defined role. If someone asks you to help him out, consider it a testimony to your capabilities.
“Unless you are completely getting off focus, going beyond the etched boundaries of your role will only earn you good merit with your boss and colleagues,” says Ashish Arora, founder & MD, HR Anexi.
No need to explain, therefore, why you should always avoid saying things like, “This isn’t my job!”
2. “It’s not my fault”
Sure, it is not. But saying it this way makes you seem more narrow minded and less of a team player. Call it an ‘issue’ instead of a ‘fault’. Rather than saying you were not responsible for it, point out what you believe caused it.
Then, not only does it become obvious that you were not responsible for it, but it shifts everyone’s attention to the root cause of the issue and what needs to be done to resolve it.
“In the fast-paced culture of corporates, there is no space for slackers. If you did something that created a negative impact, have the courage to except your fault instead of putting the blame to someone. Bosses usually like people who take full ownership for a deed done,” informs Udit Mittal, founder & MD, Unison International.
3. “I’ll try”
You certainly will, but it is better not to say just that when you are accepting the task. If you are unsure of whether you will be successful, say instead, “Thank you. I’ll let you know how this goes.”
“Saying ‘I’ll try’ can also mentally limit you somewhere from giving the work your best shot. If you say something more positive and specific, it creates a better impression of your efforts with the listener. Then, even if you fail despite your best efforts, the person will appreciate that you actually did try,” says Arora.
4. “There’s nothing else I can do”
If you are saying this after trying everything for success, it could still sound reasonable. But if you are giving up even before trying, or somewhere mid course, it makes you seem less committed and enthusiastic.
“If, after trying everything, you really do believe that you cannot do anything more, it might be better to say, ‘I’ve tried all of these options, but we’re still not making it because of this (reason). Please suggest what else I can do to resolve this issue’,” says Arora.
5. “That’s impossible”
There’s nothing impossible when you have your heart and mind to it.
“Saying that’s impossible shows that you are ruling out any way of doing a thing, and if your boss thinks there is a way to do it, there probably is. You just need to change your way of looking at it,” says Mittal.
6. “That is so unfair”
Do not play the victim. If you feel something is not fair – and it is not in quite a few cases in the workplace – explain why it is the wrong approach. “Turn your emotions into conviction, not complaint. Reason with people and bring them to see your point of view,” says Arora.
Also, if your colleague, for instance, gets a raise and you don’t, if he gets recognition and you don’t, never say it’s not fair or that’s unacceptable. “It shows a huge negative impact on your behavior and attitude and makes you look like a person who always cribs,” explains Mittal.
7. “I told you so”
Your worry may have come true, but it will not help to keep reminding the sufferer so. Instead of adding to the person’s distress, offer to help to clear the mess. You never know who you might need in the future.
You will be doing this person a genuine favour, and in return, he will always be grateful to you.
8. “I did the same thing he did, why am I wrong?”
This is a common mistake people do. The reason why you are hired is because you are different.
If you are doing the same thing someone else does, that person could have easily done what you are doing and you would not hired at all.
9. “Please listen to me!”
If you have to beg others to listen to you, it may seem like you have nothing important to say.
Cut through the noise with a compelling statement, like, “I have a different proposition.” or “I know just why this won’t work.” Within a few moments, your message will sink in – the noise will stop, and people will straighten up and listen to you.
10. “I’m quitting this company right now!”
Whether or not you mean it, giving your manager or others this ultimatum will never lead to any real glory for you. At best, others may perceive that you are very frustrated with your environment, and do not know how else to deal with it than by threatening to quit.
“At worst, you may be taken seriously, and this reckless comment may speed your way out of the organization before you truly want it,” says Arora.