I am continuously fascinated by what comes out of people's mouths in the workplace. Many don’t realize that the smallest of sentences can be a real tell about what is going on inside their brains. Some things people say give away a poor attitude, insecurity, or even incompetency. In this day of constant over-sharing, many people forget to think before they speak.
Surely some of these sayings below are okay at times — depending upon the company culture and specific situation — but you are less likely to lose respect from colleagues, partners, and clients if you eliminate all of them from your repertoire entirely.
1. Anything with a curse word.
I live in New York City where the F-word is considered a term of endearment. Yet, I still am careful to curb it when in a professional environment. If you are unclear about what constitutes cussing today, just stay away from anything you can’t say on the Disney channel.
2. I am the Real Deal.
I once heard a speaker get on stage and try and convince us he was important with this phrase. If you have to insist you have credibility, you probably don't have any.
3. I am so exhausted.
The people who are successful are working hard and they know that work is, well, work. Expressing how exhausted you are tells people that you struggle managing your life. Figure out what’s keeping you up at night and fix it, or keep it to yourself.
4. I know, right?
Feeding into someone else’s complaints just creates bigger problems in the workplace. If someone is complaining, try encouraging them to solve the problem in a productive way. Be part of the solution, not the problem.
5. I’m just going to ignore it.
Closing your eyes and letting problems happen may make for mediocre politics, but most issues surface eventually. When they do surface and it comes to light that you knew what was happening, you’re going to look callous and selfish.
6. You need to trust me.
Why do you feel the need to convince someone you are trustworthy? What are you doing that would cause people to think otherwise?
7. Don't tell the boss.
Conspiracy usually comes to light somewhere. As the instigator of secrecy, you put everyone at risk and create an unsafe environment. Foster transparency and openness if you want the respect of those around you.
8. Can you believe him/her?
Got a problem with someone? Try confronting the person directly and showing people your diplomatic skills instead of acting like a coward.
9. Just go along, okay?
People realize quickly that when you enlist them in your deceptions, you are probably just as likely to deceive them some day.
10. I feel really stressed.
Bosses and teammates alike want to work with people who are happy and strong. Stress is a personal issue that needs to be managed by the individual. It's part of the job so make it your own priority.
11. I know what I’m talking about.
Really? Then why do you think telling me will automatically convince me. If you can demonstrate your knowledge with solid research and command of the topic, then there would be no need to question your pontificating.
12. He/she makes me so mad.
The only person who can make you mad is you. Take a step back from the hot emotion and solve the interpersonal problem one way or another.
13. I am so hungover.
It's great to have a good time, but the Mad Men days of two martini lunches are long gone. Alcohol is considered an acceptable drug provided it doesn't interrupt your performance. Oh, and pot may be socially acceptable to some, but you never know who still thinks it's a vice. So leave your Seth Rogen-esque stories for the social crowd.
14. They’ll never know.
Just by telling someone else about your deception you have pretty much insured that others will know of your willingness to hide the truth.
15. Wow, she’s/he’s hot!
We’re all human and appreciate beauty, but showing discretion is required for others to feel comfortable in the workplace.
16. Oh my god! Did you hear what happened?
Society today feeds on gossip and most are culpable of the guilty pleasure of listening to salacious facts. Still, few respect the person who spreads the information.
17. Just back off, will ya?
Respected people know how to keep tumultuous situations from getting out of hand. Show that you have tolerance and the emotional intelligence to work with all types.
18. Good, I think I got away with it.
Why would you need to get away with anything? Try showing integrity even when you make mistakes so people respect your ability to be forthright and responsible.
19. Let’s just get it over with.
There is little in business that is worthy of being dismissed. Issues should be addressed with a positive attitude and appropriate attention.
20. We were out of control!
Or another way to put it, we were reckless and uncaring about the stakes for everyone involved.
21. Anything with a stereotype.
If you have yet to learn from Donald Trump, here is your chance.
22. Hey, let’s bet on it.
Leave the workplace gambling to the folks who work on Wall Street. Office place gambling shows a lack of decorum and prioritization. Look for activities that make everyone a winner.
23. I need a smoke.
Cigarette smoking is finally taboo in most of white-collar society. It demonstrates weakness and disregard for oneself. Perhaps people will be kind, but they will judge.
24. I’m bored.
As a close friend points out, only boring people are bored. You always have the freedom to either make your work exciting or find a career where you are energized. Do everyone a favor today and do either or both.
25. I’m not really sure what to do here.
Well, figure it out. Someone will have to. It might as well be you, so attack the problem with confidence and a solid work ethic.
26. That meeting really sucked.
Perhaps it was bad because you were in attendance. You own a part of any activity or conversation in which you take part. What are you doing to make things meaningful and productive?
27. Anything sexual.
Even if you are foolish enough to think that any blue comments are acceptable, it's better to keep the compliance violations and harassment lawsuits to a minimum.
28. I can’t go home, I have too much to do.
Thank you for explaining to everyone that you are incapable of doing the job. Either figure out how to effectively manage the workload and have a life or find a career that suits your capabilities.