4 Phrases You Should Never Use at Work


Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for Management pros

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Communication is a vital part of working effectively with your colleagues and ensuring your team are all kept in the loop.

Article 3 Minutes
4 Phrases You Should Never Use at Work

For any team, it's essential that you are able to communicate effectively. It ensures that employees are as productive as possible and that everyone has all the information they need to carry out their role.

However, many people use certain phrases without really thinking about what they mean. Whether it's popular jargon or words that don't actually say anything meaningful, cutting these out of your vocabulary will make you and your team much more efficient.

Here are just four phrases that you should aim to remove from your work dictionary:

"That's not my fault."

Mistakes happen but assigning blame should never be the focus of any intervention. What's important is finding the cause of the issue and identifying ways that it can be prevented in the future. When you immediately say something isn't "your fault" you are shifting the blame to your colleagues and making liability the core issue. Neither of these are helpful or conducive to a team that needs to work openly and effectively together.

Instead of jumping to 'that's not my fault', tell the sequence of events as you know it, identifying the facts. The person you're talking to will ask questions when they want more detail or to find a solution to the problem.

"I don't get paid enough for this."

Whether meant as a lighthearted remark or not, it devalues everyone you're interacting with. A key part of managing a team is ensuring that every employee feels appreciated and able to come to you with any problem they have. Even if it's not officially in your remit to tackle the root cause of an issue they've raised, it is your job to support your team as much as possible.

If you find that this is something you're saying a lot, remember to delegate wherever possible so you're not overwhelming yourself with tasks. You may think you're doing the best thing for the team by taking all the jobs on by yourself, but you're actually just not giving the tasks the attention or time they deserve.

"That's just how it's done."

By saying this, you're shutting down potentially valuable discussions with your team. If you don't have time to talk to them in great detail about the concerns an employee is raising, schedule in a slot when you do.

Every successful business needs to innovate and employees are best-placed to recommend new strategies for working. By cutting them off, you're not only limiting the individual's potential to shape the future but you're also preventing the company from innovating.

"I'll try."

Although your intentions may be good, all you're doing by saying "I'll try" is undermining your role as a leader, and jeopardizing the confidence your team have in you.

Of course, you don't want to promise something that you're not sure you can deliver on but phrases like "leave it with me" can be much more effective. If you're worried about time constraints, explain that your schedule is packed but you'll find some time to look into it. Giving them a realistic timeline for when they can chase you about it again will help ensure you follow up on your good intentions and keeps employees in the loop.

Insights for Professionals

The latest thought leadership for Management pros

Insights for Professionals provide free access to the latest thought leadership from global brands. We deliver subscriber value by creating and gathering specialist content for senior professionals.


Join the conversation...