What not to say at work

When at work stress, pressures, conflict can sometimes lead us to say things we maybe shouldn’t say. There may be deadlines, targets and even personal issues that can affect our work on a daily basis. Not to mention office politics and difficult relationships. Navigating these waters can be a minefield but to avoid adding fuel to any office fire, avoiding saying some simple phrases can make office life easier by reducing possible conflict.


What not to say at work



When we are working, it is important that we work as a team. Therefore, showing that you are pulling your weight, helping out as much as you can and showing courteousness can go a long way. Phrases such as “That’s not my problem”, “there’s nothing I can do”. When we are under pressure with a lot of tasks to do it is easy to dismiss issues that may not be directly relevant to you. This attitude can seem selfish and that you’re not being a team player. You may not be able to get directly involved but having a more positive attitude and being able to at least be able to offer some assistance will be greatly received. You may know who else they should speak with or get more information to see how you can get involved.



We don’t always like change. We may be quite activity opposed to it. This may be especially true if it the suggestion for change is coming from someone who hasn’t been in the team or company for as long as you have. However, it is important to remember that we all have experience in different areas and there may be some need to a different approach. When we have been doing things a certain way for so long, we often miss what can be obvious to someone who is looking at it with fresh eyes. Saying things such as “but that’s the way we have always done it” may be better accepted if it is said from the perspective that you would like further information on this proposed change and why it may be better than the approach already followed.



You may not exactly agree with what is being said or how someone is doing a task. Also no one likes to be critised but there is a way to phrase things without offending and showing that it is OK to have a different opinion or to do something in a certain but that we require x, y and z to be done in a certain way. Getting people on your side and working with you and not against you is one of the most challenging tasks of any manager and how they communicate can be the key to success. Phrases such as “That makes no sense”, “You’re wrong”, “You should have” all have very negative connotations and can feel as though you are being scolded. It is easy to point out mistakes when you are frustrated but more constructive feedback is always better received and may help to reduce the chances of the same issue arising again. Instead of seeming rude or completely negative, try phrases such as “I’m not sure about that you, can you tell me more about why you have chosen to do this this way?”, “I hear your point but in this instance, I disagree, this is why” or “Thank you for your work here but it is not the best solution. Instead I recommend”.


Teamwork and good communication are vital. Taking a few seconds to consider your response is very important to maintain good relationships and to get the best from your co-workers. Demonstrating teamwork, flexibility and diplomacy through how you speak is a skill but, once mastered, will serve you very well.

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