There are some things you simply never want to say at work.
These phrases carry special power: they have an uncanny ability to make you look bad even when the words are true.
Worst of all, there’s no taking them back once they slip out.
I’m not talking about shocking slips of the tongue, off-color jokes, or politically incorrect faux pas. These aren’t the only ways to make yourself look bad.
Often it’s the subtle remarks—the ones that paint us as incompetent and unconfident—that do the most damage.
No matter how talented you are or what you’ve accomplished, there are certain phrases that instantly change the way people see you and can forever cast you in a negative light. These phrases are so loaded with negative implications that they undermine careers in short order.
How many of these career killers have you heard around the office lately?
1. “It’s not fair.”
Everyone knows that life isn’t fair. Saying it’s not fair suggests that you think life is supposed to be fair, which makes you look immature and naïve.
If you don’t want to make yourself look bad, you need to stick to the facts, stay constructive, and leave your interpretation out of it. For instance, you could say, “I noticed that you assigned Ann that big project I was hoping for. Would you mind telling me what went into that decision? I’d like to know why you thought I wasn’t a good fit, so that I can work on improving those skills.”
2. “This is the way it’s always been done.”
Technology-fueled change is happening so fast that even a six-month-old process could be outdated. Saying this is the way it’s always been done not only makes you sound lazy and resistant to change, but it could make your boss wonder why you haven’t tried to improve things on your own. If you really are doing things the way they’ve always been done, there’s almost certainly a better way.
3. “No problem.”
When someone asks you to do something or thanks you for doing something, and you tell them no problem, you’re implying that their request should have been a problem. This makes people feel as though they’ve imposed upon you.
What you want to do instead is to show people that you’re happy to do your job. Say something like “It was my pleasure” or “I’ll be happy to take care of that.” It’s a subtle difference in language, but one that has a huge impact on people.
4. “I think …/This may be a silly idea …/I’m going to ask a stupid question.”
These overly passive phrases instantly erode your credibility. Even if you follow these phrases with a great idea, they suggest that you lack confidence, which makes the people you’re speaking to lose confidence in you.
Don’t be your own worst critic. If you’re not confident in what you’re saying, no one else will be either. And, if you really don’t know something, say, “I don’t have that information right now, but I’ll find out and get right back to you.”
5. “This will only take a minute.”
Saying that something only takes a minute undermines your skills and gives the impression that you rush through tasks. Unless you’re literally going to complete the task in 60 seconds, feel free to say that it won’t take long, but don’t make it sound as though the task can be completed any sooner than it can actually be finished.
6. “I’ll try.”
Just like the word think, try sounds tentative and suggests that you lack confidence in your ability to execute the task. Take full ownership of your capabilities. If you’re asked to do something, either commit to doing it or offer an alternative, but don’t say that you’ll try because it sounds like you won’t try all that hard.
7. “He’s lazy/incompetent/a jerk.”
There is no upside to making a disparaging remark about a colleague. If your remark is accurate, everybody already knows it, so there’s no need to point it out. If your remark is inaccurate, you’re the one who ends up looking like a jerk.
There will always be rude or incompetent people in any workplace, and chances are that everyone knows who they are. If you don’t have the power to help them improve or to fire them, then you have nothing to gain by broadcasting their ineptitude. Announcing your colleague’s incompetence comes across as an insecure attempt to make you look better. Your callousness will inevitably come back to haunt you in the form of your coworkers’ negative opinions of you.
8. “That’s not in my job description.”
This often sarcastic phrase makes you sound as though you’re only willing to do the bare minimum required to keep getting a paycheck, which is a bad thing if you like job security.
If your boss asks you to do something that you feel is inappropriate for your position (as opposed to morally or ethically inappropriate), the best move is to complete the task eagerly. Later, schedule a conversation with your boss to discuss your role in the company and whether your job description needs an update. This ensures that you avoid looking petty. It also enables you and your boss to develop a long-term understanding of what you should and shouldn’t be doing.
9. “It’s not my fault.”
It’s never a good idea to cast blame. Be accountable. If you had any role—no matter how small—in whatever went wrong, own it. If not, offer an objective, dispassionate explanation of what happened. Stick to the facts, and let your boss and colleagues draw their own conclusions about who’s to blame.
The moment you start pointing fingers is the moment people start seeing you as someone who lacks accountability for their actions. This makes people nervous. Some will avoid working with you altogether, and others will strike first and blame you when something goes wrong.
10. “I can’t.”
I can’t is it’s not my fault’s twisted sister. People don’t like to hear I can’t because they think it means I won’t. Saying I can’t suggests that you’re not willing to do what it takes to get the job done.
If you really can’t do something because you truly lack the necessary skills, you need to offer an alternative solution. Instead of saying what you can’t do, say what you can do. For example, instead of saying “I can’t stay late tonight,” say “I can come in early tomorrow morning. Will that work?” Instead of “I can’t run those numbers,” say “I don’t yet know how to run that type of analysis. Is there someone who can show me so that I can do it on my own next time?”
11. “I hate this job.”
The last thing anyone wants to hear at work is someone complaining about how much they hate their job. Doing so labels you as a negative person and brings down the morale of the group. Bosses are quick to catch on to naysayers who drag down morale, and they know that there are always enthusiastic replacements waiting just around the corner.
Makinde spends 74 hours with state officials drawing plan to transform agriculture
…IITA, AfDB salute Makinde’s vision
At a retreat in Cotonou, Republic of Benin to chart a path for transforming agriculture, Oyo State Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde set a record in governance, by spending more than 72 hours with his state officials designing an implementation plan for Oyo state agribusiness.
The governor also promised officials of the state that the administration will give agriculture the necessary ‘political will’ to play its role and transform the economic fortunes of the state.
“I want to assure all the participants that Oyo State will provide the political will needed to make the state the agribusiness hub of Nigeria,” Gov Makinde said at the retreat that was facilitated by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Cotonou, Republic of Benin, 15-19 August.
Gov Makinde pledged to attract more private investments to agriculture by providing an enabling environment for the private sector to invest in the state. He said the state would ensure agribusiness-friendly policies that would boost investor confidence.
Since assumption of office on 29 May 2019, Gov Makinde has pledged to transform the narrative of agriculture with the view to making it the pillar of the state’s economic development. The retreat provided an opportunity for the Governor to unveil his vision for agriculture in the state.
Dr Kenton Dashiell, IITA Deputy Director-General, Partnerships for Delivery commended the governor for demonstrating an uncommon leadership style by participating in all the sessions of the three-day retreat.
“I have never seen such a commitment from a governor… and I believe the document coming out of this retreat will help the state to achieve the vision of an agribusiness hub for Nigeria,” he added.
Dr. Martin Fregene, Director for Agriculture and Agro-Allied division with the African Development Bank said the commitment of the state to agriculture was a step in the right direction.
“Let me also commend you (the governor of Oyo state) for organizing this very important meeting, and participating fully in it to have a vision and an implementation plan for agribusiness in the state,” he added via skype.
Dr. Fregene urged the state government to adopt the agri-business approach to unlock the potential of agriculture in the state.
“For Oyo state to move forward in agriculture, you must treat agriculture as a business,” he explained.
According to the AfDB director, the Bank would be willing to support the state in its quest to transform agriculture.
The retreat had four sessions comprising: Developing a vision for the state in agriculture, identifying the obstacles to the vision, developing strategic actions to deal with the obstacles to the vision, and developing an implementation plan.
Adebowale Akande, Executive Adviser to the Governor on Agriculture gave thumbs up to the retreat, adding that recommendations from the retreat would help the state to achieve its vision of becoming an agribusiness hub.
Bola Ige complex wants to reclaim lost glory, as Oyo govt reveals plan
As part of the efforts of the Oyo State Government in creating conducive environment for businesses within the State to thrive, the present administration has revealed its plan in restoring Bola Ige International Business Complex, Gbagi, Ibadan back to international standard as provided in the master plan of the market.
This was contained in a communique issued after a stakeholders’ meeting held recently at the market between the market leaders and the task force committee set up by Governor Seyi Makinde to restructure the business complex.
The Chairman of the task force committee, Sanitarian Olusoji Oyewole in his briefing, assured the market men and women that the State Government remained committed to providing them the basic facilities that would promote the economic activities in the market.
“The Oyo State Government under the leadership of Engineer Seyi Makinde has deemed it fit to ensure that Bola Ige International Business Complex regains its lost age-long status as a major hub of wholesale textile materials, servicing both neighboring, far and distant States in Nigeria,” he said.
“The intention of the administration in setting up this task force is not to witch-hunt anyone in the market but rather towards seeking their cooperation and support for proper waste dumping of refuse, hygienic toilet facilities,
large number of parking lots for convenience and easy access to the market as well as considerable open spaces in construction of approved buildings.”
He, thereafter urged the market community to keep to the environmental laws and town planning regulations of the State, noting that the market stood to benefit if commercial activities were carried out in clean and serene environment.
In his remarks, the representative of the elders’ forum in the market, Chief Adebayo expressed appreciation to the State Government and further pledged support of the market community towards the actualization of restoring the market to international standard.
Pay For Temporary Use of Road Setbacks or We Take Them Over’ – Oyo Govt Warns Business Organizations
Business organizations that built on the mandatory setbacks on major roads in Oyo State for temporary usage have been warned to pay for these spaces or have them taken over by government.
The Executive chairman, Oyo State Internal Revenue Service (OYSIRS), Aremo John Adeleke disclosed this on Thursday, saying the State administration was not happy with the attitude of most organizations using these spaces for failing to meet their financial obligations to the State despite being served many demand notices by the Board of Internal Revenue (BIR).
Adeleke who spoke with Journalists at his office shortly after an enforcement exercise under the Management of Public Space Scheme (MOPS) embarked upon by Oyo State Internal Revenue Services (OYSIRS) and the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources.
He stated that for Government to be able to provide amenities in the State, organizations and other business owners needed to remit taxes, levies and dues to the rightful place as their civic duties.
He said, “Setbacks in public places are government properties and to use them, there should be payment for temporary use of such places. Most organizations have taken this for granted for so long and that is what necessitated our action at this point.
“The focus of the first phase of the enforcement exercise is on the Banking Industry after that we will move to other sub-sectors. The government will recover the setbacks unless those affected do what is required.
“In the past, series of correspondence, plea and stakeholders meeting with those concerned yielded no response. Also,the second phase will come soonest and will reach others that refused to comply with the payment option.”
While appreciating those that complied,The Executive chairman implored other business owners and individuals with outstanding taxes,levies,charges and fees to pay up so as to forestall drastic step against them.
Among areas covered during the exercise are Total Garden, Agodi and Bodija all within Ibadan metropolis.
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