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Technology-fueled change is happening so fast that even a six-month-old process could be outdated.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.
Ecobank wins Bank of the Year, Best Bank in prestigious London awards ceremonies
Ecobank wins “Bank of the Year” and “Best Bank” at The Banker and EMEA Finance Awards in London.
Ecobank Cameroon, Gambia and Rwanda won Bank of the Year at The Banker Awards on 28thNovember. This recognition came just before Ecobank Cabo Verde, Gambia, Liberia and Zimbabwe won Best Bank at the EMEA Finance African Banking Awards on 5th December. The Banker is the most prestigious global financial publication and EMEA Finance is widely read by the international banking community.
Ade Ayeyemi, Group CEO of Ecobank said: “We are pleased to be recognised as ‘Bank of the Year’ and ‘Best Bank’ in two distinguished award ceremonies in London. This confirms the strength of our brand in multiple countries across Africa, our unique pan-African platform and innovative banking products and solutions. Indeed, our One Bank strategy is providing the desired banking excellence for our consumer, commercial and corporate customers across the 33 countries in which we operate on the continent.”
The judging panels were impressed by Ecobank’s sound management, business model and strategic initiatives as well as its pioneering technology. They highlighted the bank’s recent innovations, including digitalised trade finance products, Ecobank Online & Omni Lite, digital payment solution, Ecobank Pay, and cross-border remittance solution, Rapidtransfer. These products are transforming the banking sector and empowering African businesses by providing accessibility and affordability.
Dangote Honours 160 Staff at Long Service Award Ceremony
Dangote Industries Limited recently presented 160 employees with long service award in recognition of their commitment, loyalty, exceptional service and invaluable contribution to the growth of Africa’s most admired brand over a period of 10 to 30 years and above. Post-humous awards were also given to ex-employees who lost their lives during their time of service at the organization.
At the Dangote Long Service Award, hosted by the Group Managing Director, Dangote Industries Limited Mr. Olakunle Alake, celebrated members of staff were each given a certificate of recognition, an award plaque, financial reward and ovation from other members of staff, family members and friends of the awardees.
During the ceremony, 29 staff were awarded with 10 – 14 years’ of service awards; 85 employees with 15 – 19 years’ of service; 29 employees with 20 – 24 years’ of service; 13 employees with 25 – 29 years’ of service and 4 employees were also honored with 30 years’ of service awards.
Remarkably, 12 staff who had passed on while in active duty to DIL, were eulogized and post-humous awards were given to their families for their dedicated service ranging from 10 to 39 years.
The Group Executive Director, Logistics and Distribution, Dangote Industries Limited, Alhaji Abdu Dantata, emerged the highest living awardee for his 36 years of service, while the Group Managing Director, Mr. Olakunle Alake, who gave the welcome remarks, was given an outstanding ovation for his 29 years of loyalty in service to the organization.
In his keynote address, the Group President/CE of Dangote Industries Limited, Aliko Dangote, commended all the awardees for their loyalty, commitment and dedicated service over the years; all of which had contributed to elevate the company from a trading concern founded in 1981 to one of the largest manufacturing conglomerates in Africa today, with a household name in Nigeria and a global brand to boot. He noted that employees, especially the awardees, were crucial part of the global success story which Dangote Industries has become today.
According to him, “I want to say a very big thank you to all of us here tonight. Indeed, loyalty is royalty and the successful growth of our company is a direct result of your excellent service. Your loyalty upholds our core principles and our continuous growth is based on a culture of resilience and loyalty.
“Today, we celebrate your individual and collective successes and our breakthrough was due to your investment of many years of loyal service. I encourage you to remain dedicated and committed. We deeply appreciate you and your efforts. Thank you very much”, Dangote added.
Africa’s wealthiest and foremost philanthropist, who personally presented the awards to all the awardees that have served DIL for 25 years and more and to the families of all the post-humous awardees, was likewise presented with a surprise gift of a framed picture of himself with the names of all the 160 awardees embedded by the organizing committee led by the Group Managing Director, Mr. Olakunle Alake.
Their overall gratitude at the award, gift and honor was aptly captured by a staff in the security department, Mr. Samanja Umaru, who was rewarded for his 20 years of service to the company. Samanja, who effusively narrated how Dangote has transformed his life and family, pledged his undying loyalty to the organization which has given him so much.
According to Samanja, “Dangote is a blessed man and Dangote (DIL) is a good company. I began working with Dangote way back in 1981 at the warehouse where we were paid N10 daily. God bless Alhaji Dangote. He carries everybody along, whether Hausa, Yoruba, Ibo, anyone. Alhaji Dangote changed my life. He is a blessed man”
FG Links Rise In Food Inflation To Border Closure
The recent border closure drill has been attributed to the rise in headline inflation which is currently at 11.61 per cent as of October 2019.
Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, who is the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, briefed Journalists on Wednesday after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja, adding that recent figures from the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS) were noticed since September.
The Minister informed that the increase in food inflation witnessed in September and October is linked to the increase in prices of food, propelled by the border closure.
“Headline inflation declined for several months before we noticed an uptake in the last two months and now headline inflation is at 11.61 percent as at the end of October.
“The slight increase between September and October is due to increases in food inflation ascribed to increase in prices of cereals, rice, and fish.
“Part of the reason is the border closure; the closure is very short and temporary and the increase is just by 2 basis points,” she explained.
Mrs. Ahmed pointed out that discussions with neighbouring countries on the border closure have advanced and the Federal Government is expecting every party to respect the protocols they are all committed to.
She stressed that the government is making sure that the economy does not suffer once the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) comes into effect.
“The border closure is temporary; we have really advanced on the discussion between ourselves and our neighbours and we expect that the outcomes of those discussions and agreement are that each party will respect the protocols that we all committed to and then the borders will be open again.
“What we are doing is important for our economy as we signed on to the AfCFTA, we have to make sure that we put in place, checks to make sure that our economy is not overrun as a result of the coming into effect of the AfCFTA and that’s why we have this border closure to return to the discipline of respecting the protocols that we are all committed to.”
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