While it may be true that actions speak louder than words, the things you say can carry a great deal of weight. This is true in personal relationships, but it is also applies to your professional interactions.
Just as your verbal interactions can help you earn a raise, saying the wrong things at work can cause you to be skipped over for a promotion or even lose your job. Learning what not to say to your boss can boost your chances of opportunity and success in the workplace. Here are nine things you should never say to your boss if you want to keep your job and excel at it.
It’s okay to apologize if you genuinely hurt someone, but be careful about saying “I’m sorry” too much. If you say that you’re sorry for every little mishap or inconvenience, it can cause others to think less of your opinions, decrease your self-confidence and damage your professional image. Maintain your polite demeanor, but say what you mean and mean what you say.
8. I’m So Bored
Mentioning that you are bored, even as an offhand remark on a slow day could potentially cause your boss to think your position is unwarranted. If you just happen to have some random, unusual free time on your hands, use it to catch up on filing, organize your drawers or clean up your email folders. If you find that you are frequently feeling bored, schedule a time to speak with your boss and discuss taking on more challenges.
7. I Already Know Enough
There are several reasons why you might resist more training at work or even outside of work. For instance, you may think it is irrelevant to your position or it could be a burden when your days are already full. However, it can be to your benefit to take your boss up on an offer of cross training with someone in another position or learning new skills, as either instance could be a stepping stone to a higher position. The more you know, the more valuable you become to the company, as well.
6. I Don’t Have Time To Help
If you say this, your boss is likely to have two thoughts: first, that you are either unproductive or fail to manage your time properly; and second, that you might not be a team player. If any of those are true, work on them before you say anything. If they are not true and you just have too much work, approach your manager with evidence and potential solutions.
5. It Happened Because…
Not every day or every project will go the way you planned, but when you fail to deliver appropriate results, miss a deadline or simply make a mistake, don’t give your boss excuses. Acknowledging your responsibility in the matter and then offering a solution proves that you are accountable, conscientious and results-oriented, all of which are valuable traits in an employee.
4. Did You Hear About So-And-So?
Avoid gossiping to your boss or even with your coworkers. What can seem like an easy and harmless way to build camaraderie can actually damage your reputation. Even casual chatter about someone else can cause your manager to think you might be unable to protect confidential information. In addition, it can make you seem like a negative person, which is an undesirable attribute for those moving up the corporate ladder.
3. It’s Not Fair!
Perhaps a colleague got a raise or promotion and you didn’t, which you find unfair. Rather than approach your boss like a whiny preschooler, do your homework. Consider your coworker’s history with the company as well as his previous professional and educational experience as well as your own. If your research substantiates your opinion, approach your manager in a level-headed manner with the evidence and ask her to reconsider your position.
2. But We’ve Always Done It This Way
When management requests that you perform a task in a different manner, showing resistance to change can send up a big red flag. Your boss wants to know that you are open to new methods, innovative and willing to take risks to potentially improve processes and business in general.
1. That’s Not In My Job Description
If you are asked to do something outside the usual scope of your position and try to get out of it (or flat-out refuse), your boss may think that you are not a team player who is willing to roll up your sleeves and do what needs to be done to support the company. Handling tasks outside of your usual scope can also make you a good prospect for promotions. Being helpful within reason can be beneficial.