No matter where you work or what you do, it’s obvious you want to be respected, admired, and successful. One of the best ways not to achieve these goals is to come off as incompetent and lacking in maturity. Little things like your choice of words can have big effects. You may be unintentionally undermining your own success by carelessly uttering seemingly harmless negative phrases. To help achieve the success you want, strike these seven negative phrases from your workplace vocabulary:
1. “That’s not my job”
This phrase makes you sound lazy and unmotivated – as though you’re unwilling to do anything but the bare minimum required to keep getting your paycheck. The right move here is to complete the task willingly. Later, if you still feel the task fell outside of your contract or employment agreement, set up a conversation with your boss to discuss your role in the company and see if your job description needs an update. This will keep you from looking petty. It will also enable you and your boss to build a better relationship and develop a long-term understanding of what you should and shouldn’t be doing.
2. “It’s not fair”
Uh-oh, did one of your colleagues receive a promotion or an award while you got nothing, even though you think you’re twice as worthy? Successful people never whine about the injustices of life because they’ve known life isn’t fair ever since elementary school – and saying “It’s not fair” makes you sound immature and naive. Unfairness is something you have to get used to. Instead of complaining, learn to be proactive. If you think you were more deserving, prove it by making a strong case and presenting it to your manager.
3. “It’s not my fault”
No one wants to work with a blame-shifter. Be accountable for your mistakes. If you had any role, no matter how small, in something that went wrong, own up to it. If not, offer an objective, dispassionate explanation of what happened. The moment you start pointing fingers is the moment people start seeing you as someone who can’t be counted on. Successful people always take ownership of their mistakes instead of pointing out where others have fallen short.
4. “I don’t need any help”
Sure, you have plenty of skills, but don’t overestimate your ability to get things done all on your own: you’re going to need help sometimes. Being self-reliant is great, but showing that you’re a team player is just as essential to success. You’re unlikely to climb very high on the career ladder if you’re always flying solo and unwilling to work closely with others.
5. “He’s a jerk”
There is simply no upside to making a disparaging remark about a colleague. Even if your remark is accurate, everyone else already knows it, so why point it out? But if your remark is inaccurate, you’re the one who ends up looking like a jerk. Talking about a colleague’s incompetence will always come across as an insecure attempt to make yourself look better. Your insensitivity will make your coworkers form negative opinions of you.
6. “I can’t”
Saying “I can’t” implies you’re not willing to do what it takes to get the job done. Instead of saying what you can’t do, say what you can do. For example, instead of saying “I can’t stay late tonight,” offer an alternative solution by saying “I can come in early tomorrow morning. Will that work?” Instead of saying “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?”
7. “I hate this job”
Complaining about how much you hate your job labels you as a negative person and lowers the morale of your coworkers. Successful people are never too opinionated about their job or workplace, even if they’re in a situation which is less than ideal. Always remember: bosses are quick to catch onto pessimists, and they know that there are always plenty of enthusiastic candidates who would be only too happy to have your awful, terrible, no-good job.