7 Toxic Phrases That Have No Place in the Workplace

7 Toxic PhrasesOne poorly worded response, one spontaneous comment, can ruin a professional reputation. And unfortunately, saying the wrong thing at the wrong time can cost a young careerist a raise, promotion… even a job.

To avoid a workplace faux pas that can damage your future credibility, be sure not to utter these seven toxic phrases at work:

“That’s Not My Job”

Telling someone “That’s not my job” effectively suggests you don’t care… and aren’t willing to help.

It’s okay if you need to direct someone to a different department or if you have a heavy workload that won’t let you take on anything else. However, be careful how you relay that information—and realize it may be you asking for a favor next time.

“Or Else…”

Giving anyone in the office an ultimatum rarely ends in success—and never shows emotional intelligence.

Whether it’s to a long-time employee or the newest intern, be careful with your wording. Making demands can quickly label you as difficult to work with diva.

“Last Night Was SO Crazy”

Overhearing you talk about getting wasted isn’t going to impress your boss. Alternatively, it may make you appear to be immature, irresponsible and careless—especially if you come to work hungover and unable to function at 100%.

Even if you have a casual work environment, keep the weekend party stories to yourself!

“Can I be Honest?”

Beginning a statement with “to be honest” usually relays the message to listeners that something negative is about to be said. It also implies that you know you’re about to be rude, but don’t care. More important, this phrase can lead colleagues to wonder if they should doubt the integrity of previous statements that lacked that introduction.

Without being offensive, learn to communicate what you need to say in a straightforward manner.

“How Did He Get Promoted?”

Nothing can ruin your career faster than a negative, poisonous attitude about your co-workers, boss or company. Stay away from name calling bad-mouthing at all costs. Not only will it make you seem childish, but it may quickly put your name on the next version of an elimination list.

Simply put: office gossip is never a good idea!

“This May Sound Stupid, But…”

Prefacing comments or suggestions with discounting phrases such as “I may be wrong, but…” or “this may be a silly idea, but…” diminishes the impact of what you’re about to say. Instead of sounding authoritative and confident, you’re reducing your credibility and your opinion’s value. And perhaps your standing among bosses, mentor and colleagues.

Eliminate these phrases from your work vocabulary! Instead speak with empathy, certainty and conviction. And then see if maybe it isn’t significantly easier to maintain a consistent professional reputation.





For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Levo League!


Levo League



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