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5 Statements You Should Never Make on the Job

By Sandy Schroeder

Some things are hazardous. Saying the wrong thing at work is one of those things. It can be very awkward, or even disastrous. Often we figure this out by watching others, but Dr. Travis Bradberry pinpoints it as he tells us what NOT to say.

Dr. Bradberry, co-founder of TalentSmart, an agency that serves 75 percent of the Fortune 500 companies, recently outlined the things we should never say to avoid falling on our faces. These statements are guaranteed to make you look bad. They may set off negative reactions and they can put your job at risk.

Flatly saying “no” – When a question comes up about working late or using a new method, saying "no" can be a recipe for disaster. Instead, suggest alternative ways to get the job done other than working late, or explain what you need to learn about the new method. Most people are willing to help if you are willing to try, too.

 “That’s the way we have always done it” – This statement can be a red flag signaling your opposition to today’s fast moving technological developments. Some traditions are worth keeping, but making wholesale statements like this suggests you are stubborn, lazy or simply unwilling to look for better answers.

"I am not at fault" – If there is an issue that involves you, outline what you did as you talk with your boss and co-workers. Be willing to take blame if you made a mistake. If you step back and try to avoid all blame, people may be reluctant to work with you in the future. Discussions that focus on what happened and what can be done in the future calm the situation, helping everyone move forward.

Announcing, “It’s not fair” – When a project, promotion or other reward goes to someone else, calling it unfair can simply sound childish. No one believes life is fair, but there are always reasons why things happen. Calmly asking how a decision was made, or what you could do to be in line for the next project is a much better approach, letting people help you.

That’s not my job” – When a task comes up that is not in your job description, see if you can make it happen anyway. People who are promoted usually reach beyond their job description on a regular basis. Retreating to your job description to avoid a task makes you sound like someone who shows up to get paid, not to move ahead.

Whenever we take a negative tact we are apt to undermine our efforts. We all have to speak up and be clear about what we are doing, but before you make a statement, pause a second, and ask yourself how this would sound if someone else said it.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Madison, Wis.

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