Things smart peo­ple won’t say

Lesotho Times - - Jobs & Tenders -

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?

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.”

This is the way it’s al­ways been done: Tech­nol­ogy-fu­elled change is hap­pen­ing so fast that even a six-month-old process could be out-dated. 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.

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

— Huff­in­g­ton­post.

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