10 Phrases That Make You Look Weak In The Office
Power suit? Check. Advanced degree? Check. Swagger? Check. Watch out world, you’ve got power written all over you. But, open your mouth and utter one of these phrases and you can kiss all that perceived confidence straight out the window:
10. “Sorry, but I think…”
What are you apologizing for? If you’re going to tell us what you think, don’t be sorry about it.
9. “I live to work.”
Hobbies and extracurricular activities aren’t just for college applications. Play a sport, go to the museum, have something to talk about other than your work. Also, getting out of your head (or at least the office) once in a while will help you decompress and engage your creativity a little bit.
8. “I don’t have time.”
Learn to manage your schedule so that even if you don’t have the time to do something, you’re able to find a way to get the task accomplished. Hire someone to do the work or appoint a manager.
7. “That [person/department/group] doesn’t have to, so why should I?”
This stopped being a viable excuse when you learned to put on your big boy pants. Control what you can control and don’t waste your energy whining about what others are or aren’t doing.
6. “I had nothing to do with that.”
Failure to take ownership of mistakes as well as successes shows a lack of confidence. Own the decisions you make, whether they prove to be good ones or not. Also, don’t jump ship the second you hit an iceberg (we saw how well that worked out, didn’t we?). People want to work with a leader so don’t just abandon them.
5. “I’ve always done it that way.”
Innovation in industry and growth are about pushing boundaries and not doing things the way you have always done them. Don’t limit yourself to the status quo, come up with a new solution. Cut off the legs of a pair of pantyhose á la Sara Blakely and invent something! You may not create a billion-dollar business, but you sure as hell will get farther in your career.
4. “I didn’t think about that.”
Big news, my friend, but you’ve actually been hired to think. Well, unless you’re dancing for tips, but that’s another article. So do it. Think. Sure you won’t have all of the answers, but you damn well better try to think about the answers. And if you don’t have the answer (it could happen), admit it and set out your plan for finding a solution. People want to work with a man with a plan.
3. “That’s not my department/job.”
A lack of a desire to develop new skills or work outside of your comfort zone is a huge turnoff to your boss and clients. Show a little flexibility and flaunt some of your less obvious talents. There is a time and place for rigidity (I think), but this isn’t it.
2. “I guess.”
This is the equivalent of giving someone a wimpy handshake and leaves you reeking of uncertainty. If you can’t commit, or don’t understand what is being asked of you, do something about it. Communication is vital to workplace success, and a half-assed response like this will make others question why they’ve hired you.
1. “I didn’t learn that in school.”
If you thought donning a cap and gown and walking across a stage was the end of your education, you have bigger issues than I can address in this article. The weakness in this statement isn’t in what you don’t know, it’s that you don’t have the slightest interest in learning. With a few exceptions, the majority of what it takes to be successful in business has nothing to do with what you did or didn’t learn in school. But if you’re going to limit yourself to what you learned in school, you might as well sound the death knell, because your career is toast.
Do you sense a theme here? Confidence is key. Ownership is vital. And for God’s sake, bring something unexpected to the table.