Leaders- Avoid these 9 Phrases for Productivity and Team Culture

Posted On: March 14, 2017

Whether you are a business consultant or manager, there are certain phrases that you simply need to avoid at workplace. Not only these statements create a negative impression about you. Words once uttered are like a bullet fired they can never be taken back.

I am not talking about those lame jokes or unforgivable social gaffes here. Rather, it is those avoidable remarks that characterize you as a short tempered, impulsive and incompetent leader. Regardless of how successful you are with projects and deliveries , these statements can alter the way people see you, for ever.

You have to realize that your team sees you as a role model of how they should behave in different situations. As a leader, you have to be especially cautious while choosing your statements. They should be empowering to yourself as well as others, to excel at their jobs and achieve results for the organization.

Uttering these below phrases is a big No No for your career as a successful leader or consultant:

1. “This is the way it’s always been done”:

This makes you sound like a rigid and stiff necked leader who is reluctant to go above and beyond. Simply because something has been done the same way for a long time, doesn’t mean it is forbidden to change it for better. Technology is evolving so rapidly that processes which are relevant today, become worthless next day. No matter how optimised your process is, there is always scope of improvement.

2. “That’s not my Job”: Business leaders who say”:

“this is not my responsibility”, don’t feel empowered to make decisions. They don’t have a team player’s mindset. They just mark the checklist of things to be done and put minimal required efforts to collect the paycheck. Being a leader, accountability and responsibility are your indispensable traits. You have an obligation to go beyond your job description to enhance team development and organizational productivity.You have to set an example by doing.

3. “That’s not my fault”:

In an increasingly blame driven culture, people spend more time finding out who is at fault. They focus on shifting the blame, instead of looking ways to solve the problem. Phrases like: “it’s not my fault” are too immature for you to express in workplace . Your duty as a leader is to assume responsibility and find ways to fix the obstacles. It doesn’t really help whose fault it was. Does it?

4. “This is not Possible” :

Have you looked at every single possible solution before saying that? Even if you feel that something cannot be done, you should never say it this way. A negative phrase like this makes you sound pessimistic leader. Every task easy or difficult is a step towards achieving business goals. You should always be speaking in terms of solving problems. So instead of saying it is not possible, say “This is not an Easy task.We will innovate and look for possible solutions and explore their feasibility. A nice challenge to have! ”

5. “I didn’t find time to do that”:

It is better to be proactive and complete the task before deadline, instead of saying “I didn’t find time”. If you think the said task cannot be completed within given time frame, then explicitly state when the task will be done. Never over promise in first place and later try to make excuses for delay.Advance intimation and realigning such tasks to future dates must become a habit of every member of your team being led by you by seeing you do it.

6. “I assumed so and so”:

Never be so absent minded and start assuming relevant facts related to any given assignment. It is poor visualization and lack of understanding that leads to such mistakes. As a leader, always be detail oriented and precise in your analysis of the task. Leave no room for miscommunication by asking intelligent questions, clarifying doubts and resolving confusions, if any. Never ever say I thought so

7. “No one told me”:

This is the favorite phrase of toxic or reactionary leaders to justify their carelessness. Saying “no one told me” is an attempt to hide behind excuses and save oneself by shifting the responsibility on peers. Don’t count on other people for important information that you need. Be a take charge manager who proactively reaches out to each individual involved who can add value in the process of completing the assigned tasks.

8. “I will try”:

The statement is so apathetic as well as tentative that it almost sounds like failure. It is just the opposite of the common saying Work well begun is half done. When you speak like this, it exposes your disengagement at work . “I will try” sounds unconvincing and as though you will not push hard enough to achieve the set goals. If you are uninspiring and down beat leader commanding respect from your team will not be possible.

9. “This is not fair”:

Saying: “this is not fair” makes you sound like a whiny teenager showing tendency to be quickly provoked. Whether it is protesting about raise at work, or comparing your salary with coworkers, if you allow this thought to creep into your mind, it will ruin your optimism and poison your attitude. Appreciate what you have or take responsibility to change it. Complaining about life’s unfairness will lead you nowhere.

The takeaway is to catch yourself every single time you blurt out any of these phrases at your workplace. If you know of more such phrases which I have missed I will be more than eager to collect them and present them in a sequel to this article.

I wish you luck in your journey to becoming a successful leader.

Anand Damani Author at Medium

Serial Entrepreneur, Business Advisor, and Philosopher of Humanism

Writes about Human Behaviour, Universal Morality, Philosophy, Psychology, and Societal Issues.

Anand aims to help complete and spread the knowledge about Universal Human Values and facilitate their practice across sex, age, culture, religion, ethnicity, etc.

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