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February 3, 2017

Never Say This to Your Manager!

Have you ever said something and instantly regretted it?

Everyone has.

What happens if your verbal slip-up was in front of your manager, or worse, directed to your manager?No

Negative comments, inappropriate suggestions, and blurting criticism can damage your relationship with your manager and may even harm your career. Here are some statements to avoid.

  • “That’s not my job.” No manager wants to hear this statement—even if it’s true. Demonstrate your ability to be flexible and a team player doing what needs to be done for the good of your team and department. If the request affects deadlines, describe possible negative consequences and suggest an alternative.
  • “I’ll try.” This statement shows a lack of confidence in your ability to accomplish something. It’s a “weasel” word used when someone thinks they might fail. It lets them say, “At least I tried” when they do. Ask questions about the scope of the request to reassure yourself that you can do it. As Master Yoda said, “Do or do not. There is no try.”
  • “I can’t work with [name].” This statement shows reluctance to be a team player. Your department’s success relies on your team’s ability to work together and get results. You won’t like everyone you work with, but you must find a way to get along with them by looking past any personal idiosyncrasies and dislike to forge a productive relationship with them.

Think before you speak. You’ve heard this before—usually after you’ve said something you shouldn’t have. The key is to take a breath before you open your mouth, especially when you want to jump in and comment. Just take a breath and consider the effect of what you are about to say. This pause can ensure that what you say won’t derail your career or damage your relationship with your manager.

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