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5 Words Or Phrases That Will Upset Your Coworkers

5 Words Or Phrases That Will Upset Your Coworkers

Yes, the workplace can truly be a jungle. You really have to watch your written and spoken language when it comes to your coworkers because if you don’t, you might find that your coworkers are upset and sulky. A recent survey of 1,000 UK workers found that 65% thought that good working relationships with coworkers were essential if they were to remain happy and productive in the workplace.

Basically, that means a collaborative environment where envy, hatred, blind ambition and one-upmanship are all held in check for the good of everyone. If not, colleagues may get anxious, bad tempered and suffer from high blood pressure. It’s a health issue. Just look at this Reddit thread on what co-workers can do to make life downright unhealthy.

Here are some of the most common words and phrases that are going to raise people’s blood pressure and put them at risk. Just in case you use some of these, why not tone them down or cut them out altogether? You might get a few more smiles when you arrive in the morning.

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1. Urgent

Keep this one for real emergencies. Everyone is under a lot of pressure so why increase it? Adding this to your emails and sometimes even putting it in capitals is a type of terrorism which is going to backfire on you. Nobody will believe you after a while. It’s a bit like crying “wolf” – you know the story.

I had a boss who loved sending me emails like that. I can honestly say that my anxiety levels soared and she also had this awful habit of sending them all in one batch. I was admitted to hospital (no kidding!) and doctors discovered that it was not a heart attack – just anxiety. That chest pain was really scary, I can tell you. Urgent should only be used when the word is necessary.

2. We

When “we” is used correctly to communicate collaboration in teamwork, it rocks. But when you use it to tell the boss that “we came up with this great idea” when it was actually not your idea at all, then the real owner of the idea starts to fume internally. Collaboration and teamwork are cool but when you steal credit for a really good idea, then you might notice a drop in the temperature around you and a few glacial stares. Now, you would never do a thing like that, would you?

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“If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.” – George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

3. Me

Substitute “me” with “I” and use either term all the time and watch your coworkers getting agitated. If you like the limelight and you think you are a star, you might like to consider a change of strategy. Blowing your own trumpet is just plain noisy. Results are what count, not your propaganda and brainwashing skills.

I love the one-liner from this year’s Edinburgh Festival when Ally Houston says:-

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“Let me tell you a little about myself. It’s a reflexive pronoun that means “me”.

4. Meetings

Did you cringe when you read this word? Mention this word or read about the next meeting in your inbox and your heart starts to beat a little faster. What is it about meetings that make them universally hated? Usually, nothing gets done and the show offs get into the spotlight again. One UK survey shows that we waste 16 hours a week or a whole year of our working lives on these meetings.

“He (Warren Buffett) doesn’t let his calendar get filled up with useless meetings.”- Bill Gates

If you are a manager, set time limits and stick to them. If you a team member, suggest that meetings are only called when action plans need to be finalized or decisions have to be made. Go for tech free meetings so that people actually listen rather than consult their smartphones and laptops.

5. I’m not racist, but……

You are making a disclaimer and following it by an offensive remark so, of course, your coworkers are going to shudder, roll their eyes or just avoid you at the water cooler. Substitute the word “racist “ with “sexist”, “homophobic” or whatever and you are the one who is more likely to offend a large number of colleagues and their friends. When you finish by saying, “Some of my best friends are black/gay, etc”. then you really have put your foot in it. You are just flaunting your prejudices and trying to marginalize minority groups by making ridiculous generalizations.

Can you think of any other words or phrases that really annoy or upset your coworkers? Tell us why you stopped using them in the comments.

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Featured photo credit: DS Meetings at HQ/Jim Larrison via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on June 5, 2020

10 Huge Differences Between a Boss And a Leader

10 Huge Differences Between a Boss And a Leader

When you try to think of a leader at your place of work, you might think of your boss — you know, the supervisor in the tasteful office down the hall.

However, bosses are not the only leaders in the office, and not every boss has mastered the art of excellent leadership. Maybe the best leader you know is the co-worker sitting at the desk next to yours who is always willing to loan out her stapler and help you problem solve.

You see, a boss’s main priority is to efficiently cross items off of the corporate to-do list, while a true leader both completes tasks and works to empower and motivate the people he or she interacts with on a daily basis.

A leader is someone who works to improve things instead of focusing on the negatives. People acknowledge the authority of a boss, but people cherish a true leader.

Puzzled about what it takes to be a great leader? Let’s take a look at the difference between a boss and a leader, and why cultivating quality leadership skills is essential for people who really want to make a positive impact.

1. Leaders Are Compassionate; Bosses Are Cold

It can be easy to equate professionalism with robot-like impersonal behavior. Many bosses stay holed up in their offices and barely ever interact with staff.

Even if your schedule is packed, you should always make time to reach out to the people around you. Remember that when you ask someone to share how they are feeling, you should be prepared to be vulnerable and open in your communication as well.

Does acting human at the office sound silly? It’s not.

A lack of compassion in the office leads to psychological turmoil, whereas positive connection leads to healthier staff.[1]

If people feel that you are being open, honest, and compassionate with them, they will feel able to approach your office with what is on their minds, leading to a more productive and stress-free work environment.

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2. Leaders Say “We”; Bosses Say “I”

Practice developing a team-first mentality when thinking and speaking. In meetings, talk about trying to meet deadlines as a team instead of using accusatory “you” phrases. This makes it clear that you are a part of the team, too, and that you are willing to work hard and support your team members.

Let me explain:

A “we” mentality shifts the office dynamic from “trying to make the boss happy” to a spirit of teamwork, goal-setting, and accomplishment.

A “we” mentality allows for the accountability and community that is essential in the modern-day workplace.

3. Leaders Invest in People; Bosses Use People

Unfortunately, many office climates involve people using others to get what they want or to climb the corporate ladder. This is another example of the “me first” mentality that is so toxic in both office environments and personal relationships.

Instead of using others or focusing on your needs, think about how you can help other people grow.

Use your building blocks of compassion and team-mentality to stay attuned to the needs of others and note the areas in which you can help them develop. A great leader wants to see his or her people flourish.

Make a list of ways you can invest in your team members to help them develop personally and professionally, and then take action!

4. People Respect Leaders; People Fear Bosses

Earning respect from everyone on your team will take time and commitment, but the rewards are worth every ounce of effort.

A boss who is a poor leader may try to control the office through fear and bully-like behavior. Employees who are petrified about their performance or who feel overwhelmed and stressed by unfair deadlines are probably working for a boss who uses a fear system instead of a respect system.

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What’s the bottom line?

Work to build respect among your team by treating everyone with fairness and kindness. Maintain a positive tone and stay reliable for those who approach you for help.

5. Leaders Give Credit Where It’s Due; Bosses Only Take Credit

Looking for specific ways to gain respect from your colleagues and employees? There is no better place to start than with the simple act of giving credit where it is due.

Don’t be tempted to take credit for things you didn’t do, and always go above and beyond to generously acknowledge those who worked on a project and performed well.

You might be wondering how you can get started:

  • Begin by simply noticing which team member contributes what during your next project at work.
  • If possible, make mental notes. Remember that these notes should not be about ways in which team members are failing, but about ways in which they are excelling.
  • Depending on your leadership style, let people know how well they are doing either in private one-on-one meetings or in a group setting. Be honest and generous in your communication about a person’s performance.

6. Leaders See Delegation as Their Best Friend; Bosses See It as an Enemy

If delegation is a leader’s best friend, then micromanagement is the enemy.

Delegation equates to trust, and micromanagement equates to distrust. Nothing is more frustrating for an employee than feeling that his or her every movement is being critically observed.

Encourage trust in your office by delegating important tasks and acknowledging that your people are capable, smart individuals who can succeed!

Delegation is a great way to cash in on the positive benefits of a psychological phenomenon called the self-fulfilling prophecy. In a self-fulfilling prophecy, a person’s expectations of another person can cause the expectations to be fulfilled.[2]

In other words, if you truly believe that your team member can handle a project or task, he or she is more likely to deliver.

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You can learn more about how to delegate in my other article: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders).

7. Leaders Work Hard; Bosses Let Others Do the Work

Delegation is not an excuse to get out of hard work. Instead of telling people to go accomplish the hardest work alone, make it clear that you are willing to pitch in and help with the most difficult tasks when the need arises.

Here’s the deal:

Showing others that you work hard sets the tone for your whole team and will spur them on to greatness.

The next time you catch yourself telling someone to “go,” a.k.a accomplish a difficult task alone, change your phrasing to “let’s go,” showing that you are totally willing to help and support them.

8. Leaders Think Long-Term; Bosses Think Short-Term

A leader who only utilizes short-term thinking is someone who cannot be prepared or organized for the future. Your colleagues or staff members need to know that they can trust you to have a handle on things not just this week, but next month or even next year.

Display your long-term thinking skills in group talks and meetings by sharing long-term hopes or concerns. Create plans for possible scenarios and be prepared for emergencies.

For example, if you know that you are losing someone on your team in a few months, be prepared to share a clear plan of how you and the remaining team members can best handle the change and workload until someone new is hired.

9. Leaders Are Like Colleagues; Bosses Are Just Bosses

Another word for a colleague is a collaborator. Make sure your team knows that you are “one of them” and that you want to collaborate or work side by side.

Not getting involved in the going ons of the office is a mistake because you will miss out on development and connection opportunities.

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As our regular readers know, I love to remind people of the importance of building routines into each day. Create a routine that encourages you to leave your isolated office and collaborate with others. Spark healthy habits that benefit both you and your co-workers.

10. Leaders Put People First; Bosses Put Results First

Bosses without crucial leadership training may focus on process and results instead of people. They may stick to a pre-set systems playbook, even when employees voice new ideas or concerns.

Ignoring people’s opinions for the sake of company tradition like this is never truly beneficial to an organization.

Here’s what I mean by process over people:

Some organizations focus on proper structures or systems as their greatest assets instead of people. I believe that people lend real value to an organization, and that focusing on the development of people is a key ingredient for success in leadership.

Final Thoughts

Learning to be a leader is an ongoing adventure.

This list of differences makes it clear that, unlike an ordinary boss, a leader is able to be compassionate, inclusive, generous, and hard-working for the good of the team.

Instead of being a stereotypical scary or micromanaging-obsessed boss, a quality leader is able to establish an atmosphere of respect and collaboration.

Whether you are new to your work environment or a seasoned administrator, these leadership traits will help you get a jump start so that you can excel as a leader and positively impact the people around you.

For more inspiration and guidance, you can even start keeping tabs on some of the world’s top leadership experts. With an adventurous and positive attitude, anyone can learn good leadership.

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Featured photo credit: Brooke Lark via unsplash.com

Reference

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