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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 November 19, 2019

Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

I imagine that like me, you say that you never have enough time and that you just cannot cope with 60 dozen things all at once.

How on earth do you get out of that spiral?

Many people never sit down and look at how to work smarter, rather than harder and even longer hours. But not you, you’re smart enough to try to learn effective ways to work.

So how to work smarter not harder? Here are 12 smart ways you should be following:

1. Improve Your Time Management Skills

Easier said than done? Well, no actually, because there are a few simple rules that can really help you to manage time better.

For example, when setting up a top priority task, you need to switch off the phone and ignore your email first. Then you need to abandon any ideas of multitasking as that will slow you down and ruin your focus.

Finally, set a reasonable deadline and do everything in your power to meet it.

“When you’re born, you’re born with 30,000 days. That’s it. The best strategic planning I can give to you is to think about that.” — Sir Ray Avery

2. Speed up Your Typing and Use Shortcuts

These days we’re all keyboard slaves. So why not speed up your typing and try to get rid of the two finger syndrome. In fact, when you save 21 days per year just by typing fast!

This is exactly what I am doing now, so I cannot honestly say I am practicing what I preach!

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But help is at hand. Try some of these apps and games to help you type fast: 8 Most Effective Games and Apps to Learn to Type Fast

Using shortcuts on the keyboard is another time saver and can speed up your work.

For example, press F2 to rename a selected file, while CTRL + I will put selected text in italics.

There are so many of these. If you make the effort to learn them, they really can be helpful.

3. Learn How to Use Productivity Tools

It is well worth downloading all the useful tools and apps that can highly boost your productivity. Take a look at these 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools and install whatever fits your needs.

Now that is really a great way of working smarter, not harder.

4. Use Your Phone Wisely

Instead of writing emails, sometimes it’s better to pick up the phone and talk to the person responsible. It saves time, especially for important or urgent discussions.

If that colleague works in the same office, it is even better to go and talk to him or her. It gives you a break, you get some exercise and you actually make human contact which is becoming quite rare in this electronic world.

5. Keep a Tab on Your Tabs

If you are like me, you might well find that you have a ton of tabs open at the top of your browser.

In order to find the one you want, you have to search for them as they are off screen. Having all these tabs open slows down your browser too.

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One solution is to use OneTab which can keep a neat list on the screen of all these tabs when you want to quickly get to one of them or you want to remind yourself which ones you have open.

6. Use a “To Don’t” List

We all know about to do lists and I find that they are generally great. They give me a great sense of achievement as I cross off the tasks done.

But often, I find that we are doing non-essential tasks or ones that can easily be postponed. That is why many people recommend the to don’t list.[1]

Some people prefer to savagely prune the to do list while others prefer to have two separate lists, to do and to don’t. You just have to work out what works best for you when you are trying to save precious time to become more productive.

7. Expect Failure and Fight Paranoia

When failure rears its ugly head, some people get a bit paranoid and fear that this may become a trend.

Projects will go wrong and failure should be expected rather than feared. Learning lessons from failure and analyzing what went wrong is the best way forward.

“Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” — Richard Branson

And here you can find 10 Great Lessons Highly Successful People Have Learned From Failure.

8. Be Concise

Rambling on at meetings, in emails and even when introducing yourself to new clients can waste a lot of people’s time.

One way is to practice and sharpen your “elevator speech,”[2] which tells people in 30 seconds or less why they need your skills and how they can benefit from doing business with you.

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Just think of the many situations where this could be useful:

  • Making new contacts
  • Talking about yourself at a job interview
  • Meeting people at conferences or parties
  • Phone calls to new clients

9. Ask the Right Questions

“You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” — Naguib Mahfouz

How do you get feedback? The secret is to ask the right questions at the right time.

When you do this, you are gathering the information you need to help in decision making. This will save you time and you will be able to cut meetings to a minimum.

Forbes magazine reports on research that they carried out on asking the right questions.[3] When that happens, the positive effects are increased by 400%. There are also other benefits in staff motivation and a positive impact on the company’s bottom line.

Lifehack’s CEO Leon has shared about how to ask for feedback to learn faster: How to Learn Quickly And Master Any Skill You Want

10. Learn as Much as You Can

You should always be on a steep learning curve. Look at your skills profile and determine where you need to fill a gap. Talk to important connections and network in your niche.

Keep up to date on trends and developments. It is a fact-changing world. When an opportunity arises, you will be the best equipped to seize it because you have never stopped learning. Just another way of working smarter.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” — Mahatma Gandhi

11. Look After Your Greatest Resource

No, your greatest resource is not time. It is YOU.

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If you do not get enough sleep, exercise and relaxation, you find that you become less and less productive. You begin to work longer and longer hours, which is the exact opposite of what you want.

What you should be doing is making sure you are in the best shape. It is useful to remember that you need a break of 15 minutes after every one and a half hours of work.[4]

Taking breaks and getting fresh air and exercise is one of the best ways of working smarter, not harder.

12. Don’t Fall into the Trap of Working Smarter and Harder

As a society, we are obsessed with doing everything smarter so we are more efficient and we save time all around.[5]

But the most important thing to remember is to accept when we are ready to switch off that computer and not fill up the time with even more work!

The Bottom Line

The key to greater productivity is to work smarter, not harder. Working smarter saves precious time and energy for the things that really matter — your life goals, your personal growth, your health and your relationships.

Stop working for more hours and start working smarter!

More About Working Smart

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

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