Developing quality relationships with your coworkers and boss takes effort. One of the things you need to watch in order to protect these relationships is your words and speech patterns. You probably remember being told to “use your words wisely” as a child. There are some words and speech habits, however, that you should not use at work.
“I can’t believe he got that raise…” “She’s a terrible leader…” Not only is complaining unprofessional, it tears down your attitude and the attitudes of those around you. It’s one of the fastest ways to make your reputation crash and burn. No one wants to be around someone who complains and never seeks a solution to their problems. If you have an issue with someone, then you need to address them. Maybe you perceived your boss as being harsh; go and talk with him or her. You may have been passed over for a promotion. Don’t be envious of your coworker. Instead, be willing to congratulate them. Whether you’re able to fix your problem or not, never complain to others at work.
Sharing about bodily ailments beyond a headache or a cold falls into the too much information (TMI) category. Getting too personal and talking about your latest relationship difficulties should be left out of your office conversations too. If you have a close relationship with a coworker, then some of that information can be shared with them. But please, don’t broadcast your many and in-depth personal issues to the office.
Just as complaining can result in a loss of credibility, so does gossip. In fact, gossip is an even quicker career killer. A gossip is apparently unable to keep information to themselves, and so lacks discretion. You wouldn’t trust a gossip, so why would your boss or your coworkers? Don’t give in to the urge to tell someone when you know a piece of information. Protect your reputation and say ‘no’ to this urge.
This should be a no-brainer, but it is still a regular visitor at many offices. If a joke could be offensive to a group of people, then don’t tell it. It’s not worth the few uneasy chuckles you might get to insult someone and damage your relationship with them. Steer clear of crude or rude jokes. They’re really not funny.
A boss or coworker may request something of you that seems unreasonable or isn’t within your immediate job description. Rather than quickly shutting them down, consider their request. If you feel it clashes with your workload, explain that to them. Be willing to hear them out, but also know how to communicate the stress it would put on you. If you can help them out with some or all of their request, don’t be unwilling to do a little extra work. Helping a boss or a coworker fosters goodwill, which is always good to have at a workplace.
Using slang is unprofessional in the workplace, even if it’s your normal way of speaking. If it becomes too much of a pattern, it can seep into your speech when it really counts, such as a presentation to the board or in communication with clients.
Help yourself out, and keep others from discounting you because of poor speech habits. Be professional and courteous at work. Set the pattern for respectful and meaningful interactions at your workplace and show yourself a leader worth following.
Suzanne Sherriff MIRP
Suzanne leads a team dealing with temporary jobs. Having started her recruitment career in 2005, she has over a decade of recruitment experience. Suzanne works across all of the agency’s core industries on temporary, contract and interim roles. She places a big emphasis on delivery and accountability and never gives …