Honesty is the best policy in the workplace — but like any rule, this one has a few exceptions.
“It’s important to be cautious with what you say to your boss, as even the slightest slip-up could make or break your career,” says Ryan Kahn, a career coach, founder of The Hired Group, and author of “Hired! The Guide for the Recent Grad.”
Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and the author of “Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job,” agrees. “There are certain comments and questions based on negative perspectives that can set you back with your boss,” she says. “If they continue unabated, these phrases can sabotage an otherwise great job.”
A good practice is to first pause before blurting out something you might regret to examine what you’re trying to achieve and the likely reaction you’ll get from your boss.
“If you think you may regret it, you probably will,” Taylor says. “Better to err on the side of waiting until you can crystallize your thoughts into a more palatable and professional dialogue.”
Aside from the obvious — like profanity and insults — here are the words and phrases you should never utter to your boss:
SEE ALSO: 17 things you should never say on your first day at work
“Openly criticizing or pointing out your boss’ mistake is a sure way to be excluded from future meetings or ignored the next time you raise your hand to speak,” says Rosalinda Oropeza Randall, an etiquette and civility expert and author of “Don’t Burp in the Boardroom.“
If you feel your boss has made an error, there are better ways of addressing this, she explains.
You might say, “I may be misinformed on this one, but I was under the impression that …” This prompts them to reconsider and correct the information if necessary without putting up their defenses. “Whatever phrase you use, say it with a helpful and cordial tone,” Randall says.
A “can-do” attitude is always a valued trait. “I can’t” shows both a lack of confidence and unwillingness to take chances — neither of which will endear you to management, says Taylor.
‘That’s not part of my job’
No job description is ever set in stone. “As cross-functional teams remain the order of the day, you’re expected to be flexible and make your boss’ life easier,” Taylor explains. “As a side note, the more skill sets you accumulate, the more indispensable you are.”
Saying that you’re not willing to go beyond your role shows that you are also not willing to pitch in for the success of the company, Kahn adds.
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