There are quick responses we’ve all likely used at some point at work. They’re common and feel safe but could they really be sabotaging your potential success? Think about what you really mean and instead, choose to speak your mind on a positive level.

  1. That is so unfair. Passive complaining won’t get you far, especially if you’re doing it publicly. If you feel like something is really out of balance, prepare the facts and present them to the person who can help.
  2. With all due respect. This is a statement that’s said typically before an insulting comment.
  3. That’s impossible. Of course it is. Be a problem solver, not a problem creator. Speak in terms of what can be done , not what cannot. Have you really tried every possible solution already?
  4. I’m too busy. Everyone’s busy. But don’t disregard others. No one wants to feel like their problem is not important. If you really can’t help that moment, schedule the time, right there, to follow-up.
  5. I don’t know. Replace this with, “I’m going to do some research and find out.”
  6. But it’s always the way we’ve done it. Are you worried that a new approach won’t work? Share your concerns but don’t just shoot an idea down because it’s new. Instead, say “In order to make this work, we will have to…”
  7. I don’t make enough money to do that. Please stop saying that!! If your concerned, work to do something about it. There’s always an alternative.
  8. It’s not my fault. Act like a professional. Don’t waste any time playing the blame game. It’s often better to take ownership of the situation and then work towards a resolution. 
  9. That’s not my job. Lame.
  10. I’ll try but… Get the job done.
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