Five Things You Should Never Say To Your Boss

Unless you don’t want a promotion. Ever.



Everyone wants the attention of their boss, right? Unless you’re getting attention for all the wrong reasons, that is. While you might not realise it, saying these five common phrases can practically guarantee that your boss removes you from their “Deserves A Promotion” list. Avoid saying these like the plague…

1. “I can’t do it”

So you’ve come up against a really difficult situation at work and right now there’s no solution in sight. Even if you feel doomed, never admit you’re feeling this way to your manager. “Bosses like positive and proactive employees that have a can-do attitude. Rather than showing negativity to how challenging a task is, try to offer solutions,” explains career expert Melissa Johnston. “Talk through options with your boss to show them that you are up for the challenge.”

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2. “I want whatever you want”

It’s human nature to want to please other people, right? But if your boss asks you for your opinion and you reply with, “I’m happy with whatever you reckon”, it won’t win them over. At all. “You don’t want your boss to think that you are a wallflower who has no interesting ideas or opinions. If you have a well thought out point of view it’s good to voice your opinion in an appropriate and professional way,” explains Melissa.

If you’re a little shy in group situations and need more time to formulate your opinion, explain that you’ll email them shortly with your ideas and be sure to follow through with your promise. Got an opinion that’s totally opposed to your boss’? Go about telling them in a tactful and non-condescending way.

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3. “You never told me to do it”

Sure, when someone asks you whether you’ve done something that they never specifically asked you to do, it can be pretty bloody annoying. While you might want to retort with, “do I look like a mind reader?” – hold off. If they were enquiring about something you probably should’ve thought to do, you’ll need to edit your response.

“Getting defensive and saying this phrase could give your boss the impression that you don’t use your initiative, are not accountable and do not accept responsibility for your job,” explains Melissa. “Next time it happens (and if it’s appropriate) say something like, ‘I’m sorry for that oversight. Can I rectify/complete this for you now?’”

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4. “I’m so tired”

It doesn’t matter how close you are to your boss, yawning constantly and stating that you’re soooo tired isn’t going to win you sympathy (even if your hungover self wants it!). The key here? Be more aware of that invisible line between “work” and “play”.

“It’s always a good idea not to share too much detail of your personal or social life with your boss,” explains Melissa. “Saying ‘I’m so sleepy’ may make them think that you can’t cope with the demands of your job, that you are being unproductive at work or are unmotivated.” Goodbye promotion…

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5. “That’s not my job”

If your boss asks you to do something outside of your job description, chances are it’s because they think you’re capable and want to see how you handle the task. Telling them that “it’s not in your job description” isn’t going to evoke a happy response.

“Employees who pigeon hole their work duties to what is only in their job description could be perceived as detached, unconcerned and inflexible and could therefore limit their career opportunities within an organisation,” explains Melissa. If they’re asking you do to something well out of your capabilities, pull them aside, express you concern and see if there are any other tasks you could handle.

So, have you ever said any of these doozies?

By Edwina Carr

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