In popular media, we are often reminded of the quintessential “water fountain” where employees use their downtime to shoot the breeze with each other.
While the water fountain example is outdated, anywhere and everywhere, people don’t stop short of letting each other know everything on their mind.
While small talk and friendly banter is a healthy way of unwinding from a stressful day, it is important to not become too loose with what you say because there is a time and place for everything, especially considering that you’re at work.
Employers expect a certain level of professionalism out of their employees and often dedicate a large portion to training on such matters during the onboarding stage for recruits.
While many comments are clear and blatant violations, some you probably didn’t know is against the code of conduct.
Today, we will fill you in on the details of comments you didn’t know that could land you in hot water! NOTE: Not political correctness, just situational awareness 100%.
Here are 6 comments you MUST avoid at work:
Some inappropriate comments in the workplace go without saying.
You can’t say things that are discriminatory in nature or fall into the category of sexual harassment or harassment. Still, some of these comments below actually might be against the code of conduct!
1. Have you heard ….(Gossip)?”
Let’s get this straight; no one likes to hear gossip or negative talk because it spreads and can affect others’ moods.
When you put that in the work environment, it can be a real drag on the cohesiveness, productivity, and trust of the whole team, to put it quite frankly.
You are better off keeping it to yourself before you stir up something you’d regret facing as a consequence!
2. “You’re Wrong.”
While this seems like something that would pass, it’s not appropriate in the workplace. Saying this blatantly is not only unprofessional but can make others feel inferior and stymie productive conversations needed to resolve particular tasks at hand.
People Skills 101 says that nobody likes to be told that they’re wrong, but if they are, say it in a way where you don’t stop thinking, consider what they have to say, where they’re coming from, and add more to get the ball rolling. No need to draw up unnecessary conflict!
Consider reading the book Crucial Conversations or John Maxwell’s Everyone Communicates, Few Connect to help you better learn to deal with these types of workplace scenarios!
3. “How much do you make? (to another co-worker)”
Curiosity is good in some places, not so good in others.
Asking co-workers how much they make is not only an off-color question but also is unprofessional. This question puts others in an awkward position that can and will open up a can of worms in the form of resentment and even retaliation toward higher leadership.
Not a smart move, and some company by-laws do not permit this type of talk! Keeping the integrity of a company together means not talking about how much each other makes, which can cause envy!
4. “This is not how I learned it!”
Innovation is a common theme in this day and age, and methods on how we do things will inevitably change. Saying this is not only being closed-minded but also being dismissive, which comes off as disrespectful.
Indirectly, you might as well say, “Why should I do it this way?” and no one wants to work with someone who has that mentality!
Open yourself up to new styles of learning, be adaptable, and you’ll blow your mind with what you can learn if you apply yourself!
5. “That’s not my job!”
Sometimes, you might be assigned tasks that you are not accustomed to because help is needed. Unless there are serious merits for you not to do it, don’t drag your feet unnecessarily, and don’t say, “That is not my job.”
This makes you come across as not only rude but actually, it may mean you are insubordinate. The Boss-worker relationship is paramount to you furthering your career in your industry. Let’s be honest; nobody will move on to higher levels if they are stubborn and defiant for no reason.
No work is below you, so answer the call if needed! Now keep in mind, this doesn’t mean you don’t have any recourse if, for some reason, you truly feel you’re being targeted or given job duties out of your scope of expertise.
If, for some reason, you feel as though there is an abuse of power from leadership, you can talk to HR or file a complaint with the Department of Labor.
6. “What do you want?”
Someone approaches your desk at work; you wouldn’t say, “What do you want?”
While this is a very informal way of asking your annoying neighbor at home what they need at work, it is frowned upon to ask a condescending question.
Saying this can be interpreted as not interested in listening to what others have to say, which can condition others not to speak up if they need your help. A sure way to damage professional relationships and disrupt productivity, creating these types of friction is frowned upon.
There is a straightforward alternative that doesn’t do any harm, “How can I help you?” Why say the former in the first place? Simple solutions that don’t require a ton of thinking!
While it is desired that you can let your hair down at work, it is important to remember that being at work is not the same as being at home!
First and foremost, one of the main duties any employee has is to uphold the code of conduct in the workplace, and through workplace professionalism, we can do just that.
Take into account other people, co-workers, boss, clients, etc., and ask yourself when you speak, “Is this a respectable way to speak?” and if so, go for it, but if not, think again before you do something you will regret in the future.