Career Guide

Top 10 things never to say to your boss

Saying this suggests that you possess short-sighted thinking, and are indifferent and lacking in effort. Instead of proclaiming that something is impossible, rather suggest a solution or alternative. Always speak about what CAN be done. Instead of saying “It’s impossible to get this done by Friday” try: “We can definitely get this done by Monday”.

This statement translates into “I don’t want to do this”. If you realise you are extended beyond your capacity, it is preferable to advise your boss that this extra task may conflict with other work. Rather, discuss prioritising your tasks with your boss.

The only constant thing in life is change. As a result, you may find your boss wanting to try new things. When a brainstorming session takes place, be open to new ideas. Don’t quash new ideas with negativity.

More often than not, your boss doesn’t want to find out whose fault it is; he just wants the problem fixed. When you say it’s not your fault, you sound as if you don’t want to fix the problem. This behaviour suggests to your boss that you are unreliable and not trust-worthy.

Refusing to work with a particular colleague is a statement that may mark you as difficult. This is not an impression you want to create with your boss. Instead, say, “I find it hard to work well with so-and-so, do you have any advice on how I can resolve this situation?”

Going along the lines of questions to be avoided, this definitely tops the list. This questions the authority and judgement of your boss. If your boss has asked you to do it, they must deem it sufficiently important.

While asking questions is important and definitely encouraged, some questions should be avoided. No boss wants you to spend an hour doing a meaningless project. Questioning the relevance of a project can be time-wasting.

This statement serves no other purpose at all but to whine and complain. Saying this clearly shows a bad attitude, and suggests to your boss that you hold yourself in high regard and are also unwilling to follow instructions.

The bottom-line is that there is a problem and your boss is looking for someone to take responsibility for the solution. This means he already knows it’s not your problem, so spare him the reminder. Saying this shows your boss that you are unconcerned with matters outside of your own defined responsibilities.

Even if you are, you are at work. So roll up your sleeves and get the job done. Do it yourself or delegate – just get it done! Anything less will prove you are actually not qualified to get things done – the opposite of the message you were trying to get across!