4 Things You Should Never Hear At Work
October 24, 2014

4 Things You Should Never Hear At Work

by Keith Brown

For good or bad, words we hear have a lasting impact. We have all heard statements from a boss or co-worker that keep us up at night, playing a never-ending loop in our mind. But rather than allowing them to haunt you, you should learn from them.


Do not always believe the words you hear at work, or take everything said by co-workers at face value.

Researchers at the American Psychological Association analyzed nearly 8,000 participants to find out how our brains process information. It found that people tend to avoid verbalizing information that contradicts what they already think or believe.

That means what you hear could be the result of a co-workers inability to process an opinion different than their own. I don’t know about you but I find it hard to enjoy working with a shortsighted individual.

Have you thought about the words you hear lately? Words can stay with people—for a long, long time. Words are powerful influencers. That’s why when you hear certain things at work, it could be a sign that something is wrong.

Here are 4 things you should never hear at work:

“I’m too busy”
If you live in America in the 21st century you’ve probably had to listen to a lot of people tell you how busy they are. There is a difference between being busy and being productive. Being wrapped up in our daily to-do list can cost us the perspective of the whole picture.

“I hate that client”
I know a young advertising Account Manager who was at dinner with a few friends. They had given one client a not-so-flattering nickname, and were cutting loose with a few drinks and laughs. Guess who was sitting in the booth behind him? The client’s niece, and she heard every word. When this Account Manager walked in to work on Monday morning, he walked right back out without a job. You never know who might be listening.

“It wasn’t my fault”
When you hear someone attempting to shift blame, it’s your first sign they are becoming detached from the team. In deflecting blame, they are only robbing your team of moving forward, and are creating resentment for throwing someone else under the bus.

“That’s fine with me”
The only thing worse than silence is when you hear half-hearted agreement. Remember that meeting you left feeling confident you heard alignment, only to find out all you heard were lies? When you hear forced consensus, it’s time to dive a little deeper to be sure everyone is on the same page.

The more you trust your intuition, the more empowered you become, the stronger you become, and the happier you become.

If you can successfully translate opinions into insights, it will help you better navigate the uncertain waters of the future.

What is one thing you hear people say at work that you wish you didn’t?

Keith Brown

Keith was a VP of Marketing at Aha! — the world’s #1 product development software.

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