Want To Be Respected At Work? Stop Saying These 3 Phrases

We know this isn’t news, but people judge you by the way you speak. And for recent graduates entering the workforces, you’re going to be some of the youngest amongst your coworkers. Not only are you low on the totem pole in your entry level job, but people will look at you, analyze you, and judge you. On everything.

Does this sound too cynical? I’m not trying to… it’s honestly just how the corporate world works when you’re a newbie—just trying to prepare you as much as possible!

But you know what? All of this doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter how many wrinkles you have, or how often you have to go get your grey roots colored. It doesn’t matter if you’re fresh out of college, or still living at home. You were hired (or are going to be hired) because you are competent and your manager sees success in you. Never be nervous to appear confident and treat other coworkers as peers.

Here’s what does matter… the words you use. As a new employee, you have to gain respect and trust. Your manager thinks your competent… so prove him or her right.

There are a few phrases you should avoid like the plague. Use of these can make you appear less confident, inadequate, and inexperienced…. And we don’t want that.

1. I hope to hear from you soon

Ending a message hoping they respond leaves too much of a window for them not to respond. This makes the recipient either not think the email is of high importance, or you doubt they will respond at all. Instead, end an email with “I look forward to hearing from you”. This shows you have confidences, as well as confidence in the conversation.

2. I don’t know

No one has the answers for everything… especially all the time. But if your manager or colleague asks you a question you don’t have the answer for, don’t say, “I don’t know”. Instead, respond with “I’m looking to answer that question as well.” Or state you are willing to do research to figure out the answer/solution and be proactive about it. It’s all about being a problem solver.

3. I have to ask my boss

There are plenty of things you have to get your boss to approve, sign-off, and review. No matter what position you are in, approval has to come from someone—but we don’t have to shout this out to the world. If a client is proposing a new project, instead of saying, “I have to ask my boss”, say, “This sounds like a great plan! Let me get with my team to discuss the process details before we move forward.” You’ll sound like you are involved in the decision-making process even though you don’t have the final call.

Curious to see how you rank as a leader? Check out our WorkCompass Leadership Survey to discover your strengths and weaknesses in leadership.


Denis Coleman

Denis Coleman is the founder and CEO of Work Compass, a cloud staff performance collaboration software platform that helps teams align their efforts with strategic goals and continuously improve performance. Frustrated with the disconnect between strategy setting and day to day execution and the lack of tools available to managers to help them be great at their most important function …. Aligning their teams activities with strategic goals and actively managing for high performance Denis spent over 5 years researching strategy execution and performance management practices before founding Work Compass to create a software solution. Denis has held senior roles in Ireland, Czech Republic and North America with high performing electronics manufacturing and professional services organisations for more than 12 years. Denis has worked as Finance Director responsible for €800 million in annual revenues for Flextronics International, Key Account Manager responsible for annual revenues of more than €600 million for Dovatron International and Management Consultant for BDO one of Europe’s most successful professional services providers.

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