12 Things You Should Never Say At Work (and what to say instead)

Posted on 9th Jan, 2017 by Barbara Davidson

Office politics can be a tricky affair. It’s easy to say the wrong thing when you’re under stress or you feel you’ve been treated unfairly.

Maybe you’ve caused offense by criticizing someone in an unconstructive manner. Or perhaps it’s you who’s been criticized — and you’ve responded by trying to shift the blame. It’s easy to put your foot in your mouth when you’re working alongside a variety of hard-working people in a stressful environment.

If this sounds like you, don’t worry. It’s possible to speak honestly at work without offending others, but it does take a little shift in perspective. When a problem arises, don’t think about how you can avoid it — instead, see how you can be a part of solving it.

Acquiring these diplomacy skills won’t happen overnight, which is why it’s great to have a few hints on where to start. Our new infographic lists twelve phrases you probably hear at work every day, why they’re unhelpful and what to say instead.

So next time trouble arises at work, think before you speak — it could be the beginning of a beautiful opportunity!


Smith, J. (2013). 13 Things You Should Never Say At Work. forbes.com

Reardon, M. (2014). Four Tips to End “We’ve Always Done It That Way”. npengage.com

Rodionova, Z. (2015). 11 things you shouldn’t say at work. independent.co.uk

Gillett, R. & Smith, J. (2016). 19 things you should never say…. businessinsider.com

Smith, J. & Gillett, R. (2016). 32 things you should never say…. businessinsider.com

Martin, E. (2014). 11 Things You Should Never Say At Work. inc.com

Patterson, K. et al. (2012). Crucial Conversations. New York: McGraw Hill.

Grandinetti, M. (2016). Change Your Job? Or Change Your Perspective? abovethelaw.com

Myers, J. (2012). Building dialogue in the workplace. theglobeandmail.com

About Barbara Davidson

Babs is Lead Content Strategist and financial guru. She loves exploring fresh ways to save more and enjoy life on a budget! When she’s not writing, you’ll find her binge-watching musicals, reading in the (sporadic) Chicago sunshine and discovering great new places to eat. Accio, tacos!