We all want to get on better with our boss. To do this, having an open, honest line of communication is a must. But is there anything you shouldn’t say? To help you avoid saying the wrong thing, here are the things you should never say to your boss. 


1. I don’t know how / I can’t

If your boss gives you something to do and you don’t know how to do it, what’s the best response? You might think just telling them is the right approach. And while you should aim for honesty, a flat-out ‘no’ is usually wrong. We all face challenges. But your boss doesn’t want to hear about what you ‘can’t’ do. If you want to get ahead, you need to be proactive and show commitment to learning and growing.  


2. That’s not my job

Imagine you show up to work and your boss asks you to complete someone else’s work. Seems a bit unfair, right? It’s natural to want to complain about this. But, if you want to impress, it’s much better to just roll with it and remain positive. And you never knowyou might learn something new while you’re at it!


3. At my last job

You may have spent a lot of time in your previous job, and have gained a lot of great experience. But guess what? Unless you’re suggesting a brilliant, creative solution inspired by your previous position, your last job has nothing to do with your new job. Maybe at your last job you were allowed to leave early Fridays. Or maybe it offered home working. Whatever it is, remember: Just because you were allowed to do something in your last job, doesn’t mean your new boss has to let you, too


4. This customer is driving me insane

In many jobs, the customer is at the heart of everything you do. They are the central focus and, while you may not like them, it’s important to be professional and avoid conflict. Your boss doesn’t want to hear about your negative feelings towards customers. After all, if the company’s success is determined by treating customers well, hearing you moaning and complaining might set off alarm bells. 


5. Swear words of any kind

A more relaxed work environment can help the time fly. And if your boss is super approachable, it’s natural to use more casual language around them. But be careful not to take it too far. Using any kind of swear words is completely off limits when talking to your boss. As friendly as your relationship is, maintaining some professionalism is a must at all times. 


6.No offense, but

This sentence tends to make people defensive. When it’s your boss, even more so. Why? Because it shows fear, a lack of confidence, and that you don’t want to take responsibility. If you’re unsure of yourself, this is something to work on. Until then, avoid this phrase at all costs! 


7. That’s not part of my job description

Sometimes, your boss might ask you to do tasks that aren’t in your job description. This might seem unfairafter all, why should you do something that’s not even your job? Whatever you’re being asked to do, chances are your boss has a reason for it. Plus, taking an optimistic approach will serve you much better in the long-term. 


8. That’s not my priority right now, so I can’t really work on it

This may seem like a fair reason not to do something. But to your boss, it just sounds like another excuse. You’re finding reasons not to do something. Whether it’s your priority or not, if it wasn’t important, your boss wouldn’t have asked you to do it. Avoid just saying noif it’s tricky or you don’t have time, explain the problem and then offer to find a solution. 


9. It wasn’t my fault: It’s so and so’s fault

We’ve all been there. Our boss comes to us with a problem that we know isn’t our fault. In these situations, it’s easy to just pass the buckbut this is a huge mistake! When you blame someone else for messing up, it shows you’re not a team player. It might be someone else’s fault, but if you’re working as a group, it’s important that everyone takes ownership of any mistakesincluding you! 


10.That’s impossible

You know what’s not an attractive quality in an employee? Giving up before you’ve even started. Whatever challenge you’re facing, saying things like “it’s impossible” is so defeatist. Instead, try and adopt a more positive mindset. Focus on finding solutions, rather than dwelling on problems and obstacles. 


11.You didn’t tell me… 

People make mistakes sometimes. And it’s pretty common to be in a situation where you’re not sure what to do. It may seem like a good excuse in your head, and it’s very easy to blame others, but this isn’t a good attitude and it definitely won’t impress your boss. Rather than making excuses like “you didn’t tell me,” take ownership. If you don’t know what to do, take the time to find out. A little effort goes a long way. 


If you need insight into better communication in the workplace, check out the book “Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life, 3rd Edition: Life-Changing Tools for Healthy Relationships” by Rosenberg PhD, Marshall B.

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