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Eight phrases you really need to stop using at work

By Penny Antoniou on 18 Aug 2015

Every office has words and phrases that you use internally and are part of the organisation’s culture, but some are just office jargon that don’t really mean anything and confuse rather than clarify. People often use empty phrases as a way of sounding impressive when they don’t really grasp the issue, and it can end up annoying colleagues intensely. If you catch yourself using any of these eight phrases, stop and have a think about what you’re really trying to say…


Blue sky thinking  
  A blue sky is one empty of clouds, so surely blue-sky thinking must be empty thinking? What people generally mean with this phrase is that they are looking for visionary ideas. But rather than starting with a blank slate, spending time thinking through the details of what you want to achieve will help employees be more effectively creative. 
That isn’t my job  
  Everyone has heard of the story ‘Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody’. It is important to take personal responsibility for your career success. Taking on projects that may not fall under your direct remit (and making sure you get the credit for them) is one of the best ways of getting yourself noticed.
It’s on my radar  
  Things may well be on your radar, but this statement makes it sound like the task is not important to you and you don’t really want to do it.  Tell people when you will complete the task or what you need from them in order to do it.
All hands on deck  
  Everyone should be working as part of a team/ organisation so telling people that we need ‘all hands on deck’ can lead them to assume others feel like they weren’t working hard or as part of a team previously. Instead tell them what you need from each of them individually, with individual tasks and deadlines.
'She’s lazy’ ‘I hate my job’ – General negative remarks
  Negativity can have an awful impact in the office and generally make everyone fed up.  Discuss any issues or concerns with a line manager or talk to that person individually. It’s never professional to make negative remarks about your job or someone else’s performance in public.
I’m overworked!  
  We all feel overworked sometimes, but instead of moaning about it, delegate your work or ask for help. It will make you feel much better about it. After all, your line manager or colleagues can’t do anything about your workload if you don’t ask for help. If you are feeling stressed read our blog on 5 simple ways to reduce stress in the workplace.
Think outside the box    
  No one knows what is expected of them with this phrase. What box? Who made it? You always want to think with an open mind in all you do, you never want to be constrained by a box.
Square the Circle    
  Some use this phrase, which was a problem proposed by ancient geometers, thinking it makes them sound clever, but in fact you are asking people to try and do the impossible. This can leave staff feeling deflated. Instead come up with a plan together to tackle the problem or task.