I didn’t finish the project. I have no idea where your files are. I think I spilled coffee on your laptop.
Clearly, these are incredibly obvious phrases you know your boss doesn’t want to hear. But, surprisingly, the majority of statements that make bosses cringe may seem like NBD to a lot of us. In fact, many of the lines most likely to irritate your boss are the ones you might utter because you think you’re helping them out. Which is the last thing you want...especially around bonus season.
So, we asked nine powerhouses across a wide range of industries to reveal the phrases that won’t score you a promotion anytime soon. Some of them learned these lessons the hard way while others dish on their personal pet peeves. And, some of them even contradict each other — so pick and choose the advice that works for you. Because they all provide enlightening insights — no matter your job.
And, of course, it goes without saying that none of these are written in stone. In most offices, hard work and a good attitude are far more memorable than one slip of the tongue. Learn from your mistakes, move on, and when you’re the boss, make sure to tell your team the story of that one time when you said something you shouldn’t have.
This story was originally published on November 10, 2014.