What are the things that I shouldn’t say at workplace?
To the big three no-nos of politics, religion, and sex, your income and net worth, plans to retire, anything negative about management and your peers (a peer may be your boss someday), and how much you hate your job (nobody loves a grouch). All can come back and bite in ways that could cost you your job.
I want to shift focus from what you shouldn’t say — which I find negative and obvious to my seasoned mind — to what you should say:
1. Say anything positive about a person or situation, painting you as positive as well. If you can’t, please rethink your position and attitude. Every person and situation has its positives and it’s your job to find them. I learned this while lunching with a VP of a major manufacturer. We were discussing a recent policy directive issued by the CEO with which we disagreed. He said:” We must remember in situations such as this that the person who made the decision knows far more about it than we ever can, and he or she is just as smart as we are.”
2. Say anything insightful about a person or situation, painting you as insightful as well. A corollary is to listen to understand another’s point of view before responding, aka that age-old aphorism to open your mind before you open your mouth.
Sherry Davis Guth, the former VP Marketing of a telecommunications company, said this about her CEO in my book, The Power of Being Articulate: (Joe) is thoughtful, patient, insightful, and articulate in the sense that he thought for as long as he needed before he spoke or wrote. Not surprisingly, his messages were always concise and on point. At first, he drove me crazy with his patience, but then he drove me sane with his abilities to think rationally and arrive at the right decisions. I came to realize that, like other sensitive and articulate persons, he could connect a wide range of diverse ideas and draw conclusions that weren’t at all obvious to others”
Lessons learned: Humility from guideline #1, patience from guideline #2. I hope that you extracted similar lessons.