Words are powerful, and they can have damaging effects on people. Most times, the kind of things your colleagues say to you can adversely affect your performance. So, in this article, you will learn some of the psychologically damaging things people say at work.
Some phrases could affect the professional relationship between you and your colleagues. And if you fail to nip this unprofessional attitude in the bud, it could spread toxicity in your workplace.
Read Also: 5 Workplace Conversation Mistakes to Avoid
So, here are some psychologically damaging things people say at work. Take note and avoid them by all means;
#1. “No Offense But… or With All Due Respect”
This is one of the most psychologically damaging things people say at work. You may say these phrases without the intention to condescend to whoever you are talking to.
But in most cases, they take it differently. These phrases give people the impression that you don’t respect their point of view.
As a leader, you must be careful of how you use these phrases around your employees. Otherwise, it may demoralize them, make them less productive, and affect their overall performance.
Let’s assume you are in a team meeting, and one of your team members came up with a suggestion that you aren’t comfortable with.
You can use subtle ways to tell the person that their ideas can’t work without making them feel bad.
You can say, “amazing suggestion, this would definitely boost our revenue and profitability. But we don’t have the budget to finance such a strategy at the moment. However, I will take note of it for future reference.”
With this response, you just made the employee feel so relevant. And such people will be happy to come up with better ideas.
However, if you respond rudely like “with all due respect, this strategy can’t work.” Such a response is demoralizing and could make your workplace toxic.
#2. “I Don’t Have Time For This”
If you want to build a formidable team, it’s important to make everybody feel safe and comfortable around you.
Your team should have the mental space to speak up freely, share bad news, and ask for help when they are in need.
However, telling your team, “I don’t have time for this”, is one of the psychologically damaging things people say at work.
When you always give your employees the impression that you are too busy and don’t want to be bothered, they feel they are not your priority.
And this attitude will create a communication gap between you and your employees. Even if they need help, they will come to you.
Whenever you shut an employee up with this phrase, that person will be reluctant to come to you whenever there’s an issue.
Once all your employees start feeling this way, they will be silent and less likely to take responsibility for their actions.
#3. “You Seem Young for.. Or “You’re so Articulate for a…”
This phrase is one of the most psychologically damaging things people say at work. It’s belittling and undermines your employees’ personalities.
No leader should use the phrase on their subordinate. Otherwise, it could make them feel terrible about themselves.
You may think this statement is a compliment. But it implies microaggression about the person’s identity and questionable leadership potential.
When leaders tell their subordinates that “they seem young for…”, it can get under their skin and make them feel inadequate at work.
And this could affect their productivity and overall performance. In a nutshell, be careful of what you say to your employees; it could affect their self-confidence and make them less productive.
#4. “I Didn’t Mean It Like That”
“I didn’t mean it like that” is an offensive comment that’s among the psychologically damaging things people say at work.
The statement gives the impression that you aren’t concerned about how your words make people feel.
When you say these words to an emotionally sensitive person, that person will take it personally and feel that you deliberately use the words to make them feel bad.
#5. “Nobody Else Has Brought This Up to Me”
“Nobody else has brought this up to me” is also one of the psychologically damaging things people say at work.
Bosses often use this invalidating comment whenever an employee brings up an important observation.
This comment sounds like you are telling the employee, “is this worth taking seriously”?
Unfortunately, when you invalidate your employees’ observations like this, it could prevent important conversations from taking place.
And when your team members stop having important conversations with you, it could lead to communication breakdown.
Whenever there’s a communication breakdown, your employees tend to make more mistakes, there will be more tension, and everybody, including yourself, will be at the edge.
And because your subordinates no longer trust their voices, they tend to focus more on pleasing people. It could also change their perception about an experience and make them less loyal. They may end up not trusting your judgement anymore.
Lack of trust in any workplace could make the process more rigid and more toxic.
Tips to Make a Workplace Less Toxic
Here are tips to make your workplace less toxic
- Delegate more tasks to your subordinate
- Whenever you notice underperformance, address it immediately.
- As a leader, be honest and open to your team members.
- Be concerned about employees’ wellbeing.
- Establish a risk-taking culture
- Inculcate the habits of taking responsibility in everybody.
These are some of the psychologically damaging things people say at work. Do you know other negative things people unconsciously say at work? Kindly share in the comment below.