7 Things You Should Never Say to your Boss


We’ve probably all said something to our bosses we regret, right?

Throughout our careers and to varying degrees most of us are bound to have said 7 Things you shouldn't say to your Bosssomething we instantaneously wish we hadn’t. You know, that moment where as soon as the words slip out between your teeth you wish the ground would swallow you up. That moment when you begin to feel the heat rising in your face, and you eagerly wait for a telling response from your boss wondering if you’ve just damaged you reputation and position at work.

Most of the time these are just harmless, albeit slightly embarrassing, slip-ups but there are some things you really should never, ever say. We mean things you shouldn’t even think in front of your boss. Although our top 7 things not to say to your boss is by no means exhaustive, take a look below:


  1. “Impossible, it can’t be done”

This is exactly the sort of short-sighted thinking that no one wants to hear. So unless you quickly follow up your statement with a solution we suggest you avoid such a phrase.

Suggesting that there is no solution to a problem just demonstrates your lack of effort. Approach these challenges as opportunities to learn something new. Aim to be solution orientated and if you struggle to come up with a definitive answer think of a few possible solutions to suggest to your boss. Even if they don’t work, you didn’t shy away. Challenging yourself professionally is not only great for you, but your colleagues and the company you work for too.

So next time avoid taking the easy way out and step outside of your comfort zone and figure.

  1. “At my last job we did it this way”

Don’t be the office know it all, especially when the likelihood is that you don’t.

If you think you have a better approach to a process or situation at work by all means step in and make a suggestion. Just make sure you tread lightly, especially if you are new to the team.

  1. “I got so smashed last night”

You might be innocently relieving the night before and telling a great story but all your boss will hear is that you aren’t feeling your best and that you’re likely to have an unproductive day.

This sort of discussion throws open the doors to your personal life and may lead your boss to conclude several things that may or may not be true. Even worse you may accidently reveal that you have poor judgement or lack of self-control; qualities which definitely aren’t favoured. Maintain a few boundaries between your work and personal life as too many nitty-gritty details invite judgement on your character and potentially the ability to do your job.

  1. *Sigh*

Need we say much more than, don’t sigh. Don’t ever sigh in response to a request from your boss. Just don’t! *Or roll your eye balls to the ceiling*

  1. “Yeah, sure I can do that”

Okay, so it isn’t technically something your boss won’t want to hear. But it can be a problem if you say you’ll do something you know you won’t have time for or simply don’t know how. It is better to be honest and up front and ask for advice rather than fail to deliver which will ultimately have negative and serious repercussions for the business than if you had just owned up in the first place.

  1. “I can’t stand working with ______”

No one likes to hear these words, your boss included. Beside it is more likely that complaining about a co-worker will reflect worse on you then it will on them.

Don’t make those kinds of conflicts your boss’ problem, especially if they are petty, personal issues. However, if the situation is genuinely a problem and seriously affecting your ability to work, or the company’s ability to function then get in touch with HR.

Just remember no one likes unnecessary drama.

  1. “That’s not in my job description”

Let’s set the record straight: Your job description isn’t set in stone. End of.

You are expected to be flexible and help make everyone’s working life easier by chipping in where needed. Have you ever thought that sending a personal email or surfing the web isn’t in your job description either? Didn’t stop you doing it though did it?

At the end of the day the more skillsets you acquire the more indispensable you are to you employees, so make an effort to go above and beyond your role and show that you are willing to pitch in for the success of your company.

Avoid These and You’ll Go Far*

There are of course a whole host of things you should never say to your boss, but the above is a great place to start. In fact, there were a few we thought of that really need no explanation:

  • Are you really wearing that to the meeting?
  • Pretty sure the client hates us now – I’ll explain later
  • Oops, I wasted 2 hours on Facebook and Twitter this morning
  • I was only 15 minutes late
  • I’ve always thought of you as more than just a boss
  • I’m only here until I find something better
  • I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but…
  • I’ve been fired from just about every job I ever had
  • Oops I just sent that confidential email to everyone in my address book
  • Take this job and shove it.

See what we mean?

Learning to choose your words can, for some, be an art that needs to be fine-tuned. Just remember, like your mother told you when you were a child; think before you speak.

*We can’t promise that you’ll go far just by avoiding these pitfalls of speaking with your boss. You need to put the hard work in too!

Posted by Paul Randall
1st May 2015