These 4 Phrases Are Sure Signs Your Team Isn't at Peak Productivity

Listening to your team, and yourself, reveals the deepest attitudes that lead to growth or keep us locked in our comfort zone.

learn more about Tor Constantino

By Tor Constantino

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

We know that words have power. They can elevate you toward higher levels of success or become self-limiting barriers to your vision.

The power of words can be summed up in an ancient proverb that states, "The mouth speaks from the abundance of the heart."

What you speak tends to be what you actually believe about yourself, your business or your success. Those beliefs will inevitably drive your action or inaction. It's important to identify the counterproductive, self-limiting speech within the workplace that you, or those around you, might be prone to.

Related: 4 Ways You Are Your Own Worst Enemy

"That's how we've always done it."

There's comfort and familiarity with the status quo but this particular phrase squelches innovation and risk taking. It's rooted in a legacy mindset that believes past practices are the reason for current success. While that may be true for now, every entrepreneur and business owner has a vision for a successful future that hinges on intelligent risks and adaptability.

"No one asked me."

This particular phrase implies a lack of situational awareness, organizational insight and a high degree of isolated thinking. It's important to recognize that the best leaders and employees have an enterprise-wide mind set which is critically important to the collective success of the business.

"That's not my responsibility or job."

We've all heard this one from someone at sometime in our careers. It's a productivity killer because it's anchored in silo thinking that squashes collaboration, cross-functional problem solving and comradery.

While everybody obviously needs to do their own job, part of that job description now requires each of us to also help others do their respective jobs when we can as dictated by the unyielding competitive demands of the global marketplace.

Related: The SEAL Teams Don't Accept These 10 Phrases, and Neither Should You

"I don't know how to do it."

A key component of Emotional Intelligence is self awareness, so it's important for a leader or individual contributor to know their strengthens and limits. The organization benefits when an individual can identify a skill gap sooner rather than later. That's a good thing from a productivity standpoint because it helps avoid expensive waste and rework later on.

However, this phrase becomes a hindrance to productivity when the individual is not interested or engaged with their own personal development. Such a lack of intellectual curiosity and an unwillingness to being a life-long learner is a telltale sign that this individual might not be a long term fit.

This sampling of phrases is not exhaustive. It's only intended as a trigger to make entrepreneurs, business owners and leaders aware of some of the verbal symptoms that can plague their own productivity or that of the broader enterprise.

It's important to note that there's another ancient saying that states, "The person who can control their tongue is complete and can control the course of their life."

Perhaps you've never uttered the non-productive, negative phrases above---that's great---but what about those around you or who work for you?

As a leader or business owner you can take a first step toward helping your employees and support staff become more "complete" by helping them become more aware of the power of their own words.

Related: You'll Never Hear Successful People Say These 15 Phrases

Tor Constantino

Former Journalist, Current PR Guy (wielding an MBA)

Tor Constantino is a former journalist, consultant and current corporate comms executive with an MBA degree and 25+ years of experience. His writing has appeared across the web on Entrepreneur, Forbes, Fortune and Yahoo!. Tor's views are his own and do not reflect those of his current employer.

Related Topics

Editor's Pick

This 61-Year-Old Grandma Who Made $35,000 in the Medical Field Now Earns 7 Figures in Retirement
A 'Quiet Promotion' Will Cost You a Lot — Use This Expert's 4-Step Strategy to Avoid It
3 Red Flags on Your LinkedIn Profile That Scare Clients Away
'Everyone Is Freaking Out.' What's Going On With Silicon Valley Bank? Federal Government Takes Control.

How to Detect a Liar in Seconds Using Nonverbal Communication

There are many ways to understand if someone is not honest with you. The following signs do not even require words and are all nonverbal queues.

Celebrity Entrepreneurs

'I Dreaded Falling in Love.' Rupert Murdoch Is Getting Hitched for the Fifth Time.

The 92-year-old media tycoon announces he will wed former San Francisco police chaplain Ann Lesley Smith.

Business News

Carnival Cruise Wants Passengers to Have Fun in the Sun — But Do This, and You'll Get Burned With a New $500 Fee

The cruise line's updated contract follows a spate of unruly guest behavior across the tourism industry.

Starting a Business

Selling Your Business? Do These 6 Things Right Now.

If you want the maximum price you need to make these moves before you do anything else.


How Great Entrepreneurs Find Ways to Win During Economic Downturns

Recessions are an opportunity to recalibrate and make great strides in your business while others are unprepared to brave the challenges. Here's how great entrepreneurs can set themselves up for success despite economic uncertainty.