So You Want to Be a Boss? 5 Words to Remove from Your Vocabulary ASAP

Are the words that are coming out or your mouth or through your keyboard holding you back from success? Your words have power and your selection of some words may be keeping you from succeeding.

If you want to be respected, taken seriously and considered for a leadership position, I highly recommend removing these 5 words from your vocabulary immediately and why.

1.       Nice

Whether you’re the “Nice Girl” or “Nice Guy” or think you need to be, this word is a power diluter. When your focus is on being nice it’s about other’s perception of you. It puts you and your value in the backseat and puts other’s assumed demands in the driver’s seat. If you’re not nice, then who are you? Probably pretty interesting. Try replacing it with kind, philanthropic, compassionate.


2.       Fine

Nothing is more passive aggressive than responding with “Fine.” It’s dismissive and says, “I hear you, but I don’t agree with you, but I don’t want to offend you, so I’m not going to be honest and say what I really think.”  If someone asks how you are and you respond with, “I’m fine.”, it cuts off the interaction at the shins. Try replacing it with full and honest thoughts. If you need to take some time to process, take the time, but don’t replace it with Fine.


3.       Good

The cousin of Fine, good is a flat generalized response. If a team member asks what you thought about a project or performance and you respond with “It was good.”, it signals a lack of engagement or interest. If you must use Good, make sure you back it up with specific feedback about the question. If you don’t think it’s Good, be honest about areas of improvement.


4.       Kinda

Spellcheck doesn’t even acknowledge Kinda as a word, but we’ll make an exception. Chances are you aren’t using this in written communication, but when kinda creeps in at the Board table, it devalues every point and perception of authority you built up. Kinda signals that you aren’t sure about what you’re thinking or saying. That smidget of self-doubt is enough to plant seeds of questioning with your audience. If you are unsure, say you’ll check in on that and get back to them, but under no circumstance should you say “I kinda think that…”.


5.       Just

I am completely guilty about using the word a lot and I cringe every time I catch myself doing it. Usually it’s in the form of “Just checking in” and while my intention is to not seem like I’m interrupting, it comes off as apologetic and meek, which is not who I am. You’re not “just” doing something. You ARE doing it. So when you see that pesky just poking it’s head up in your conversations and emails, delete it!


As you build your strength as a leader, these words and phrases will be replaced with confident statements, curious questions and thoughtful reflection. Stay in the moment with your team and listen to your inner voice and trust it. You’ve got this!