Words To Make You Sound Like A Boss

Leadership roles can be hard. They bring with them a lot of responsibility, longer hours, and the unenviable task of having be the one who delivers any bad news. So we get that being a manager, supervisor, or boss can be tough. But being able to talk the talk, should not be the hardest part of walking the walk.

The good news is that you don’t need to add a bunch of jargon to your vocabulary in order to sound like a boss—good riddance, circle back, put a pin in it, and paradigm shift. Getting your “boss talk” on is as easy as expanding your vocabulary to include some large and in-charge words.

Check out this list of eight words that will help you ditch some common terms you already use, and replace them with terms that will help you sound like the boss that you are.

non sequitur

Has someone hijacked your meeting and taken the point you were trying to make and turned it into something else? That is called a non sequitur, which is a statement that has little to no relevance to the one that preceded it.

The phrase is Latin in origin and literally translates to “does not follow.”

You can use non sequitur anytime someone goes off topic in the boardroom. For example, if you would normally tell someone that they are getting off topic, off task, or straying too far from the point you could say, “That’s a bit of a non sequitur, Bill. Let’s try to get back to the topic at hand.”

indelible

Are you talking about something that needs to be remembered indefinitely? Then you want your talking point to be indelible, or “unable to be eliminated, forgotten, or changed.” It is the perfect swap for words like unforgettable, enduring, or remarkable.

Indelible was first recorded in English around 1520–30 and is derived from the Latin word indēlēbilis, which means “indestructible.”

To use indelible at your next team meeting, you might try, “We want our customer service to be an indelible part of the shopping experience at our stores.”

ennui

Have you been working on a never-ending project that is suddenly causing the rest of your team to lose interest? That feeling they are experiencing is called ennui, and it means “utter weariness and discontent resulting from satiety or lack of interest; boredom.” You can use it to replace words like tedium, weariness, and fatigue.

Ennui is a French word for “boredom” found in English as early as 1660–70.

If you want to talk to your staff about their boredom, try saying, “Listen, everyone, I know this has been The Project That Never Ends, but we can’t give in to our ennui yet. We’re almost finished! We need to rally and push through these last few weeks, and then it will all be over.”

sycophant

In school you may have called this person a brown-noser, but when it comes to business, you should probably swap that colorful phrase for the more severe form of the word: sycophant. Sycophant means a “self-seeking, servile flatterer, or fawning parasite” (not something you would ever want to be called). Use it instead of words like lackey, flatterer, or minion.

The word is found since 1530–40 and is ultimately derived from the Greek word sȳkophántēs (“informer”).

To add sycophant to your vocabulary, you can say, “I appreciate that everyone seems to be on board with the new plan, but what I need is honest feedback, not a bunch of sycophants telling me what I want to hear.”

inertia

Sometimes the day drags on foooooooorever. Even a 9 to 5 can feel like an eternity. That is due to something called inertia or “inertness, especially with regard to effort, motion, action, and the like.” You can use inertia in place of sluggish, inactivity, and immobilization.

With origins in 1705–15, inertia comes from the Latin iners (“unskillful, inactive”).

For describing days that drag on (or projects that have stagnated), say, “If we can’t overcome this inertia, our competition will take advantage of this opportunity.”

bloviate

You don’t want to sound like a snob when you start using all of these new words, so beware that you don’t bloviate, or “speak pompously.” Use bloviate instead of bluster, spout, or get on a soapbox.

Dating back to 1850-55, this Americanism likely stems from a combination of blow (“to boast”) and the Latin-based -viate, also used in words like deviate and abbreviate.

Be sure to add the word to your vocabulary instead of becoming the one who bloviates. For example, “I know that my point will get lost if I stand in front of you bloviating, so I want to have a dialogue that includes everyone. What can we do to fix the issues we’re having around here?”

ubiquitous

Suffering from a rumor that seems to be spreading through the office like wildfire? Then you’re suffering from gossip that is ubiquitous or “existing or able to be everywhere at the same time.” Use ubiquitous instead of everywhere, omnipresent, and pervasive.

First recorded in 1830-40, ubiquitous is ultimately derived from the Latin adverb ubīque, meaning “everywhere.”

Things can be ubiquitous in a negative or positive way. You might say, “Great news everyone, I just heard back from the clients, and they are thrilled about the marketing message and how ubiquitous it became. We went viral!”

subjugate

Have a problem you cannot quite get under control? Then it is an issue you’re trying to subjugate, or something you wish “to conquer, master, or make submissive or subservient.” Use it instead of crush, force, or overcome.

The word is found as early as 1400–50 and comes from the Latin word subjugāre (“to subjugate”).

Celebrate your victories by adding the word to your next status report: “We no longer need to subjugate ourselves to the whims of the market. We dominate it!”

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