Bad Cop Balance: Words

At Invoke, we cultivate a very feedback friendly environment. We believe it’s the best way to grow as team members, and individuals. So, naturally, I’m working on some serious feedback I’ve received from my team. To be more of a bad cop.

This is a multi-faceted dosage of feedback, so I’d like to unwrap each portion that I’m working through with the Medium community. And, as a wider segment, all the Project Managers out there who may be in the same boat.

The first item on the docket is modifying my language to exude the confidence and swagger required to be the manager of a project. This means I’ve had to increase my self awareness during all my interactions, small or large, to see where there’s room for impactful improvement. Some overarching narratives I’ve noticed are putting my gut and intangible notions into my diction. While I have the experience to back up some of my claims, adjusting feelings into something more thought or fact oriented is a powerful shift. See the recommendations below:

  • “I feel” → “I’m convinced”
  • “I believe” → “I expect”

There’s also several instances where I’ve asked a meek question, rather than injected an assertion. Such as:

  • “Can you invite me to that meeting?” → “I’d like to be in that meeting.”

The bigger piece, other than smaller word whiskers I’m working on, is removing ‘just’ from my vocabulary. This coincides with the bad cop piece in the sense that it empowers you sound more authoritative. Adding “just’ to your sentences sounds like you’re trying to qualify your statements, which gives room to question your professional opinion.

This is such a wide-spread affliction in the e-communication workspace, that there’s been a Chrome Extension built specifically to remove just (and other weak words) from your emails!

Feel the difference in the below uses cases:

“I just wanted to follow-up on the action item that was due at the end of today.” vs. “I want to follow-up on the action item that was due at the end of today.”


“I just don’t think that this is the best experience we can give our users.” vs. “I’m not convinced this is the best experience we can give our users.”

The above is all a work in progress — but it’s happening! What are some language boosters you’ve equipped yourself with for a more swaggeresque presence in the workplace?

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