People often don't realize how the seemingly trivial things we say can significantly impact the way others perceive us, according to an article in

Here are some bad habits that people adopt in the workplace, and the impact that changing these habits has on a leader's credibility and confidence. Making small changes will increase your capacity to effectively lead others as well as work alongside them.

1. Use "don't" instead of "can't" when turning down projects.

For many people, saying "no" can be one of the most difficult skills to master — and yet the most important. How you say it is almost as crucial as saying it at all. Most people often use can't or don't when turning opportunities down, but one of the two is exponentially better than the other.

When people say they can't do something, it shows limitations to their abilities. By using don't, it expresses power in the choice. By phrasing your response in an empowering way, you reinforce the value of both yourself and your business.

2. Stop writing "sorry for the delay" in emails.

Let's ban the phrase. Instead of writing, "Sorry for the delay," say, "Thank you for your patience." You can even elaborate, if appropriate, to include why you were delayed in responding: "Thank you for your patience while I gathered the information required to provide you with clear next steps."

This one small change will enhance your perception as a competent, confident leader.

3. Tell people you're "focused" instead of "busy."

When people say they're busy, it sounds like their lives are out of control and they don't know how to manage their time.

Instead of saying you're busy, clearly state your priorities, such as "I'm focused on developing two new client proposals." Putting yourself back in the driver's seat immediately makes you feel calmer and more in control.