updated 11/6/2006 1:36:19 PM ET 2006-11-06T18:36:19

Management jargon can alienate staff and leave bosses looking untrustworthy and weak, according to a survey published on Monday.

Managers who spoke of "singing from the same hymn sheet" could find themselves singing solo, the survey by Investors in People said.

Workers said such phrases as "blue sky thinking", "the helicopter view" and "heads up" could lead to alienation and low morale in the office.

Four in 10 of those questioned (42 percent) believed jargon caused misunderstanding about roles and responsibilities.

The survey, carried out by YouGov to mark the 15th anniversary of Investors in People, a government-backed training initiative, found 37 percent of the 2,900 questioned believed jargon led to mistrust and encouraged a feeling of inadequacy.

Bosses seemed oblivious to the dangers, with more than half, (55 percent) believing it to be harmless.

That could explain why workers perceived it to be on the rise, with nearly 40 percent believing it was increasingly creeping into office banter.

Almost two-thirds of employees (60 percent) would prefer no jargon at work.

Cliches such as "getting our ducks in a row" might just be lining up trouble, though.

Nearly 40 percent of workers surveyed believed jargon betrayed a lack of confidence, while one in five thought those who used it were untrustworthy or trying to cover something up.

Nicola Clark, director at Investors in People, said: "Whilst jargon can be useful shorthand at times, managers need to be more alert to when and how they use it.

"Cutting jargon out of everyday communication is clearly a challenge. However, as our research shows, if used inappropriately, jargon can be an obstacle to understanding, which ultimately can impact on an individual's performance and an organisation's productivity."

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