No matter where you work, you’ll probably have colleagues, or coworkers. Most workplaces have a diverse range of people working there, each one with unique qualities and characteristics. In the world of office dynamics, English expressions can provide fun and creative ways to describe our colleagues. These business idioms can help you to describe your colleagues’ personalities, work styles and interactions. They are all suitable for using in a professional context, and will add some zing to your business English!
Ten business idioms to describe your colleagues
1. A fountain of knowledge
The English idiom “a fountain of knowledge” refers to a person with a broad and profound understanding of a subject. If you describe someone as a fountain of knowledge, you see them as a valuable source of information and wisdom. The people around them will often ask them for guidance and advice, and they are happy to share their experience, and be generous with their insight.
How to use it: “When it comes to navigating complex legal matters, Shona is a true fountain of knowledge. Her extensive experience and expertise in the field have made her an invaluable resource for our legal department, and her insights have guided us through numerous challenging cases.”
2. A rising star
The English idiom “a rising star” refers to a person who is rapidly gaining recognition and success in their field or career. This individual is climbing an upward trajectory and we expect him/her to achieve even greater accomplishments in the future.
How to use it: “Dana is undoubtedly a rising star in our company. Her innovative ideas, exceptional work ethic, and consistent performance have caught the attention of senior management. We expect her to take on significant leadership roles as she continues to excel in her career.”
3. A positive influence
The English idiom “a positive influence” refers to a person or factor that has a beneficial and constructive impact on others, encouraging positive behavior, attitudes, or outcomes.
How to use it: “Rachel’s presence in the office has been a consistently positive influence on our team. Her optimism, collaborative spirit, and dedication to professional growth have not only boosted team morale but also set an example for everyone to strive for excellence in their work.”
4. A force to be reckoned with
The English idiom “a force to be reckoned with” refers to a person or entity that is powerful, influential, and not to be underestimated. This individual or force has the capacity to have a significant impact or influence on a situation.
How to use it: “Jenny, with her extensive experience and leadership skills, is truly a force to be reckoned with in the business world. Her strategic vision and ability to drive results make her a formidable competitor, and her insights are highly respected within our industry.”
5. A breath of fresh air
The English idiom “a breath of fresh air” refers to someone or something that brings a refreshing change or a new perspective to a situation. It often implies that this person or thing is relieving or invigorating in a positive way.
How to use it: “After several months of stagnation in our project meetings, Alicia joined the team, and her innovative ideas and enthusiasm were a breath of fresh air. Her contributions revitalized our approach and reenergized the entire team, leading to a more productive and dynamic work environment.”
6. A role model
The English idiom “a role model” refers to a person who serves as an example of excellence and virtuous behavior, often inspiring and influencing others to emulate their positive qualities and actions.
How to use it: “Rebecca has always been a role model for her colleagues at the office. Her dedication, work ethic, and willingness to mentor others make her a true asset to our team. Many look up to her as an example of how to excel in their roles.”
7. A jack of all trades
The English idiom “a jack of all trades” describes a person who can perform a wide variety of tasks or activities, often without being an expert in any one specific area. This idiom suggests versatility and adaptability in handling various responsibilities.
How to use it: “Victor is a valuable asset to our company because he’s a true jack of all trades. He can handle everything from IT support to marketing, making him an indispensable resource in our dynamic work environment.”
8. A class act
The English idiom “a class act” refers to a person who exhibits exceptional qualities, manners, or behavior, often in a graceful and dignified manner. It is used to describe individuals who conduct themselves with style, integrity, and excellence in various aspects of life.
How to use it: “Even under immense pressure, Damien remained a class act, handling the criticism with grace and professionalism during the challenging project presentation.”
9. A lone wolf
The English idiom “a lone wolf” refers to a person who prefers to work or act independently rather than as part of a group or team. This individual tends to operate on their own, often pursuing their goals and tasks without seeking assistance or collaboration.
How to use it: “While teamwork is highly valued in our organization, there are times when projects require a lone wolf like Ashley. Their ability to work independently and deliver exceptional results on challenging assignments has made them the go-to person for certain specialized tasks.”
10. A tough cookie
The English idiom “a tough cookie” describes someone strong-willed and resilient, facing challenges with determination. Nothing easily discourages or defeats this individual.
How to use it: “Dealing with demanding clients can be challenging, but Sarah is a tough cookie. She remains calm under pressure and consistently finds effective solutions to even the most complex problems, making her a valuable asset in our client services department.”
Boost your business English with ELSA AI
These idioms will improve your business English, making you sound fluent and confident with expert English speakers. If you’d like to push your language skills further, give ELSA AI a try. We designed our AI English tutor to engage in real-time, realistic roleplays to help you practice your English speaking skills. You can create roleplays around all aspects of office life: small talk, presentations, interviews and networking. After each roleplay, you’ll receive detailed feedback on your pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar and overall fluency.
Use these business idioms and see how quickly your English improves!