Words with C-Suite: Instrumental v. Detrimental

Last week, during a videotaped deposition in a lawsuit pertaining to his bodyguard allegedly beating up a photographer, the all-too-arrogant Justin Bieber, responding to a question about whether Usher Raymond was instrumental to his career, dissed the R&B superstar (or at least attempted to) stating, “I was detrimental to my own career.” 

To help you avoid making the same mistake, we’re here to clarify the differences.

Instrumental
Meaning to be crucial in, essential to, a direct agent of, or a tool for…
The executive assistant’s quick thinking and technical abilities were instrumental in saving the meeting after a momentary power outage.

Detrimental
Meaning to cause harm, damage or injury to…
A rude receptionist can be detrimental to a company’s image.

Subscribe