11 Things That Bug Bosses

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Most of us want to have a good relationship with our bosses. Ever stop to consider what things you do … that might make your boss’s day harder?

Here’s a list of some of the top annoyances for bosses:

  1. Not keeping your boss in the loop when you need to. When your boss meets with his or her boss, will they discuss your project? It’s easy for you to send a quick status update by email when a project reaches given thresholds, and it makes your boss look like he or she knows what’s going on (and shows that you can be relied upon). When you’re encountering and overcoming obstacles, your boss would probably want to know that too. This information could affect future projects.
  2. Not following up on details and instead dumping them at your boss’s door (or coming to your boss with problems without considering possible solutions). Be thorough. Find solutions. Do any necessary follow-up yourself. It’s OK to point that out … “The Gabler project had a little snafu, but I checked with the sales department and here’s what I found out. So, we’re good to go.”
  3. Not getting to the point in work discussions or email. A rambling, disorganized discussion or email is hard to follow and wastes time. Try summarizing key points in one sentence that explains what’s going on or what you need. Then provide details. If you’re having a conversation, consider your key point(s) before you start, so your boss knows exactly what you said and neither of your time is wasted. For email, also make sure the subject line clearly identifies what’s inside.
  4. Negativity. When a new project or task comes your way, letting your boss know about concerns or challenges you see is important. But balance your apprehension with a dose of “just give it a shot,” or he or she may find someone else who’s a little more positive and who eagerly jumps in.
  5. Dominating or going off on tangents in meetings. Meetings bring together people with varying perspectives—that’s the whole point. If you’re doing most of the talking, chances are your boss is only hearing one perspective. Be mindful of the number of people in the room and that you’re not monopolizing the discussion.
  6. Not being conscientious about company time. Yes, your boss does notice when you habitually come in late, leave early or spend half the morning responding to personal texts.
  7. Not tracking details and deadlines. Conscientiously track the details and deadlines for your projects. When additional details come up or timelines change, take note so nothing is lost or missed.
  8. Everything is urgent … to you. Keeping your boss in the loop is great, but interrupting him or her with every little thing isn’t necessary. Not every situation needs immediate attention. Part of what your boss relies on you for is to prioritize and understand which things can wait.
  9. Bypassing your boss. When decisions press the edges of your expertise or responsibility, get your boss involved. Sure, you may be capable of handling these decisions, but your boss will ultimately be responsible. And two heads are usually better than one. As your experience broadens, have open discussions with your boss about what you’d like to take on independently.
  10. Forgetting that what you do is part of a bigger picture. Most organizations are in the business of making money, and what you’re doing might be a small piece of the puzzle. Keep sight of the company mission.
  11. Little effort to get along with co-workers. Bosses don’t really want to resolve interpersonal problems. Learning to not just get along with, but work well with anyone is key to your boss seeing you as a mature, vital part of his or her team.

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Agree? Disagree? Add your insightful comments here.