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5 Things You’re Doing That Your Boss Hates

5 Things You’re Doing That Your Boss Hates

By Catherine Conlan
Monster Contributing Writer

You may think you get along with your boss, but there are several things you might be doing that could make your boss hate you. Make sure you’re not sabotaging your own career by doing any of these things.

1. Asking too many questions.

It’s important to be clear on the instructions your boss gives you on a task or project, of course, but clarifying every little detail shows you lack initiative or confidence to do the job. “People who run into their boss’ office for every little thing create a distraction and annoyance,” says says Todd Cherches, CEO of Big Blue Gumball. This is especially true if it’s something they should know, or could have gone to a colleague to ask.

INSTEAD: Check with your co-workers to see if they can fill in details you might have missed. Pay attention when the boss asks you to do something, and try to find ways to solve problems without having to double-check every step of the process.

2. Answering the wrong question.
“You’re not expected to be a mind-reader, but you are expected to think,” Cherches says. Failing to answer the QBQ -- the Question Behind the Question that your boss is asking -- can irritate a boss looking for information. If your boss asks you questions such as what you have on your to-do list for the day, she may be looking for information about how you are prioritizing your work, how organized you are, or even whether you know what you should be doing.

INSTEAD: When your boss asks questions -- especially if they seem out of the blue -- see if you can answer the question behind the question. Answer the question literally, but read between the lines and try to provide the information she really wants and needs.

3. Creating chaos.

How do you approach difficulty? If a project goes downhill, are you frantically looking for reasons why and finding who’s responsible, or are you exploring solutions? Do you take failure personally? What an employee considers leadership in a crisis might actually look completely different -- “creating unnecessary panic, crying wolf, overreacting emotionally, contributing to rather than reducing chaos,” according to Cherches -- to a boss.

INSTEAD: Take your cue from the office culture, particularly the example your boss provides, when the going gets tough. If others are calm even in the face of difficulty, there is no reason for you to send panicky emails looking for answers. If your boss believes in your team, you can, too.

4. Showing up with problems without solutions.
“This is probably the classic,” says Cherches. If you talk to your boss about a problem or challenge you’re facing and are looking for answers, your boss will likely get fed up pretty quickly.

“Your job is not to create more work for your boss, it’s to create less and to help your boss be successful,” Cherches says. “You are not expected to have all the answers, and you may not be empowered to make the final decision and/or take action. But when you go to your boss, you should come prepared with two or three viable options, the relative pros and cons of each, and your top recommendation.”

INSTEAD: Come up with an action plan you can offer your boss when you have an issue. Even if your boss doesn’t adopt it, it shows that don’t expect someone else to solve your problems.

5. Making your boss look stupid.
Nobody likes to look stupid in front of their peers. You may think you’re avoiding this by not pointing out the flaws in your boss’ bizarre plans during meetings, but there are many other ways you might be undermining your boss’ authority. “This happens when you withhold information, making your boss seem out of the loop and uninformed,” Cherches says. Running late on projects or turning in poor work makes your boss look bad to his boss, as well.

INSTEAD: Keep your boss up-to-date on your progress with projects you’re working on, including details you might not think are important. Bosses generally don’t like surprises; check in regularly so your boss knows what to expect when project milestones approach.

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