Are You a Boss Botherer? Be Sure to Avoid This Workplace Behavior


Are you that person at the office? You know, the one who has people rolling their eyes in annoyance, including your manager? It goes without saying that you shouldn't sleep at your desk, lie, cheat or steal — which will quickly have you packing your bags — but what about the subtler actions that get on leaders' nerves?

Let's face it, there's a long list of annoying things people do at work. And for managers, this workplace behavior can be particularly aggravating, because it can affect the team's success and often requires them to confront employees about making changes. Be sure you're not one of these common boss botherers:

The Low-Bar Jumper

An employee in your department checks in with you on the status of a reimbursement check. You mention that you submitted the expense report to accounting last week and you don’t know any more about it. What’s wrong with this response? It would only take a minute or two to go beyond the basic scope of duty — processing the report and giving it to accounting — to follow up personally with your contact in accounting for an answer. Going the extra mile often requires minimal time and effort yet can make a big difference to someone else. You may not be able to provide additional assistance in every instance, but make the effort when it’s feasible. In doing so, you demonstrate to others that you’re a team player.

The Debbie Downer

You may think that you’re a positive person, but consider your everyday workplace behavior. When you learn of a new initiative, do you immediately think of the potential obstacles to completing the task or complain about the extra work? If so, you are likely coming across as negative to your colleagues.

Managers value employees who can keep others motivated in the face of a challenge and who bring a fresh energy to their work each day. Make sure you’re seen as a positive force in your group by maintaining a glass-half-full mind-set.

The Letdown

You’re such a good employee that everyone turns to you for administrative support. As a result, you often take on more assignments than you can reasonably handle, leading to missed deadlines or other problems.

Although managers appreciate individuals who are willing to lend a hand, over-committing can indicate to your boss that you are unreliable or disorganized. While you don’t want a reputation as someone who always says no to additional projects, it’s critical to keep an eye on existing demands before accepting more work. Be realistic and consider what’s achievable. Creating a spreadsheet or to-do list with all of your assignments and due dates can help you stay on track.

You also want to avoid the opposite of over-committing — failing to take action when you see that something needs to get done. Supervisors want staff members who solve problems as they arise and don’t wait to act until they’re asked. For instance, if staff continue to come to you with questions about how to use a new software application, you might investigate training options and present your ideas to your boss. Often, it’s the little measures you take around the office that can help you stand out.

The Big Surprise

You have been working on an executive presentation for days but can’t seem to resolve issues with the graphics. As you’ve tried to fix them yourself, the problem has only gotten worse. Now, your boss needs the presentation, and you have to admit that it is not ready.

While you shouldn’t inform your manager of every little problem you encounter, it is important not to let issues escalate to where they are out of control. Seek advice early on if a situation begins to deteriorate, particularly if there is a looming deadline. This improves the chances of finding a solution and minimizes the stress on everyone involved. It is always better to admit that you need help than to leave people scrambling. In fact, it also can reinforce that you care about doing things correctly.

The workplace behavior outlined above happens in just about every office. Do any of the annoying things people do at work apply to you? Be honest and make changes if they're needed. It can make a huge difference in how you're perceived on the job.

What are some of the steps you take avoid the eye rolls and impress your manager? Share below.

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