In a challenging labour market, you don’t want to be irritating. However, many workers unknowingly act in a way that is sure to make their manager’s blood boil. Are you an annoying employee? Could your behaviour be eroding your job security? Take a look at these common offences and see if anything sounds a little too familiar:
Bringing your manager a problem with no solution. Since your manager has more knowledge and experience, isn’t she more likely to come up with the best solution? No. First of all, when you bring the manager a problem with a suitable solution, you show her that you are ready for more responsibility. In many cases, the manager will accept your suggestion. Since they can’t be everywhere, managers often depend on their employees to be their eyes and ears.
Starting drama with your co-workers. Managers hate it when their employees bicker. It is unpleasant and it distracts everyone from the work that needs to be done. Avoid office drama whenever possible; you don’t want to be identified as someone who starts trouble.
Complaining about everything. A negative attitude is toxic in any organization. It spreads to other staff members, and it can easily bring down morale. If you are always complaining about the pay, your customers, or even the temperature in the office, your manager may decide that you are more trouble than you are worth.
Not taking responsibility. Do you always wait for your manager to tell you what to do? When an error is made, do you fix it, or do you let someone else do it? Managers need problem solvers. If you don’t make their job easier, then they will not view you as an asset.
Wasting time. Do you arrive late, leave early, take long breaks, or spend a lot of time on personal calls and e-mails? If so, don’t think that your incessant time wasting has gone unnoticed. Your manager has likely already identified you as an inefficient worker who can be easily replaced.
Following your own agenda. While you may have your own idea of how you should do your job, it is important that you listen to and follow your manager’s suggestions. Since your manager is looking at your organization as a whole, she may be able to identify priorities that do not seem apparent to you.
Not participating at meetings. How do you behave at meetings? Do you just sit there quietly and wait for them to be over? Keep in mind that meetings may be one of the only opportunities that your manager has to observe you and to evaluate your work. Be sure to make a positive impression.
Being sloppy. How do you dress when you go to work? Could you step it up a bit? How do you keep your workstation? Can you see the desk underneath the piles of paper? Keep in mind that people evaluate your professionalism based on how you keep yourself and your work environment.
There are many people who have all of the right skills, but are blocked from advancing in their organization because their behaviour alienates their co-workers and managers. In many cases, this behaviour would be easily correctable if the employee was aware of it. Don’t let this be you. Pay attention to how people respond to you, ask for feedback, and be ready to make changes when necessary. In a time when managers are being forced to eliminate jobs, you don’t want to be viewed as annoying.
(Written by Karen Bivand)