Looking for ways to frustrate your boss, ward off raises and promotions, and maybe even get fired? If not, make sure you don't do these five things.
1. You recognize that you're out of alignment but you don't address it. If you can tell that you're on one page and your boss is on another--about a project, how realistic a deadline is, or the best way to deal with a difficult client--the worst thing you can do is to ignore that difference. Bringing your different outlooks to the surface and explicitly talking about it may reveal that one of you has information that the other doesn't have, which can result in one of you changing your stance. Plus, if you stay silent and it turns out later that you were right, your boss may be irked that you didn't tell her about the case for proceeding differently.
2. You don't do what you say you're going to do, whether it's because you're disorganized or because you never thought it was a good idea in the first place. If your boss learns that she can't count on you to keep your word, you'll get a reputation for being unreliable, which can have a real impact on your career success. And you'll also be practically inviting micromanagement.
3. You vent about your problems with your boss to everyone but your boss. Everyone vents about their boss sometimes. But if you find yourself routinely complaining to other people, it's time to either talk to your boss about your complaints or start keeping it to yourself. Eventually, your boss will hear that you're chronically badmouthing her and she'll be unimpressed that you weren't professional enough to address your concerns head-on.
4. Hide things: work that isn't getting done, mistakes, an angry client, the fact that you don't really know how to use that software. This is the kiss of death. If your boss isn't confident that you'll give her bad news directly or be forthright about a problem, you'll destroy your credibility and signal to her that she needs to dig around for what else you might be hiding.
5. Let your emotions color your judgment. We're all guilty of this from time to time, but if being angry, offended, or panicked is your normal state of being, you'll won't be taken seriously. Are you guilty of any of the above? If so, vow to change your ways--you might see a difference in your relationship with your boss.
Alison Green writes the popular Ask a Manager blog where she dispenses advice on career, job search, and management issues. She's also the author of Managing to Change the World: The Nonprofit Leader's Guide to Getting Results and former chief of staff of a successful nonprofit organization, where she oversaw day-to-day staff management, hiring, firing, and employee development. She now teaches other managers how to manage for results.