If your objective is to annoy your boss and ensure that you earn your way on to his or her Short List (OK, the name of the list starts with sh and ends with t, but this is a family blog), try these on for size:
1. Engage in the world’s most popular sport, “Boss Bashing” with anyone and everyone within earshot, assuming that he’ll never hear. He will hear and it will be way out of context.
2. Don’t pay attention to your boss’s preferred communication patterns (a lot, daily, rarely, only in a crisis) and just do what makes you comfortable. After all, it’s fine to let her seek you out when she wants something. Newsflash: it’s not.
3. Assume that your priorities trump that little thing the boss asked you to take care of. They really don’t. Seriously.
4. Do everything possible to keep your screw-ups out of sight of the boss. You don’t want to stress him off or worse, tick him off. You don’t know ticked off until the boss figures out that you covered up a problem. Your problem is his problem in the organization, and when he hears about it from a peer or his boss, watch out.
5. Apply your own chess playing skills to office politics and work to further your own agenda behind the scenes and away from your boss. Again, it’s OK to focus on “you.” Sounds like “Chess for Losers” to me.
6. You’re a lifetime member of Mensa with an eye-popping IQ, and it’s your right and privilege to ensure that the boss knows you are smarter than her at every occasion. Of course, you’re not sure if she’s smart enough to know how smart you are. Let me know how this one works out. Dumb ass.
7. Talk about issues that upset you in the context of, “People are saying.” Bosses love that you’re keeping them tuned in to the culture. Newsflash: we all know that you are the mysterious “people” in your story. This is just annoying.
8. Make certain that the boss knows that you are entitled to more based on your years of service and dedication to the company. Bosses love people who act is if they are entitled. Not.
The Bottom-Line for Now:
Cut it out. Cut all of them out. While some bosses are deserving of a dedicated spot somewhere between the middle and lower levels of Dante’s Inferno, every other civilized boss prefers straight talk, no games, actions more than words, timely awareness of mistakes and just the right level of engagement.
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An ideal book for anyone starting out in leadership: Practical Lessons in Leadership by Art Petty and Rich Petro.