16 Feb Fourteen Mistakes That Will Make You Look Really Unprofessional to Your Boss
Original Spanish version published in El Comercio newspaper (Peru) on February 16, 2016
- It is a grave mistake to forget that your boss represents the firm that is buying your services. Whether you like your boss or not, your boss is also your main client, and you must always treat your boss with the same respect that you would your favorite client.
- Not doing what it takes to keep your boss happy with your work at all times is a strategic mistake. Your boss’s opinion of you is vital to your career –your boss will not only decide whether or not you are promoted or move up the ladder, but he or she will possibly serve as a job reference for years to come. Remember the old adage, “Don’t burn bridges.”
- It is a mistake to feel that you are sucking up to your boss if you actively seek a positive, pleasant, and open relationship with him or her. Your boss will trust you more if you are genuinely kind and if he or she feels that you are someone they can work with –without any drama or difficulties.
- Not making an effort to get to know your boss as a person is a mistake. Making this effort –at lunch outside the office, for example– will give you the opportunity to learn about their dreams, goals for the future, and career plans. Getting to know your boss helps you understand their views and how they may have an impact on your own dreams, goals, and plans.
- You are not guaranteed frequent or even periodic feedback from your boss; therefore, failing to ask your boss about your job success and performance is a mistake. Unless you are one of the lucky few to have a very communicative boss, how will you know what your boss’s expectations are from your work performance if you don’t ask him or her about this directly and often?
- It is a mistake not to let your boss know about your contributions and accomplishments regularly. If you don’t, how will he or she know what you have done or the value that you have contributed to the company? A list of accomplishments can work wonders especially during a review.
- It is a huge mistake to judge your boss too harshly or negatively for mistakes, faults, or character –forgetting that your boss is human is a mistake that can affect the tone of your relationship and could have a negative impact on your career.
- Nothing is worse than harboring animosity towards your boss. Animosity is unforgivable and insulting. Even if you aren’t communicating your dissatisfaction through words, chances are good that you are communicating how you truly feel through your body language. Harboring animosity towards your boss can create an enemy –one that is tantamount to professional suicide. Either speak to your boss in an effort to find a common ground or move on, but don’t stay and remain hostile.
- It is a very bad idea to bad mouth or criticize your boss to or in front of other people, even if they are from your inner circle. This is not only a sign of disloyalty, but a frivolous and irresponsible action that can put your job and career in jeopardy. There is a good chance that your boss will get wind of your negative gossiping and those you are gossiping to will wonder if you are doing the same behind their backs. Don’t do it!
- Making your boss shine is in your best interest –forgetting this may prevent you from advancing in your career. If your boss perceives you as being key to his or her own success, you will more than likely move forward together. Helping your boss succeed is also a sign of professionalism.
- It is a serious mistake to suffer through misery by staying with a bad boss too long. This can bring you down and condemn you to professional death. If your boss is not a good fit or is somehow unethical in his or her dealings, it is critical that you find another position or job right away.
- There is no such thing as an ideal boss, and all bosses are different. Sometimes we are faced with the need to teach them how to be better bosses –not all bosses have been trained in, or innately have good leadership skills. Giving them clear feedback and guidance –in private– is a gift that experienced bosses will appreciate.
- It is a serious mistake to forget that the boss is just that –the boss. It is important to show respect for authority and be polite in every situation, without exception. Even if your boss is not who you would like him or her to be.
- Trying to compete with your boss, trying to constantly upstage him or her in public, or trying to be better at everything is a mistake. This is a case of your ego leading you nowhere and damages the relationship, and most likely your career, irreparably.