Perhaps it’s the fact that I arrived home at 1:55am last night after a hellish journey home from a trade show. Or maybe the caffeine level in my bloodstream has slipped dangerously low. Or it could just be that I’m just in a contrary mood.

In any event, I just made a horrible tactical error by going over to Alltop’s listing of top Lifehacks sites. (In spite of everything which follows, if you haven’t checked out Alltop, you should – it’s a sort of a catalog of the “best of the blogs;” very handy.) In my current state of mind the relentlessly positive blog entry titles on Alltop’s Lifehacks page – “J.C. Penney’s 7 keys to a smashing success;” “10 ways history’s finest kept their focus at work;” and my personal favorite, “Get past the pineapple: 10 Life Lessons from your fruit bowl” were so upbeat and earnest that it turned me off. OK, I already admitted it’s me, it’s not you.

So…. I’m in a mood to turn things upside down a bit and thought I’d give you some free pointers on how to make your boss nuts and genuinely piss him or her off. Bored by a series of promotions? Things going too smoothly at the office? Want to introduce a bit more risk into your professional life? Read on…

1. Let’s start with a great one: don’t get along with the other kids. March into your boss’s office and say something like, “I don’t want to get (insert name of coworker here) in trouble or anything, but…” and then launch into an agitated description of some slight or failing, the more trivial the better. An alternative is to snipe at colleagues in meetings or badmouth them around the office. Bosses love this stuff because they don’t have enough to do and it gives them some extra people issues to work through.

2. Surprise your boss! Everyone will have a project go sideways on them at some point: a missed deadline, cost overrun, or field failure. To paraphrase the famous bumper sticker, “Stuff happens.” What’s the best way to handle this situation? When you realize you’ve got a problem, whatever you do, don’t let your boss know right away. Save it for a surprise, – hopefully in a meeting with a lot of people. Bosses love surprises!

3. Do exactly what’s expected of you and nothing more. Whatever you do, DO NOT go looking for process, systemic or product gaps and seek ways to fill them. This might upset your boss and your coworkers. Adding extra value to any organization is highly overrated anyway.

4. Don’t talk to your boss about your performance. Wait for your annual review to find out how things are going, what you’re doing well, what you need to improve upon, and so forth. You like surprises too, right? Having an ongoing dialog with your boss is just a big time sponge and who wants to build a stronger, healthier relationship with their boss anyway? The boss will appreciate the fact that you’re not taking up his time with this kind of stuff.

5. DON’T present solutions; offer up problems! If you face an issue or vexing problem simply go to your boss and state the problem and then – this is the brilliant part – say, “What do you want me to do?” Bosses LOVE having extra opportunities to analyze issues, identify alternatives, and identify solutions. Whatever you do, don’t go in with 2-3 alternatives, an understanding of the pros/cons associated with each, and a recommendation. Most supervisors don’t have enough problems of their own and relish the chance to take on yours – you’re doing her a favor!!

6. Make sure you give your boss ALL the data. Your boss probably doesn’t have enough data so if you’ve been asked to prepare a summary of a report or study, make sure you brings lots of data. Summarizing the key points, grouping the data, calling out the key takeaways – these are things the boss wants to do. Just make sure you bring all the data – this is a great chance to sort through it together… and get some quality face time with the boss!

Follow these simple 6 steps and I’m confident you’ll find that your situation at work changes dramatically! By the way, make sure you see my earlier posts on interviewing skills – they may come in handy!

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1 Comment on 6 terrific ways to piss off your boss

  1. Will Jablome says:

    LOL funny.


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