8 ways things can get icy with your boss

Failing to see eye-to-eye with your boss, whether they are a director, department manager or team leader, could place a roadblock in your career path.

We’ve all experienced those trying moments at work when the person in command just isn't up to the job. They may be ineffective, indecisive or just plain unfair, but unless you’re careful, their shortcomings can have a significant impact on your job performance and your career.

The reality is that it may not always be fair to blame the boss when things go wrong. In fact, it pays to tread carefully because if your behaviour sees relations sour, you could find your career skating on thin ice.

One of the best steps to take in terms of career progression is to recognise responsibility and to behave professionally at all times. That means upholding the culture of the firm and respecting the chain of command. It’s not always easy but unless you can tick all these boxes, the end result is likely to be friction with the boss, and that’s unlikely to have a positive impact on your career.

Let’s look at eight things you could be doing that creates the wrong impression.

1. Undermine the bosses’ decisions

This one rates high on the annoyance factor. There’s no denying managers can face tough decisions – some they will get right, others they’ll get wrong. Whatever the case, it’s important to avoid rejecting instructions and criticising your employer’s decisions in public. If you have serious objections or see real flaws in their decisions, have a word in private – they’ll be much less likely to be on the back foot than if you air your disapproval in public.

2. Criticise your firm publicly

Publicly attacking your firm or your manager is a big no-no. It can have a negative impact on team morale and motivation, and it’s almost certain to impact your individual prospects, quite possibly dashing any hopes of a promotion.

3. Sucking up

Brown-nosing your boss, vocally approving their decisions, 'liking' their social media posts and offering them endless cups of tea can undermine your professional skills and talents. Focus on doing a great job, and get noticed for your performance not your ability to suck up to your manager.

4. Whinging…constantly

We’re all entitled to the occasional gripe but constant complaining about your clients, technology, office supplies, colleagues, the weather and so on, will quickly see you labelled as tiresome. Constructive criticism has its place, but if you're unable to say anything positive or constructive, it may be best to just keep your head down.

5. Being change resistant

Let’s face it, change is the one constant factor in today’s business world, and new systems, policies and processes are introduced for a reason. Responding to change in a positive way and embracing a new direction makes it easier for everyone around you. Employees who persist with outmoded ways of working – for whatever reason, can drag the entire team down.

6. Dominating colleagues

If you're the only voice that ever gets heard in team meetings, it could be that you are dominating your colleagues. Give others a chance to speak and share their ideas. The loudest person in the room is rarely the wisest, so it sometimes pays to take a step back.

7. Constantly self-promoting

Your boss is constantly assessing your performance, your quality of work, achievements and your contribution using measurable benchmarks. Telling the world how good you are won't make a difference. You could just come across as self-centred and self-promoting.

8. Rejecting feedback

Part of your manager's role is to carry out performance reviews and provide updates on your progress. If they give constructive criticism, it's important to accept what they say and take it on board – even if you question its validity. Adopting a defensive stance will frustrate your manager, who is simply trying to get the best out of you.

Modern workplaces can be high pressure environments, and isolated incidents of annoying your boss may not necessarily be a problem. The thing to watch out for is causing consternation regularly or across a number of fronts.

If you see this trend developing, take a moment to consider your own behaviour. You could be contributing to the problem even though you don’t mean to. So, lay the foundations for a healthier working relationship. It could do your career the world of good.

This article originally appeared as On thin ice? 8 ways things can get icy with your boss on roberthalf.co.uk.

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