10 Things Your Manager Hates Seeing in the Workplace

Typically, there are three reasons why candidates might look for a new position: money, the boss, or no promotion. Your manager, whether you love them or hate them, is likely to be the deciding factor in all three.

It’s essential that you get on with your manager, earn their respect, work hard and, most importantly, don’t annoy them with small things that can be avoided.

Below are ten things your manager hates seeing in the workplace and will likely put you straight in their bad books.

Showing Up Late to Work

‘On time’ is ‘late’ – well, at least it is as far as I’m concerned. I always arrive at the office 30 minutes before work starts to prepare for the day, get a cup of coffee and be ready to start work on time.

It drives me crazy when people consistently arrive late to the office. If you’re 15 minutes late, by the time you’ve got a cup of coffee, organised your thoughts and started working, you’re more like 30 minutes late.Turning up late once a year doesn’t matter. My colleague had a car crash recently and, while there was only minor damage, turned up 45 minutes late. Honestly, no-one minded.

By the same token, if you’ve got young children and take them to school, meaning that you’re late each day but make up the time working later in the evenings, again, no-one minds. What managers hate seeing in the workplace is those who arrive late and leave early.

Calling in Sick When You Aren’t

Much like showing up late to work, nobody minds if, once a year, you take a sick day and are smart about doing it. What your manager hates seeing in the workplace is those who are always taking days off and aren’t smart about it.

If once a month, every month, you take a sick day, your manager is going to start getting frustrated, unless there is a valid reason. Generally, when the average person comes down with a cold or the flu, it takes three days to get over, but somehow, every month, you get an illness that you can get over in 24 hours?

Recently, I went to an after-work party with a colleague. It went on until the early hours of the morning, and we drank a little too much. That said, out of the party of ten, eight made it to the office the next morning while two took a sick day.

They were ill the next morning because of something they ate. Honestly, no-one believed them.

Negativity in the Workplace / The Gossiper

We all have the odd occasion when we like to have a moan to our manager, and for them, it’s part of their job, but managers hate seeing consistent moaning and negativity in the workplace. Typically, those who are the most negative in the workplace do the least amount of work.

Working as a team is also very difficult if you know someone is permanently negative about every situation, leading to them being isolated, as co-workers will go out of there way to avoid contact with them. A recent Business Insider survey shows that 62% of employers say they are less likely to promote employees who have a negative or pessimistic attitude.

Very much like the person that is negative the whole time, every office has a gossiper who will consistently spread gossip about other co-workers or industry knowledge. You do not want to be known as the gossiper as it will limit your career prospects. Gossipers spend more time gossiping and less time working. In the worst scenario, if you spread the wrong information and it gets back to you, it could be a career-limiting move.

Social Media

Most working professionals are on some form of social media. However, you need to watch your time spent on social media and what you reveal to your connections.

The average Facebook user spends 50 minutes each day on Facebook, which doesn’t sound like a vast amount of time until you factor in the time the average person sleeps, eats and travels to work. Then it becomes clear that the average Facebook user spends 1/14th of their day on Facebook. If you monitor more than one social media program, you could lose more than a few hours a day to social media, when you should be working.

Monitoring your Facebook usage is one thing, but also tracking what you put on Facebook and other social media programs can defiantly be a career-limiting move. Most companies today are tech-savvy and will monitor social media concerning their company and employees.

If you’re caught spreading negativity across social media about your colleagues or managers, they’re likely to have a dim view of this. My opinion is that unless it’s work related avoid using social media during working hours and keep your manager happy.

Surfing the Internet

As with social media, spending your day surfing the internet is a great way to upset your manager. The last thing that’s going to impress your manager is for them to walk past your desk and see you browsing the web.

If you’re looking for a new job, this should be done at home. If I walked past your desk and saw you surfing job boards, I would assume that you’re not happy and we’re going to leave the team. Often, employees who are not satisfied will not be productive. If I need to make changes to the team, your position could be cut whether you have a new job to go to or not.

The same applies to being distracted during meetings. We all go to some of the most boring, time-consuming meetings that ever existed, however, it’s essential that you pay attention. Managers hate to see texting, emailing and web-browsing during meetings as it shows that you’re not interested.

Personal Phone Calls

Managers hate seeing personal phone calls taking place in the workplace as let’s be honest, you should be working. Speaking to your wife for five minutes during the day is not a problem, but what is a problem is when you spend hours each day on the phone talking with your friends.

Firstly, you’re wasting time that should be spent working. Secondly, if there is a gossiper in the office who’s listening to your calls, one juicy comment about your colleagues or managers will spread like wildfire and could potentially cause you a whole world of problems.

Acting the Part In the Office

Nothing shows a lack of maturity and readiness for the next level than the person who rolls up to the office at their exact start time with their hair in a mess, their shirt un-ironed and with the general impression that they’ve just woken up.

Looking the part is 80% of being the part. If you look like a mess, it’s not something anyone is going to take seriously and not something anyone wants to promote. The same goes for your attitude around the office. Managers hate seeing sloppy, dirty employees who leave their belongings around the kitchen, and their desk a total mess with confidential information slung across it. Acting the part during your time in the office means that you’re someone people can follow and look up to as role model.

20 Questions

Managers love questions, however, there is a very fine line between an employee who wants to know more details about the assignment and an employee who blasts random questions to the manager at every opportunity.

If you’re given a new project to work on, make sure you go away and think about it thoroughly before you start asking questions. In my experience, 80% of questions don’t need to go to the manager, as you can find the answers yourself online or in the company handbook.

If you don’t understand an aspect of the project, prepare your questions in advance in an organised way that shows your maturity and experience.Questions show you’re interested, but asking a fundamental question that you should know the answer to, may get you into more trouble than it’s worth. Managers aren’t going to promote someone who doesn’t have the knowledge.

Blaming the Boss

Every workforce has its problems as doing business across the world is never a simple process, however, when mistakes are made it’s important that you handle it in the right way. It’s about how you sort it out, not whom you can blame first.

Whatever you do, don’t blame your boss for something you don’t know, or mistakes that have been made. This is unlikely to reflect well upon your problem-solving skills or your determination to succeed. Throwing your manager into the firing line with their manager will also likely put pressure on your relationship, which is not going to help your promotion chances. If you’re having problems with a project, discuss the issues you’re facing and the potential solutions while asking for their opinion.

Your manager may be able to point you in the right direction to sort things out. Even if this is not the case, keeping your manager up-to-date on progress stops any problematic conversations.

Mental Toughness

We’ve all made mistakes during our career and we’ve all taken a severe venting from our manager. It’s important to remember that this is not something to worry about and not something that will affect your career chances if you take it in the right way.

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Nick Jones

My name Nick Jones, I am a professional Head-Hunter with over 20 years of experience working all over the world. I specialise in out-of-the-box job search strategies to get your CV directly to the hiring manager, thus skipping any ATS portals or recruiters who think they're important.

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