Whether you're hoping to get ahead at work or just trying to build healthy relationships, it's important to understand how your boss works — what she appreciates, what she respects, and what she can't stand. Create a strong connection with your manager and avoid irritating her by steering clear of these 15 ways to annoy your boss:
- Arrive late, coffee in hand. If you waltz into the office 20 minutes late, clutching a Starbucks cup, chances are it's not going to be well-received. If you're running short on time, skip the coffee shop and head to the office coffeemaker instead.
- Dress inappropriately. Your boss doesn't want to feel like your parent, so she won't be thrilled if she has to regularly address your workwear. Keep things professional and remember to err on the conservative side.
- Regularly bring up your accomplishments. Patting your own back is fine every once in a while, but high-fiving yourself for every little victory is sure to frustrate both your co-workers and your boss. Save the boasting for your year-end review and always note your successes with a purpose — as in, say, while negotiating salary.
- Say you'll "try" instead of you "will." When you're asked to finish something, that means you're expected to finish it. Form your responses carefully, as even small tweaks can have a huge effect. Instead of saying, "I'll try to get to that," nod and assure your boss by saying, "No problem, I will get to that as soon as I've finished this."
- Ask personal questions. Your boss will offer personal information as she sees fit, so refrain from asking anything too intimate. Small talk is fine, of course, but remember to maintain professional boundaries during conversation.
- Tattle on other employees. Most information finds its way through the grapevine, so chances are your boss will find out about any significant scandals from someone else. Nobody likes the office tattler — and telling your boss someone else's secrets would say more about your character than theirs, anyway.
- Reply to all her tweets. You may be Facebook friends, but that doesn't mean you need to "like" every status or comment on every one of her pictures. Keep the interactions minimal so that you don't aggravate her with hourly notifications that say you've commented on five more of her Instagram photos.
Keep reading for more ways to annoy your boss.
- Have a messy desk. Most bosses don't demand that your space be crystal clear, but they definitely don't expect it to be a mountain of loose paper, either. Maintain a neat desk to reflect a sense of responsibility and authority.
- Complain about the copy machine. The fax machine is beeping, the Internet is slow, and, frankly, the water cooler is a bit too warm. Your boss doesn't care, since she has much bigger things to worry about. Get in touch with the appropriate departments or try to fix the problems yourself.
- Steal office supplies. Just because there's a closet full of printer paper doesn't mean you should stuff your purse with a packet or two. You'll lose your boss's trust if you snag supplies from the office — stealing is stealing, and she won't promote an employee who's known for taking things from the company.
- Ignore phone calls and emails. If you regularly let your voicemail and email inboxes pile up, guess who's going to hear about it? Your boss. When you fail to respond, people will be forced to get a hold of her, and they definitely won't have anything nice to say about you.
- Offer to help with anything and everything. There's helpful, and then there's overbearing. Volunteer to support her when appropriate, but don't overdo it or you'll risk coming off as a brownnoser.
- Make fun of her bad habits. The first time you teased her for skipping breakfast, she laughed. The 15th time, though, it may not be so funny. Be kind and keep sarcasm to a minimum so that you avoid accidentally offending her.
- Ask for a raise before doing your research. It's smart to know your worth and ask for the appropriate pay, but only if you're backing up claims with real data. Keep a folder marked "Review" and file away any positive feedback throughout the year so that when the opportunity arises, you're prepared to intelligently discuss a pay raise.
- Be all business, all the time. You're human, and so is she. Don't be a robot who shows up to the office, works, then leaves. Engage in conversation, make jokes, and don't be afraid to laugh. Fun has a place in the workplace, so allow yourself the space to enjoy your job and let your personality shine through.