10 Things Your Boss Does Not Want to Hear
By: Joel Friedman
There have been many articles and books written regarding this topic. I thought that I would take a stab at this through utilizing my experience as a reader, a leader, and a subordinate to establish a list of 10 things that bosses don’t want to hear. I am not professing to be an expert in this area as people who have worked with me can attest, but here is my list.
That’s Not My Job!!!-
Come on! If your boss is asking you to do something (provided that it is legal and ethical), then it is your job. Job descriptions are great guides and almost every job description contains the statement “assist in other areas as assigned.” But even if it doesn’t clearly state this in the job description, it should be implied.
That’s Not Doable!
This is the one of the most dangerous statements to make to your boss. Not only does it display your reluctance to roll up your sleeves and work resolve complex problems; it also plants a seed of doubt in your boss’s mind regarding whether you are the right person for the position.
I just want to get Paid!
Hey, we all want to get paid. That is a given. It is up to you to maximize your earning potential. In many organizations, your boss has some influence over your earning potential, but ultimately it comes down to factors outside of your boss’s direct control (i.e. your salary compared to others within the same grade, your performance, and company performance.) This statement delivered to your boss indicates that you are dissatisfied, possibly at risk for leaving and your only motivation is money.
Exactly how do you want me to do this?
Your boss does not want to hold your hand through every activity. At times this may be a totally appropriate question to ask your boss, but many times your boss does not know exactly how the task is to be performed and he/she is looking to you for the proper approach and the ultimate result of your effort.
We have always done it this way!
This is a cop-out response. You are a compensated professional that should always question status quo and look for opportunities to improve the environment.
That’s Not My Problem
This is one of the worst statements that can be made to any leader. Just because it is NOT your problem does not mean it is not up to you to resolve it. Any problem in your organization should be treated as YOUR problem and you need to be part of the solution!
This was in the email that I copied you on 2 weeks ago
What a great passive aggressive way to tell your boss that he is asleep at the wheel and set him/her up for a fall. This tactic of “burying the lead” in an email is utilized to hide or avoid directly delivering bad news to your boss. You know that your boss probably receives 100+ emails a day and is likely not to read the entire content of every message. Sure you are covering yourself by indicating that you tried to warn your leader, but you are also deflecting ALL blame and creating other problems. A single email is not the best way to communicate significant issues that he/she should be aware are occurring.
While this statement is an attention getter, it is usually followed by the delivery of news that your boss probably should have been aware of before it got to the point of requiring a “HEADS UP!”
I will try to meet that deadline!
This is a non-committal response that does not display the confidence in your ability to deliver the results that your leader requires. If you can’t meet the deadline, say so! Don’t use the “I will try” as a get out of jail free card.
Being YES Man, sucking up and not having an opinion!
This is more of a general behavior that your boss does not want you to display. Being the YES Man is not only annoying, it also hinders progress, creativity, and displays a lack of confidence. Not having an opinion is another safe way out of getting your hands dirty and avoiding conflict. Worse yet, if you truly do not have an opinion, it could be an indicator that you don’t know what you are doing. True professionals have the confidence, desire, and ability to make a difference. Good bosses are looking to build their teams with people that have the chutzpah to have an opinion, effectively defend their position, build consensus, and march in the direction that is agreed upon.