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One of my favourite topics is employee engagement. I have worked for some really great bosses – I have also worked for some terrible one’s in my 15 years of corporate life before I started my own show. So I have been both a boss and an employee – I have seen both sides of the fence.

It is true that a third of people leave a workplace simply because they say ‘they are not noticed’ according to Gallup Organization.

But I was interested to read a recent article that outlined – what if you are noticing employees for all the ‘wrong’ reasons.

Apparently about half of employees say they ‘hate their boss’. But the shoe could just as easily be on the other foot. What if the employee is a right royal pain! Bad hire, or has just got cynical with the years. If you don’t like your boss – maybe they don’t like you either.

Dr Susan Nicholson: Organisational psychologist and partner at Mentors Psychology have researched the ten things boss hate about employees:

1. You’re unreliable

Missing deadlines, saying one thing doing another – has an excuse for everything – bosses hate that. They just want you to get the job done and on time.

2. You won’t fess up to mistakes

Blaming the other person or trying to cover mistakes up – Instead of just owning up to it and working out how to fix it. This shows that someone is weak of character if they don’t take responsibility. Which ultimately is the ‘ number one career killer’.

3. You gossip too much

On Facebook, Instant Messenger or at the coffee machine – it doesn’t matter how. Talking about people behind their back, stirring up trouble or undermining what the boss is setting out to achieve.

4. Nothing’s ever good enough for you

I call this one the black hat! They are going to rain on anyone’s parade just because they can. The employee who constantly gripes, points out that new ideas are destined to fail or sits in meetings scowling and smirking. Negativity is like cancer – spreading and rotting what the positive people are achieving. It perpetuates an ‘us versus them mentality.’

5. You hate change

The one constant thing at RedBalloon is change. How can you be a fast growth business – growing organically – without constantly challenging the status quo and doing things differently. RedBallooners embrace change – it is just the way we do things around here. I could not imagine what it would be like to work with people who love to grumble and criticise new ideas and processes.

6. You smell

A very sensitive subject. Too much perfume is just as much of a problem as B/O. Both are too dominant in the workplace. Very tricky to deal with.

Talking about dress and appearance is really really hard for a boss – and quite frankly they should not have to.  Remember dress (tribal wear) for your next promotion. If you want to be a marketing manager – dress like one – don’t dress like a uni student.

7. You’re always late

Tardiness, sick days or long lunches add up, and bosses notice – especially if you then lie about it. Don’t think your boss doesn’t notice if you are constantly cutting corners. Bosses don’t like people who appear to be doing the bare minimum. They want people who are not only productive but are coming up with ideas on how to do things better. If people are late to work, late to meetings, late back from lunch  – it shows bosses that something else is way more important than their job.

8. You’re over-eager

The worst one of this is when the boss gets copied in on every email that the employee writes looking for browny points. This just makes more work for the boss. The job of the employee is to reduce the workload of the boss.

9. You run your personal life from your desk

Stealing time is as bad as stealing from the stationery cupboard. You might think it is only an hour here or there on eBay, Flickr and Youtube – but it really makes your co-workers mad. Realising that your time is a scarce resource that you apply to the greater cause of your workplace will give a whole new meaning to productivity.

10. You’re a bully

I have been bullied by an employee some years ago… and it is really very distressing. Officially business needs to have an anti-discrimination policy, but it is astounding to learn that more than a quarter of workers saying they have been bullied at work, and more than half say they have witnessed bullying in the workplace.

Bullying includes needless swearing in the office, making threats…bosses want happy peaceful teams, not dominating or passive aggressive ones

Next time you complain about your boss – spare a moment to think ‘I wonder what I’m doing to bother them?’.  What goes around come around, and people who are liked are the one’s who get the promotions.


Reader Interactions


  1. Hi Naomi,
    Thanks for giving such a comprehensive list.
    It is always great to be reminded of these things and as a business owner to realise that my own employees may well have some of the attributes pointed out in your post.


  1. […] 10 things bosses hate | Naomi Simson’s Blog […]

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