If like me you bought into the whole dream of working for yourself, I was in for quite a shock as honestly, no one prepared me for how hard it would be. The list of things that keep me awake at night is long, but frankly speaking by far one of the hardest things I have to deal with is the people factor.
Being an employer is really bloody challenging. I always try my best to keep my head, but I’m human too and some days my team really annoy me. If you see me taking a slow walk to the bathroom or closing my door, assume I’m “having a moment”!
So, I thought I’d share my boss lady insights and the key things that really irritate me and my employer friends as you never know it may give a fresh perspective to those of you employed and maybe even help you get the best out of your employee-employer relationship and boost your career too.
1. Wanting a pay rise for no reason!
I am a big advocate for people asking for what they are worth and have no problem giving it to them if it’s warranted, but people are really bad at asking for a raise in general and don’t understand the basic rules of asking for a pay rise and how to approach it in a way most likely to succeed and not annoy their boss.
Too many people approach it from the point of view of “I’ve been here for a year” and deserve a pay rise or the like. Truly, I don’t care if you sat in your chair every day. What I as the boss care about is your performance and what you brought to my company and not that you turned up every day.
If you structure your pay rise conversation as a series of achievements and contributions to a business, as long as they are true and backed with examples and evidence and you present your case for promotion or pay rise well then you have a far better chance of success. Examples of this could look like this:
My client satisfaction was high and I retained 100% of my clients in the 12-month period.
I brought x number of leads into the business generating additional revenue of x
I implemented 3 initiatives in the business – x, y and x.
Put your feet in your boss's shoes and what matters to them. Focus on that and the difference you made and not other metrics and what matters to you.
While we’re on this topic, please also don’t ask for a pay rise every 2 months. This is another bugbear of ours. Generally, we’d recommend approaching annually if you have a strong case or 6 months if you have genuinely delivered a lot in that period. And organise your pay rise conversation professionally, book a time in the diary so they have a good idea of what is coming too and they can perhaps reflect from their side ahead of your meeting as well.
2. Bad Mouthing the Boss
Let’s face it bosses are the most “hated” and criticized people in your life after your parents – it’s a fact! Of course, we’re going to be talked about and won’t be seen eye to eye with all the time, but truly watch what you say and who you gossip too. Gossip and bad-mouthing does have a habit of getting back to your boss and generally, the only person who looks bad is yourself. They are your boss and right now your career is in part in their hands, so why jeopardise it? It would be far better to once again arrange a time with your boss and to have an open and honest conversation in a grown-up way. Think through how you’d construct your sentences. For example, “I find it demotivating when x happened and I wanted to talk this through honestly with you so you can understand my perspective too as I really value my career at x and my relationship with you”. Trust me, even if your boss is a demon, resist it and especially to your colleagues as you don’t always know who will say anything or who has their own agenda going on. Ultimately if you create a bad atmosphere and gossip, no one will thank you for it and you’re likely to be the only one who suffers in the end.
3. Asking them a million questions you don’t need to ask them
If you think turning up in your boss's office every 30 minutes with a question or update will make them like or respect you more, then you’re wrong. Generally, I appreciate those who make my busy stressful life easier. I’ve never got any issue with answering a question or being there for anyone in my team, but the reality is I’m busy and looking up every few minutes to see the same person at my door is annoying. Only take precious time from your boss if requested or truly needed. Always think, can someone else help me with this? Are they the right person to ask? Do I need to knock on their door?
4. Considering sick days as extra holiday days
Bear with me here as this one is so common and it really annoys me as the boss a treat. Many employees do seem to believe that sick days are extra holiday days to be taken as needed. Fancy a long weekend? Why not tag on a sick day at the end as you got sick over the weekend out partying? Period coming and you feel a bit hormonal and out of sorts – why not stay in bed? Now obviously there are exceptions to all, but you get my drift. Sick days are just that, sick days – not I can’t be bothered days.
5. Thinking you know more than everyone, including the boss
Bosses don’t always know best about everything, but there is a time and a place to exert your expertise and act like you know better than everyone else, the boss included is never going to make you look good. I’ve sat in meetings with team members who have 3 months of experience and have shot me down in front of a client, with a totally incorrect recommendation, to which we’ve all then had to go into damage limitation the best we can without throwing anyone under the bus which doesn’t make any of us look good or build boss/employee relationships.
As ever, if you genuinely think you do know best, there is a way to handle this. Don’t make your boss or any of your colleagues look small or stupid in a meeting as no one will thank you for it. There are lots more ways to show your worth.