What are some things employees do that bother managers? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Tom Sullivan, Father, Writer, and Software Salesman, on Quora:

I've been the manager several times in my life, but currently I'm the one being managed, and thank god for that. My manager is great, but he's lucky that I know what it's like to be the manager. I hope I'm more valuable than burdensome to him.

There are many extremely challenging things about being the manager, and most employees have no idea because they aren't seeing these challenges themselves. As an employee, you can make these things much, much worse, or you can make them drastically better.

One of your main goals as an employee is to make your manager look good to his manager. If you do this, both of your lives will be much better off. Make sure you make your manager look good and make her life easier by not doing these six things:

  1. Don't gossip about other people at the company to your manager. This immediately puts your manager in a precarious position, she cannot agree with you or gossip back without making herself 'against' the other person, but if she doesn't gossip back she will be 'against' you. No matter how badly you want to tell your manager about whatever stupid thing so and so did, or how so and so is screwing up on this one thing, just don't do it. It's not worth it, and it hurts both of you no matter what. Just focus on doing your job as best as you can, which will make your manager look good. Don't meddle in the affairs of others at work, especially not with your manager.
  2. Don't forget the details. In most jobs, your manager is going to be reviewing your work, if not always, then from time to time. If you leave out important details, are generally lazy about certain things, or just forget to do certain tasks frequently, you need to stop. It's your manager's job to correct your mistakes, to tell you that you're not getting it right, and to make sure you're doing your job the way it's supposed to be done. The last thing she wants to do is have to call you out. It's awkward, it feels bad, and nobody wants do it. Believe it or not, your manager wants you to succeed, so make it easy for her to allow that to happen. Don't forget the details and don't screw up, at least not too often.
  3. Don't go to your manager only with questions. Yes it is your manager's job to answer your questions when you are confused and don't know what to do, or if the level of decision making that is needed is above your pay grade. However, you should have more interactions than simply asking your manager to provide answers or make decisions for you. Your manager is very busy making lots of decisions throughout the day already, and you will have to come to them for answers enough, so make sure you come with some other stuff as well. Give good ideas, praise for something she did to help you, praise for a co-worker, praise for the team, talk about something unrelated to work that you're both interested in. Be a person, not just an employee, and give value, not just questions that need answers.
  4. Don't take all the credit, give it to your manager instead. It's not fun to be in a position where your subordinate is constantly demanding credit for all their work. To know that somebody needs praise puts a burden on a manager, or anyone else who is in a praise-giving position. You should stop caring about getting credit completely, because it is meaningless, and everybody will end up knowing it was you anyways. What you can do instead is always give your manager credit. If the CEO talks to you about something that went well, give credit to your manager for leading the team to success. If your manager helps you with something, say how much you appreciate it. This will help you make your manager look and feel good, and eventually it will come back around and turn into good karma and credit being given back to you.
  5. Don't hate your boss. It's very typical, for whatever psychological reason, for employees to hate their boss. Granted, a lot of mangers are horrible and deserve to be hated, but most don't. You should really try to put yourself in you manager's shoes more often and hate them less. If you do start to hate them, you should bring up the issue that is creating the hate to clear the air to get a resolution. You might not hate them afterwards, simply because you brought that thing up. I managed a team where one person hated me, and I had no idea why. She didn't directly say, "I hate you," but it was obvious that she did. I think it may have been because she was much older than I was and resented me for it. She likely assumed I didn't respect her when I did and tried very hard to show her. Either way, it isn't going to do you any good to hate your boss. I've had some extremely hateable bosses and just by getting to know them a little bit, I was able get past the things that most people hated about them and actually gain more respect from them in the process. At one job, I was well known as one of the few people the highest level managers actually talked respectfully to at one organization. You don't have to hate your boss unless they truly are horrible and abusive, and if that is true you should quit. Hating your boss is pointless and wastes your energy, so just talk to her instead.
  6. Don't hold back. For the good of your company, don't hold back when talking to your manager because you're afraid for your job. If you don't speak up about the important stuff, or don't tell your manager your ideas because you're afraid their stupid, you're hurting the company by not contributing fully. You can also go too far by speaking up on every little whim that goes into your head. The best approach is to simply stop for a second before you say something, and think if it's something that could improve things for the company and your team. If no, then don't waste your managers time, but if it's important, then go for it. Speaking your ideas (if you take the time to make sure they're helpful) will give you a good reputation as a thought leader at your organization and make you someone that people will come to for an opinion. Don't be afraid to say what you think to your manager, as long as you stop and make sure it's helpful first.

The most important thing to remember is that if you make your manager look good, you will stand out. This will lead to good things happening and likely some upward mobility at your job.

It's also important to not annoy or hate your manager, because your manager's life is hard enough as it is, and you're not helping anyone by making things worse.

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Published on: Dec 29, 2017