Clock that has arms and legs and is running  late

7 Ways to Annoy Others at Work

leadership personal development Jun 10, 2022

We all have professional pet peeves.

Those little things drive us crazy in our professional lives. From dealing with difficult co-workers to pointless meetings, keeping your cool can sometimes be challenging. So today, I want to discuss a couple of my professional pet peeves. So, you're thinking, why should I care about that old Jar Head's pet peeves? First, I don't work for him; besides, he's old.

 Well, I say my pet peeves, but these are common across much of management. If you are reading this for career advice, take this as a warning that these pet peeves may also be your bosses. 

If they are, well, if you are guilty of these, then they are something you should stop doing.

First, What is a "pet peeve"?

 It is something that a particular person finds incredibly annoying.

My definition: Something relatively small but irritating that should be avoided if you want to get along with your boss.

So here are a few of mine that you should think about whether you are doing these, and if so, stop doing them. Simple as that. A way to help your career that doesn't require much effort.

Maybe it doesn't surprise you, but the first two involve using your cell phone.

Pet Peeve 1

This is the first for a reason, when someone uses their phone to check the time while we are talking or in a meeting. Why? Because I don't know that you are checking for the time and not for a text from a friend or some other reason. Now, this one is easy to avoid. Buy an analog watch, one that is appropriate for your professional environment. If you get a digital one with all kinds of features, and you start pushing buttons on it, then I am going to assume you are doing more than checking the time and will again be irritated by your action.

Pet Peeve 2

You are staring at your phone during a discussion. Be present. If you are going to be in a meeting or discussion, then be in it. It's rude to be checking email. If you don't need to be in a conversation or meeting, then don't attend it.

Pet Peeve 3

Being late to a meeting holds up its start (this includes bosses). Being on time is almost always a choice. Sure, there are times when you get unavoidably held up, but if you are aware of your schedule and what time it is (recall my advice to wear a watch), then you need to exit from what is holding you up and then get to the meeting. This applies to bosses as well. Sometimes it seems bosses like to be late so everyone sees how busy they are. They don't understand that when they are late, people do not think about how busy the boss is, but rather how inappropriate it is to make people wait around for them. If anyone can break away from something, it is easiest for the boss to do so. So, don't be late for a meeting and make everyone wait for you.

Pet Peeve 4

The phrase "No problem." Now, there are times when this phrase is appropriate. Like when I ask you if there will be a problem with you starting a meeting 30 minutes early. And you think about it, and what that means, then you say, nope, no problem. 

However, when it raises my ire is when I tell you to do something that is part of your job, and you respond with 'no problem'. I assume that if it's your job, it should not be a problem. If it is, then say so. If it isn't a problem, then something like OK, or roger, or got it is all you should say.

Pet Peeve 5

You are using, "Hey" as an introduction to written communications, especially emails. Say Hi or Hello, or anything but Hey. I find hey to be rude, so if you are currently using it and you are not sure if others also find starting a written communication with hey, change it. Think about it this way, if you wanted to get your boss's attention verbally, would you shout Hey! To her? I don't think so. So don't write that way either.

Pet Peeve 6

You are holding on to bad news. OK, you become aware of something that is bad. Say a client didn't like the last deliverable. Or a project is not going to be completed in time. But you don't tell the boss until the last minute. You give me less time to help fix what is wrong, as well as keeping me in the dark.

Time for a little sea story. I had an employee that I gave a task to while I was going to be out of the office for a week. When I came back I saw him in the hallway and asked him how last week went, and he said fine. That morning we were scheduled to have a meeting to get me up to speed on things that happened while I was gone. Before we entered the meeting I told him that when we went around the table to discuss what they did last week, I wanted him to go into a little more detail on the project I assigned him so everyone was more aware of it. He responded with OK. However, when it was his turn to speak, and I asked him how the project I left for him to do turned out, he said that he wasn't able to get to it at all, so there really wasn't anything to report.

Why he didn't give me this bad news in the two times we talked before the meeting I have no idea. But I can tell you that he soon found work elsewhere.

Pet Peeve 7 

Lack of initiative. If you see something that needs to be done, and you can do it, then do it. Pretty simple. Don't wait for someone to tell you to do it. This is especially bad when you know that you will be told to do it eventually, but you wait until you are told. Just do it and get on with your day.

How do you know if something you are doing is your boss's pet peeve?

 Might want to think about your boss's slight negative response when you have done something and either ask them about it or just stop doing that.

Here are my 3 takeaways.

 1.    We all have them. Your boss has them. You have them.

2.    They are relatively easy to overcome with a little bit of thought. Remember, discipline will overcome them initially, then it will become a habit, so you just need to try for a little bit

3.    See if you can spot your boss's pet peeves that you might be doing and eliminate them. Everyone benefits.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post about professional pet peeves. Do you have any to share? Leave a comment below! And don't forget to check out my latest Be the Ultimate podcast episode on Apple, Google, and Spotify where we discuss career development and leadership topics in more detail. Thanks for reading!