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7 Ways to Discern Naughty and Nice Employees

Seven Ways to Discern Naughty and Nice Employees

Like everyone else, bosses make up naughty and nice lists at this time of year—which column do you or your employees fall under?

by F. John Reh
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Like everyone else, bosses make up naughty and nice lists at this time of year. The employees on the nice list get the best "presents": the best assignments, most promotions, biggest raises, etc. Those on the naughty list get the other jobs and assignments. Read the naughty and nice employee descriptions below to see where you fit.

Holiday Events

NICE organizes little team building events to build team spirit. Whether it's a potluck lunch with a holiday theme, a secret Santa gift exchange, or decorating the cubicles, the nice employee is giving to the team.

NAUGHTY shows up at every event, eats the food, complains about something, and then leaves. The naughty employee never helps organize any of the events or offers to help in any way.


NICE schedules vacation ahead of time so the boss can plan workloads.

NAUGHTY waits to the last minute to ask for time off and complains when the boss says too many people are already gone that day.

Feeling Sick

NICE stays home when sick. Rather than bring germs to the office and make others sick, the nice employee uses sick leave as it was intended.

NAUGHTY comes to work anyway and either makes others sick or forces them to take extra precautions to protect their health. He figures that way he can use his sick days for vacation when he's feeling better.

Bad Weather

NICE somehow finds a way to get to work even when the weather is bad. If he can't safely get to work because of bad weather, the nice employee calls to let the boss know as early as possible and either takes work home to complete or telecommutes if that's an option.

NAUGHTY is nowhere to be found if the weather is bad. He calls in eventually so his pay doesn't get docked, but you know you can't depend on him.

Holiday Spirit

NICE stays positive despite the pressures of the end of the year. He smiles and is pleasant in keeping with the spirit of the season.

NAUGHTY moans about all the work that has to be done and how little time there is to do it because of all the holiday events and people out sick.


NICE works a little harder to meet year-end goals and deadlines. He knows what has to be done and what can slip a little into next week.

NAUGHTY asks for overtime for every little added task. He gets less done during an eight-hour day than the average employee, but is always the first to ask to be paid to finish something that should have already been done.

Company Party

NICE chats socially with people from other departments, enjoys the buffet, and is enjoyable to be around. He takes advantage of the opportunity to network with bosses, peers, and others, but isn't pushy.

NAUGHTY gets plastered and becomes rude and obnoxious. He's the one who won't remember the pass he made at the boss's wife or the coworker he spilled a drink on.

Bottom Line

It's pretty simple to make sure you're on your boss's nice list. Be part of the team, be a giver rather than a taker, and reflect the spirit of the holiday. In short, be nice. Your boss will notice and your stocking will be filled during the coming year with more "candy" than "coal" at work.

- This article was originally published on Management. It has been re-posted here with permission