What Makes A Bad Boss Bad?

The Boss

The fact is employees don’t leave bad companies; they leave bad bosses. When I asked my friends why they resigned from past jobs, it really always boils down to them not liking their boss. The company, for the most part, is rarely the problem. In fact, many times its extremely unfortunate because they loved the company and their fellow co-workers, they just couldn’t stand their boss.

We have all seen and experienced a bad boss. When you hear someone talking about a bad boss our instinct is usually to laugh because the situations are usually so strange that it’s comical. Of course if you are on the receiving end of a bad boss it usually is not funny and can be really stressful.

I believe I can tell whether someone is a good boss or not within a few minutes of meeting them and their team. You can just tell by what they say, how they say it and how they and their team behave.

Here are my top five signs of a bad boss:

  1. The Huge Ego: This is the arrogant boss who takes every opportunity to show off. They think they know everything. This type of boss has also been known to tell their own team that they are the best/greatest boss.
  2. The Micromanager: A boss that believes they know how others should do their job. They can’t trust people to do their own job and instead micro-manage everything they do. I often notice that this type of boss usually does not have much work to do themselves and therefore has time to micro-manage.
  3. The Coward: A boss that takes on no accountability and often hides behind others. When dealt with issues/conflict on the team will blame everyone and everything and will never consider themselves as the protagonist.
  4. The Plagiarizer: This type of boss takes credit for other people’s work or ideas and passes it off as their own (especially to his or her boss).
  5. The Narcissist: A boss that doesn’t care about the people on their team and is not interested in helping, coaching and developing anyone else but themselves.

Each of the above are clear signs of a bad manager. Realistically, if you have a boss with one or two of these signs then you usually can still do your work. It definitely sucks and is not ideal but doable. Unfortunately, if you have a boss that shows several of these signs then you have a problem. My advice is to speak to your bad boss. Be honest with them and incase that doesn’t work at least they won’t be surprised when you transfer to another department or leave the company. Also speak to HR (confidentially of course). If HR receives the same complaints/concerns regarding a particular manager then they should offer some coaching and management training.

At the End of the Day

One day you could be a boss. If and when that day comes make sure you are a great one. Here are 5 signs of a great boss:

  1. You get genuine pleasure from helping others do their best work; you measure your own success by theirs.
  2. You don’t treat everyone the same. You know your people well enough to manage them as individuals.
  3. You understand that your title gives you power, but intelligence and integrity give you influence, which is invaluable.
  4. Your feedback is specific, sincere and constructive. People know where they stand with you.
  5. More than a few people on your team have saved notes of praise you’ve sent them. Your words carry that much impact.

5 out of 12 signs of a Great Boss from Forbes

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