http://humanresources.about.com/b/2014/ ... d-boss.htmWhat Makes a Manager a Bad Boss?
By Susan M. Heathfield
April 1, 2014
Bad bosses are a perennially popular topic on this site. I think that the topic of a bad boss resonates with everyone because we've all had one at one time or another during our working lives.
I ran a poll in the past that asked what you would do if you had a bad boss. The majority of readers said they would talk with their boss. I lauded everyone's courage, but your responses also made me think. Here are my thoughts about how to deal with a bad boss.
You're weary. You're frustrated. You're unhappy. You're demotivated. Your interaction with your boss leaves you cold. He's a bully, intrusive, controlling, picky or petty. He takes credit for your work, never provides positive feedback and misses each meeting he schedules with you. Or he caves immediately under pressure and fails to support you in accomplishing your job.
He's a bad boss, bad to the bone. Dealing with a less than effective manager, or just plain bad managers and bad bosses, is a challenge too many employees face. No matter the character of your bad boss, these ideas will help you deal with your bad boss.Does the Bad Boss Know?
Start your campaign by understanding that your boss may not know he is bad. Just as in situational leadership, the definition of bad depends on the employee's needs, the manager's skills and the circumstances.
A hands-off manager may not realize that his failure to provide any direction or feedback makes him a bad boss. He may think he’s empowering his staff. A manager who provides too much direction and micromanages may feel insecure and uncertain about his own job. He may not realize his direction is insulting to a competent, secure, self-directed staff member.
Or, maybe the boss lacks training and is so overwhelmed with his job requirements that he can’t provide support for you. Perhaps he has been promoted too quickly or his reporting responsibilities have expanded beyond his reach. In these days of downsizing, responsibilities are often shared by fewer staff members than ever before.
This bad boss may not share your values. The newer generation of workers expect that they can use their vacation time and take action to make work-life balance a priority. Not all bosses share these views. If your values are out of sync with those of your boss, you do have a problem.Recommended Approach to the Unwitting Bad Boss
Talk to this boss. Tell him what you need from him in term of direction, feedback and support. Be polite and focus on your needs. Telling the boss he’s a bad boss is counterproductive and won’t help you meet your goals.
Ask the manager how you can help him reach his goals. Make sure you listen well and provide the needed assistance.
Seek a mentor from among other managers or more skilled peers, with the full knowledge of your current manager, to enlarge your opportunity for experience.
If you’ve taken these actions, and they haven’t worked, go to your boss’s manager and ask for assistance. Or, you can go to your Human Resources staff first, to rehearse and gain advice. Understand that your current boss may never forgive you, so ensure you have done what you can do with him, before taking your issues up the line.
You may never hear what the boss’s boss or the HR staff did to help solve your bad manager’s behavior. It’s confidential. But, do allow some time to pass for the actions to have their desired impact.
If nothing changes, despite your best efforts, and you think the problem is that they don’t believe you, draw together coworkers who also experience the behavior. Visit the boss’s manager to help him see the size and impact of the behavior.
If you think the problem is that your boss can’t – or won’t – change, ask for a transfer to another department. This recommendation presumes you like your employer and your work.
If a transfer or promotion is unavailable, begin your search for a new job. Fleeing is always an option. You may want to conduct your job search secretly, but under the circumstances, it may be time for you to go.When the Bad Boss Knows
Working with a manager at a client company, we discussed his approach to employees. He looked down his nose at them. He criticized and screamed at employees. He publicly humiliated any employee who made a mistake.
One day he called me to ask a question. I thought, “Great. Break through.” I was doomed to disappointment when he said, “I know that you don’t approve of me screaming at staff as a regular thing.” I agreed. “So, can you tell me, please, what are the circumstances under which it is okay to scream at them?”
This manager thought his behavior was perfectly acceptable. (The end of the story? He never did change and was eventually removed as manager.) Most managers that bully, intimidate, cruelly criticize, name call and treat you as if you are stupid likely know what they are doing. They may know they’re bad and even revel in their badness.
They may feel their behavior has been condoned - and even encouraged - within your organization. They may have learned the behaviors from their former supervisor who was viewed as successful.
You don’t have to put up with demeaning behavior. You deserve a good boss who helps your self-confidence and self-esteem grow. You deserve a good boss who helps you advance your career. You deserve civil, professional treatment at work.Recommended Approach to the Bad Boss Who Knows
Start by recognizing that you have the right to a professional environment in your workplace. You are not the problem. You have a bad boss. He is the problem.
You can try talking with the bad boss to tell him the impact that his actions or words are having on you or your performance. In a rare blue moon, the bad boss might care enough to work to modify his behavior. If he does decide to work on his behavior, hold him to his commitments. If you allow him to yell at you, even just a little bit, you are training him that he can get away with his former behavior. Don’t go to war publicly, but draw his behavior to his attention as soon as you have the opportunity, privately.
If the behavior does not change, appeal to his supervisor and to Human Resources staff. Describe exactly what he does and the impact the behavior is having on you and your job performance. You may never hear what the boss’s boss or the HR staff did to help solve your bad manager’s behavior. It’s confidential. But, do allow some time to pass for the actions to have their desired impact.
If nothing changes, despite your best efforts, and you think the problem is that they don’t believe you, draw together coworkers who also experience the behavior. Visit the boss’s manager to help him see the size and impact of the behavior.
If you think the problem is that your boss can’t – or won’t – change, ask for a transfer to another department. This recommendation presumes you like your employer and your work.
If a transfer or promotion is unavailable, begin your search for a new job. Fleeing is always an option. You may want to conduct your job search secretly, but under the circumstances, it may be time for you to go.Comments:
(1) GG says:
The manager is not qualified for the position, and has less experience than some (all) of his direct reports.
April 24, 2006 at 5:07 pm(2) rachel says:
Let me add from my own experience:
Brings up past transgressions months later.
Does not have a clue as to the definition of performance versus behavior.
Can’t deal with intelligent employees who disagree or have their own thoughts/opinions.
Overbearing in expectations
Does not communicate expectations or goals.
Ignores people and/or plays favorites with staff – superstar today, black hole the next.
Loves brownnosers and tattletales
Lack of integrity, breaks promises
Complains and does not solve problems
Can’t handle the truth or perceptions about the organization
Uses people without reward or recognition
September 23, 2011 at 1:42 pm(3) mary says:
I work for a big company and i have a real drama supervisor her employers dont mean squt i am a lead went to complain about how she yells at me in front of employeses. The manager told me i was a nobody and that my job was just to order material. My supervisior complains to me about what i am doing wrong she has her favorites and people are tiered, I wanted to quit my job, But i am a dam good lead i take care of the people,.Should i go to hr and asked to be moved. I am bilingual and most of the employees are spanish. I always tell them to go to her and they said she doesnt care.She never include me in anything she goes to another supervisor and they talke always with the f work.
October 16, 2011 at 8:55 am(4) natalie says:
i have a boss just like this…and when ppl resign even with proper notice they do not get their last paycheck…..i wanna go how should i do it
(5) kollette says:
A bad boss is one who feels he can wait to the last minute to present you with projects and assignments because you always get it done.
April 27, 2006 at 8:15 am(6) Miu says:
A bad boss is one who does not have the courage to deal with a difficult situation despite knowing that it is the right thing to do.
April 27, 2006 at 12:23 pm(7) Tasha says:
A bad boss is someone (or an organization) who does not know that his staff is his greatest asset. Happy staff = happy customers.
April 29, 2006 at 6:17 pm(8) Haneefah says:
1) Does not know her job description; Not qualified for the position at ALL, and will take the credit although they do nothing but create chaos.
2) Can’t deal with intelligent employees who disagree or have their own thoughts/opinions.
3) Is dishonest/lies.
3) Does not communicate expectations or goals. Generally communicates through others during interviews(with the interviewee present)or in front of other staff members.
5) Lack of integrity, breaks promises
5) Constantly Complains and does not solve problems. Actually CREATES the problems
5) Makes negative comments about the agency/organization
6) Uses people without reward or recognition, but again will take the credit for work done
7) Makes racial comments about staff or interviewees
May 8, 2006 at 9:55 am(9) Joel says:
I can relate this to my present “boss”. She possesses all of these negative traits.
1. Takes credit for good things employees do, but redirects blame when something goes wrong.
2. When something goes wrong, blames people and makes them look bad when they should step back and look at the process to see where it failed.
3. Does not communicate goals, timelines or expectations. Expects employees to read their mind.
4. Uses disciplinary procedures too often and alienates employees. Most of the time, simple positive communication will correct the problem.
5. Plays favorites. Certain employees get away with murder, while others get written up for every little infraction.
May 12, 2006 at 4:58 am(10) Marshall W. says:
1. Discrimination and favoritism.
2. Looks at job performance alone.
4. Indecisive in goal setting.
5. Always searching for faults and never commending a good job done.
May 14, 2006 at 7:23 pm(11) Joel says:
A bad boss is one who when on the phone, makes her statement Loudly, rudely and slams the phone down on you when she is finished without allowing you to explain or defend yourself.
May 14, 2006 at 7:29 pm(12) Cindy says:
A Bad Boss: Someone who creates chaos and animosities weekly among staff, who exhibits extreme lack of self control consistently when angry, who bullies the employees in every way listed in the books, has a new target constantly (whether current employee or ex-employee) and uses defamation of these people constantly, but is allowed to continue with this unprofessionalism and mismanagement – so continues. Actually that makes HER boss the ‘BAD BOSS’….
May 14, 2006 at 7:34 pm(13) Joanne says:
A Bad Boss is one who allows (and thus encourages) Bullying in the Workplace!
May 14, 2006 at 11:52 pm(14) JC says:
A bad boss–someone who cannot manage himself, much less a company. Someone who hands you everyone’s jobs plus his because he needs to take a month and half off to vacation. Of course, you will go on doing everyone’s jobs after he finally shows up again and the company degenerates into sheer idiocy once more.
Someone known to his entire staff as a doper and a drunk. Someone who bills the customers for bogus expenses and never collects so he stiffs the staff on pay. Need I continue?
May 17, 2006 at 7:21 am(15) Anna says:
thank god I’m not alone! Introducing my male boss:
“Women are the only mammal that bleeds once a month and survives”
Only wants to hire women if “they are past child-bearing age”
“I want full control of this tender”, “drop everything and work on the tender, I must see it 1st before it’s sent out”, “Too busy to look at the tender, just send it how it is. If we don’t get it it’s your fault”.
“I used to be a white van man and now I’ve got an MBA” Have you? why don’t you try to use it?
sexist, neanderthal, emotionally dead, discusses intimate details discussed between him & his wife, insincere, LIES to high heaven, eternally shifts blame, changes track constantly, needs several years intensive therapy. No wonder our staff losses are sky high.
July 28, 2006 at 1:34 pm(16) TERESA says:
A bad boss is one who is moe interested in personal power than in getting the job done well. this person does not have a vison for the company other than personal gain and the projects and their results show this attitude. a very successful corp has leadership that is smat and wise and with integrity.
August 17, 2006 at 3:18 pm(17) Steven says:
At my previous job, I had a lot of what you’ve already mentioned, plus some others.
1. Bring disciplinary action for things that happened months ago (so you can’t remember the details of the incident, if there even was one.)
2. Be as vauge as possible, so when employees ask about advancement and promotion they can be denied based on their failure to complete an uncommunicated objective.
3. Loves the brownnosers, especially other managers who work just like her: slowly and inneffectively.
4. Ignores employees until they make a mistake, then they pounce.
5. Procrastinates, is generally unreliable (employees like to have more than six hours notice concerning next weeks work schedule. We do not prefer the company over our friends and family.)
6. Uses employees as pawns in power struggles with other managers.
August 27, 2006 at 2:36 pm(18) Donald Kluege says:
A bad boss is a person that practices NEPOTISM rather than promoting a person on value added to the organization it is on friendship or being a relative. The boss is usually unqualified. I worked at this company for over 38 years.
August 29, 2006 at 7:09 pm(19) shadow says:
A bad boss/manager:
- takes news that is given to them by a brownnoser, without going back to confirm the truth of the story with the other staff member(s) involved.
- encourages tattletales
- Is fake/dishonest
- speaks down on employees
- Favours some staff over others
- Thinks she is right about everything
- harsh and demeaning tone of voice (no friendliness in the voice whatsoever)
-DOES NOT CARE TO MAKE AN EFFORT TO CREATE A FRIENDLY, PEACEFUL, WORKING ENVIRONMENT FOR STAFF
September 4, 2006 at 11:58 pm(20) hd says:
This boss curses every vulgar word from the time he arrives until leaves, intimidates everyone, loves slamming his office door, only because he has removed everyone elses off the hinges…he’s the worst I’ve ever seem.
September 12, 2006 at 9:47 am(21) Pat says:
One that sets an incompetent employee on a pedestal and covers for that employee when his/her work is wrong.
One that takes credit for all the work done, although the subordinates are the ones that actually did the work.
One that has been placed in a supervisory position, yet cannot make a simple decision.
October 24, 2006 at 12:40 pm(22) Waddee says:
Someone who puts on a front, acting like they care about your pay increase and position. In actuality, they want to fire your superior, although his performance is very good, just because he does not like his personality. I said, “Give me a pay increase on my merit alone, not because you expect more from my unrealistic work load as it is.
December 10, 2006 at 5:10 pm(23) Craig says:
There is a good book out on this subject written by Jerome Alexander, “160 Degrees of Deviation: The Case for the Corporate Cynic.” He details several of his own experiences with bad and horrific bosses. More importantly he gives his theories on how the get into positions of power.
December 23, 2006 at 6:26 pm(24) Owen says:
A bad boss is a person who has been given more authority, control, and influence over others than their skills, education, and training would otherwise allow.
A bad boss is absent of the ability to lead by example. He/She cannot or will not accept constructive feedback, ideas, suggestions, recomendations, or solutions other than their own.
November 4, 2011 at 4:05 pm(25) Pat says:
Owen has it all on target. Thanks for the astute comments.
January 7, 2007 at 4:21 am(26) Chris says:
A bad boss:
Does not praise for good work
Is more worried about how the department looks to other departments than how this affects staff
Is unable to understand about emotions and feelings: how the way that they deal with someone affects that person
Plays favourites to the detriment of the department, ruining any teamwork there may have been
Uses discipline and not understanding as the first resort
January 9, 2007 at 10:44 am(27) Mary O'Reilly says:
A bad boss is one who is always trying to please those above him/her at the expense of their own team.
A bad boss is one who does not support his team externally, e.g., someone external to the department points the finger at one of the team and the boss agrees with the complainer!
January 9, 2007 at 8:23 pm(28) Ryan says:
A bad boss shows no passion and provides little to no direction to his employees. It hinders my development and forces me to seek other managers for feedback.
January 18, 2007 at 4:33 am(29) Radhika Batra says:
A Bad boss is one who was always ready to listen the employees advice but when its come to implementation part results are totally different that hasn’t been decided earlier…Here there is a saying listen to all but do what ur mind suggest not keeping other thing into consideration.
February 19, 2007 at 9:03 am(30) Karen Patterson says:
A bad boss is one who gets annoyed when you ask questions and refers you to the company Intranet every time you ask a question. A bad boss is also one who works in a position that is supposed to be highly ethical but always bad-mouths others behind their backs to her staff. A bad boss is also one who insults her staff members (my boss actually told me she could never see me being a mother, and she was not kidding).
February 19, 2007 at 11:49 am(31) Bill says:
A bad boss is one who limits the organization by preventing innovation because of their inability to comprehend the benefits that technology brings to the workplace. Also, if they didn’t think of the innovative way to improve a process, product, or even working condition, it is not worthwhile and what results is a tirade of reasons why this will not work (including reasons that conflict with the reasons why the old technology, process, etc. makes more sense).
A bad boss cares less about improving an employees performance through training if they happen to need but do not obtain that training themselves.
I have had many superb managers but only a few that I would consider bad. Morale suffers from the effect of a bad boss while it thrives under a great or even a good boss. Understanding that the people under you depend on you for guidance, advice, and direction does not mean you must be a dictator!
I have always worked to improve the understanding of those around me and by helping my peers I help myself.
March 9, 2007 at 4:55 pm(32) D says:
#10(Cindy)-Do we work for the same company? Ha!
A “bad boss” is one who constantly tries to be your best friend and gets mad when you don’t reciprocate. I will be friendly, professional, and do the girl chatting on occasion but knowing about torrid, adulterous affairs is not my cup of tea! Word of advice: Don’t ever tell your boss you feel uncomfortable knowing so much. I learned the hard way. Now my work is scrutinized on an hourly basis and I’m constantly being reprimanded for things that make no sense even though I’ve been told on numerous occasions by my “bad boss” that she’s not a micro-manager. Give me a break!
March 23, 2007 at 1:00 pm(33) Tonja says:
What can I say. The above comments pretty much sum up my work place. supervisor: favorites who report on what is said on breaks,put downs,PMD used for retalations,and more.Management said they back their leaders not matter what. Very high turnover of employees. coporate Hr been contacted numerous times by exit interviews,(these were stopped—mmm too many bad interview for the plant?) emloyees called HR, spouses calls, and yet no questions or interviews. Ask questions and you are written up. Well at least the ones who are not on the “Special List.” Group trying to info. together to do something, but we sure are afraid of losing our jobs. Pray for us.They get wind and since we are a state of employment at will, we can be fired with no explanation. We are on a “list” who are watched for everything we do. We just want to do our job, do it well, and enjoy coming to work. Any advice is appreciated.
June 23, 2007 at 11:30 pm(34) C says:
My boss hates all young women and the men who talk to the young women. She will also do anything she can to prove you wrong and when you find she is incorrect she says she was just joking. Acts very pleasantly around her bosses but when she is alone with you she has the nerve to call the thinnest girl at work fat.
July 2, 2007 at 10:34 pm(35) Willie says:
I have been in the work force, for over 30 years, and I can validate every statement referring to bad managers.
Hence, also,stated, by the majority of the company employees observations.
To eliminate, the bad management, it has to come from the higher management direction. If, the problems are ignored and never addressed, by the upper management. The whole concept is moot!!!
July 31, 2007 at 12:41 pm(36) Sherleen says:
All of what has been said, but the bad boss basically has little or integrity, spine, respectability and will marginalize staff (especially when the person[s] show potential to outgrow him/her. The bad boss will go as far as creating situations and blaming staff in that person’s absence to put him/herself in favor with everyone else. The bad boss is desperate and miserable.
July 31, 2007 at 10:37 pm(37) Carole says:
A bad boss is everything so far that had been said. My boss told me that I should use products on my face in order to look more polished. She belittles others in order to make herself look good and when she does not meet her goals and gets called on it she places the blame on her staff then makes us go out and do the work needed to try to reach her goals. She is rarley in the office and then says she observes how little you do and cuts your hours. I have only had one other bad boss before and I would take that boss over this one any day. My current boss is in way over her head as a manager but is a suck-up and a brown-noser to her boss. She plays favorites with some staff for a while then turns around and treats them like dirt and other staff members are her pets. One never knows what will set her off next, be it a heater, a pen holder, health problems, etc. Because of the way she deals with things I have no respect for her at all and neither do any of the other staff members.
A bad boss has many traits and I think we have seen them all in these postings.
August 6, 2007 at 3:40 pm(38) Brenda says:
Bad Managers who decide the success and duration of your employment based on how much of your personal life “the more drama the better” you are willing to share so that she can go and gossip about it to everyone else.
And if you don’t, you will be her worst enemy, and then wait until she is alone in the office, and sabbotage your work and blame it on you.
August 26, 2007 at 2:04 pm(39) Brenda says:
A bad boss is one that turns the table on you when you disagree or have a solution they did not come up with. Later, they use your solution and make it theirs. They tend to keep employees and managers under them that cannot do the job just because they use them as the office snitch. They give other more qualified employees or managers extra duties because they can do the work and the department seems to be running smoothly so the upper manager still looks good while others are being used. This on-going continued behavior causes animosity and deception and eventully will turn on the upper manager. It’s unfortunate that it takes so long and so many good people leave first.
October 11, 2007 at 9:04 pm(40) Anon says:
A bad boss is someone who manipulates every conversation to fit his perception of events or to cover his mistakes. When called on his distorted perception of reality he threatens his employees with their jobs or accuses them of being insubordinate/argumentative.
Changes his employees work performance standards on a day to day basis, as to never allow them to know whether or not work will be considered acceptable. Loyalty, personal behavior, and competence challenged in front of subordinates when work not considered acceptable.
So much more besides what’s listed above…too bad because the job would be enjoyable if it wasn’t for this horrid person.
October 15, 2007 at 5:22 pm(41) Celia says:
A bad boss is someone who puts you down at any opportunity and who nit piks.
There is no praise or support for long hours and effort that you put in.
The praise is only given in front of his own boss or a peer so that he looks good. Everything he does is so that he looks good.
He is unclear on his instructions and changes his mind at the last minute making your ideas into his own to present to his own boss.
You ask a question about your work to clarify what is involved but he takes over and even takes the work off you completely to make himself look good.
Even temps comment to you on how they could n’t put up with his style of management.
Surely that is a bad boss?
October 18, 2007 at 12:24 pm(42) Rose says:
A bad management is who believes the first story they hear and never investigates to get the full picture or ask the person who is being discredited. Only believes that shining star employee that no one likes or trust.
November 13, 2007 at 8:57 pm(43) John says:
WOW… sounds like everyone here works for the same person I do.
November 16, 2007 at 8:26 am(44) Paul says:
A bad boss has high turn over, and breaks his promises. Or keeps ‘forgetting’ promises made – as he say.
December 7, 2007 at 2:01 pm(45) John says:
It’s not just the bad boss. Employees more often than not have bad attitudes that have nothing to do with their boss.
They don’t make themselves indispensable to their employer. They whine, they complain, they wonder why they got canned. They think the company is lucky to have them.
December 21, 2007 at 11:36 am(46) Patty says:
1. Gives no direction or job expectations and then gives a bad review.
2. Sends an employee for classes, puts a title on the employee’s business card,allows the employee to perform in a capacity for over a year and then says during the review “that’s not your job!” and gives more of a bad review.
4. Hires under the pretense of being an assistant to the company, but in reality is a personal assistant to the boss and family!
5. Who uses staff for personal tasks, ie, bill paying, home and auto repairs, returning items to stores WITHOUT a receipt and expects a full refund; then tells the employee they are doing a poor job.
6. Acts like a spoiled child.
January 3, 2008 at 4:40 pm(47) Kevin says:
Screaming at employees, in front of other employees!!
Lacking the ability to do the job they are asking you to do, then telling you you are not doing it right.
January 29, 2008 at 9:40 am(48) ShareMyStaff says:
Working for bad bosses causes their high performing and highly intelligent employees to ultimately seek other places of employment.
What happens is the insecure, fearful, and possibly incompetent “bad boss” actually becomes intimidated by any subordinate who sees straight through their “I know what I’m doing” facade. Once this type of boss recognizes how talented, innovative, creative, and proficient the employee is, they go into attack mode, abusing their authority in order to “keep subordinates in their place.” This is their attempt to lower the confidence of the employee and find minute flaws in that person as their sick effort to even convince themselves that they are smarter than their subordinate.
Since this subordinate is a potential threat and most certainly could do the boss’ job with ease and much better, they are put under a microscope, given negative evaluations, and eventually forced to leave the organization because typically the boss’ boss allows it and that’s the unfortunate, sad part about the whole ordeal. Good people cannot work under those kinds of conditions.
Micromanagers and controlling, power abusers should be made to take responsibility for their lack luster management style and either receive proper training on how to be an effective leader or not be allowed to lead.
June 6, 2011 at 3:14 pm(49) ian says:
I had that experience every year. Especially mid year its salary increase. I always work hard but i always get bad reviews. Are they trying to demoralize me. How did you deal with it.. This boss has break my spirit. I feel like not working today.and i dont. Want to work overtime anymore. Its utseless.
January 29, 2008 at 7:22 pm(50) Confidental says:
A bad boss is one that gathers the group that you supervise and talks about you behind your back to those individuals. After the conversation relays informatin to you that u later find out was not exactly what was said. then writes you up and tells you they will be monitoring your supervisor skills, requests that you make suggestins to help yourself then refuses to allow you to follow through on the things that you are requesting. Ignores you when you report that subordinates are insubordinate and refuse to do what they are asked and will not help address the situation after you have repeatley tried and have been unsucessful. After you make a decision if the individual that you supervise doesn’t like your answer they go to the bad boss and they over ride you all the time. Honestly believes that they are not replaceable is never willing to keep up with advances in technology or make changes to provide a better atmosphere for clients or employees. THAT IS A BAD BAD BAD BAD BOSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
March 20, 2008 at 6:46 am(51) Pam says:
My current experience with my Bad Boss includes all of the characteristics included in these comments as well as her incessant efforts to keep workers at odds with each other. I am wondering could this also be a means of avoiding embezzlement detection?
April 1, 2008 at 1:15 pm(52) Evan says:
A bad boss is one that does not acknowledge nor keep up with their responsibility to continue learning!
April 28, 2008 at 9:59 pm(53) ellymay says:
A BAD BOSS, IS ONE WHO ENTERS A NEW SITUATION WHERE ALL THE PLAYERS ARE MATURE, DEDICATED PROFESSIONALS, WHO HAVE LIVED COOPERATIVELY, PRODUCTIVELY, AND EVEN THRIVED, WITH LITTLE OR NO SUPERVISION,FOR AT LEAST 4 YEARS…AND SPENDS EACH MEETING TAKING THE OPPORTUNITY, TO REDUCE A GREAT MORALE, TO AN ENVIRONMENT THAT IS MORE AKIN TO THAT OF A FUNERAL, BY DRYLY AND REPEATEDLY ESPOUSING HIS PAST GREATNESS/ACCOMPLISHMENTS, AND CHANGING THE SUBJECT TO HIMSELF AND HIS ACCOMPLISHMENTS, IN THE MIDST OF OUR HAVING FUN. IN 2 MONTHS HE HAS SINGLE-HANDEDLY CHANGED AN ENVIRONMENT OF MUTUAL RESPECT,WARMTH, ENTHUSIASM, OPEN COMMUNICATION AND PROFESSIONALISM, TO SOME PATHETIC FORUM FOR HIS OWN SELF AGGRANDISEMENT. WE KNOW, WHO THE BOSS IS. THE BOSS NEEDS TO SPEND SOME TIME GETTING TO KNOW US…OUR WANTS…ACCOMPLISHMENTS…VISION FOR THE PROGRAM…NOT RAM HIS PERSONNA AND WILL DOWN OUR THROATS AT EVERY GATHERING, BECAUSE HE IS INSECURE IN HIS NEW ROLE, AND HAS A CAPTIVE AUDIENCE, TO WHOM HE CAN PROCLAIM HIS SELF-PERCEIVED GREATNESS, IN ORDER TO CONVINCE US, AND HIMSELF OF HIS GREAT VALUE TO US.WE ARE NOT CHILDREN…THIS PLACE DID AMAZING STUFF BEFORE HE CAME ABOARD.HE HAS MADE SOME GOOD CONTRIBUTIONS AT THIS EARLY STAGE…BUT PRESERVING OUR MORALE IS NOT AMOUNG THEM…SO FAR,HE HAS CONVINCED ME ONLY THAT HE IS SIMPLY NOT UP TO IT.MY SAVING GRACE IS THAT MOST OF MY TIME IS SPENT AT ANOTHER SITE.OTHERWISE, I WOULD SWITCH TO A SITE WHERE I FEEL APPRECIATED.
June 20, 2008 at 8:30 pm(54) idoru says:
1. Resistant to change.
2. Believes his/her position of authority makes him/her the smartest person in the room.
3. Confrontational communication style.
4. Doesn’t know how to capitalize on the skills of his/her staff.
5. Fear of criticism from superiors.
6. Mental health issues
7. Dishonest about her/his agenda.
8. Dislikes her/his employees.
June 22, 2008 at 5:00 pm(55) JustQuitYAY says:
I finally couldn’t stand it anymore and I quit working for this horrible boss. I wasn’t perfect, either, but generally I’ve always been a good employee and I just couldn’t make this whacko happy. Here’s a summary from this experience:
1. Always takes the other person’s side if you have a disagreement with someone, without getting your side first.
2. Punishes you for not doing something you were never told to do in the first place.
3. Humiliates you in meetings in front of your coworkers and degrades you in private meetings.
4. Tells you to do one thing then a minute later tells you to do the opposite, then later criticizes you for making up your own mind.
5. Tells you to go to her when you have a problem but never solves the problem or even returns the phonecall or e-mail.
6. Doesn’t return e-mails or phone calls
7. Won’t give you data to help you in your job, including goals, targets, or monthly accomplishments… then tells you that you suck.
8. If you raise a question in a meeting you get a slap-down even though it’s something that really needed to be asked.
9. She always has to know your schedule but she never tells you hers, or has her assistants publish it… then bitches you out for calling her when she’s swamped with meetings or something.
10. Sweet as pie one minute and a snapping vicious harpie the next, then a minute later sweet as pie again.
June 25, 2008 at 5:10 pm(56) Dawn says:
A Bad Boss is one who expects you to take responsibility for a position but does not give you the authority to do so.
June 30, 2008 at 10:51 am(57) Marie Waller says:
My Boss is a Pastor and it’s all about him, not all about the church. Whatever he can do to make himself look good to the point of trying to out do past pastors by listing his accomplishments for everyone to see.
July 14, 2008 at 8:45 pm(58) MK says:
Rewards bad behavior. Doesn’t reward those that get the job done. Lies and hides thngs from everyone on team.
July 23, 2008 at 4:56 am(59) Marie says:
My personal experience with a bad boss:
1. She never recognizes your contributions to the company when you consistently exceed goals and and expectations.
2. She questions all of your whereabouts in the course of the workday. If you should happen to go to the restroom or get a drink of water, she questions other employees as to where you could possibly be.
3. You’re penalized for clocking in one minute late.
4. She criticizes and complains about your work performance in the presence of other employees.
5. She goes off half-cocked making false accusations about your work performance without looking at the weekly reports that records employee productivity.
6. She uses the staff meetings to promote herself in the presence of her own boss while shifting blame for any mishaps to staff members.
7. In the staff meetings when her boss is not present, she takes the opportunity to going to a hour long tirade where she speaks in a condescending tone to her staff but never fails to mention her everlasting perfection.
8. She plays favorites by promoting employees who suck up and are not the most qualified. She allows allows these same employees to work overtime while others are denied the opportunity to do so.
9. She entertains gossips and hearsay from her henchmen as the gospel truth.
10. She is unable to effectively communicate department tasks and basic job-related skills without the help of her boss or her henchmen.
11. She demands status reports that records our workday down to the minute but doesn’t even bother to read them because it’s more work than she can handle.
12. She invades your space by looking through your desk in your absence. In fact, the only time that she goes into your cubicle is when you’re not around.
13. She’s dishonest.
July 25, 2008 at 4:50 pm(60) Cougar says:
A bad boss who does not train well or share knowledge and then berates you for not having the knowledge.
Another example is one who gives cash awards to employees because they know they need money and they feel sorry for them.
July 25, 2008 at 5:06 pm(61) Hourly Wage Toad says:
A boss that micromanages your every move. I had a boss who actually asked an employee why she had to pee so often (the woman took diurectics) and then went so far as to go into the bathroom and peek under the stall doors to see who was in there. I caught her doing that once.
July 30, 2008 at 10:09 am(62) Scott says:
Incapable of giving praise for some success without immediatly adding how poorly you are doing in another area.
September 17, 2008 at 9:50 am(63) Christie says:
I thought my manager was just lazy but found that he does not have the social skills to be a manager. He is scared of his employees and managers and hides in his office. He does not feel it is his job to tell his employees what to do so they do whatever they want. It is just unbelievable and I am looking for a new job along with several others. He is every lazy persons dream manager.
September 22, 2008 at 6:02 pm(64) Alden says:
1. Doesn’t allow employees to access company intranet
2. Forbids employees to contact corporate office
3. Doesn’t believe in teamwork
4. Doesn’t want employees to talk to each other
5. Strips forwarded email of headers and footers so employee can’t respond to originator
6. Changes work priorities often
7. Never finishes project
8. Demands that all work goes through him
9. Doesn’t allow one employee to ask another employee for something work-related that they need
10. Forbids interaction with all other company offices
11. Insists on handing out paychecks/stubs (doesn’t want them sent to employee’s home)
12. Refuses to throw things away
13. Insists on approving all communication to outside entities
And so much more . . .
Man, I work for a psycho!
October 2, 2008 at 10:17 am(65) Adam West says:
I am in the boat of changes things on a whim, nit picky even at concept stages of a project, doesnt recognize hard work, acts like they know what they are talking about when they fail at every basic concept you would learn within the first year of college in the field, yet insist on having things there way because they are always right…
November 11, 2008 at 4:05 pm(66) Skipper says:
I worked for a guy who made all kinds of promises about my potential with the company. Then, there’s no money for new projects and all raises are put off. He is running up his company Amex bill with vacations and food bills. We all joked that he ate the salary increases. The last straw was him calling on the first day my vacation chewing me out for expense over runs (he approved, but forgot) and now could not buy his new Lexus. And the worst part – he was a consultant who rabidly criticized his best client for doing the same thing!
December 12, 2008 at 8:11 am(67) joyce says:
My bad boss is someone who can NEVER be pleased. Cites “issues” and when resolved just looks for more. Micro-managesand harrasses people and when I finally brought this to HR’s attention, I was terminated. My bad boss is truly the BOSS FROM HELL. She is a person who clearly has psychological problems and we all pay the price for it, and me I paid with my job. On the list of signs you have a bad boss, she or the VP of Operations have ALL those signs. I pray for those left behind.
December 20, 2008 at 12:49 am(68) winney the pooh says:
i am a nurse assistant. my manager is a director of nursing, but i can’t think of one good reason to why she chose to be. she has no consideration for the residents, let alone her employees. she believes there is no such thing as teamwork. she has never one day worked as a cna or a nurse. she went straight through school to get her degree as a DON. just the other day, my whole shift was told we are not to be seen walking around and taking care of our patients together. but i thought to myself, “isnt the biggest issue with health care fields teamwork?” she doesnt feel we should be in rooms together taking care of people if they are not more than one assist. but what we have tried to explain to her is, our residents like to see us helping eachother out and getting along. not only that we get the work done in half the time working as a team. i don’t know what the big issue is about because we never do anything wrong and we get our work done. if i was a manager i would be proud to have a shift with such good teamwork. i guess she wants us to feel the same way she feels. she doesnt like her work and she doesnt want anyone else to enjoy their 8 hours!
January 19, 2009 at 4:41 pm(69) Edna says:
My current supervisor is considered a “great manager” by upper manager because she is so well organized and gets things done. But I think she is incompetent in so many ways.
1. She accuses people of making mistakes that they didn’t make. And then when they tell her they didn’t do it, she makes a face and growls.
2. If she tells you something one time, she expects you to remember it. If you need to be shown something again, she says “I already told you how to do it!”
3. She gets almost all of the credit for the department being run so well, but I think much of that is due to a very talented worker in the department. I think he might do more work than she does and he’s been there longer.
4. She brings up mistakes that people made days, weeks and even months ago.
5. She has no patience.
6. She encourages tattletales and plays favorites.
7. She takes personal phone calls all the time.
8. She has very poor customer service skills, even though we work in customer service.
9. She often exaggerates things.
February 5, 2009 at 11:18 pm(70) Dannie says:
I have seen some of the same unlikable qualities in a boss that all of the fellow contributors have described, but I have a couple new complaints to share.
My boss was exremely thrifty. All his meals were paid for by drug reps. He never paid for a meal. Even the company Christmas parties were paid for by drug companies. Oh,yes did I mention that we even have to rewash plastic disposable cups? When drug companies announced that they would not be giving out free pens and paper, he made the office staff horde as many of each item that each drug rep would give to us. Each staff member was personaly told not to share any of these items with any patient that asked for a pen or tablet.
The worst insult to an employee is sexual advances. I guess by now that you may have figured out that the boss was a physician. He kissed me while he was treating me as a patient. He is no longer my employeer or my family physician. Sexual advances are absolutely uncalled for.
March 16, 2009 at 3:18 pm(71) Steve Smith says:
I have had my selection of both good and bad direct report bosses. the number one bad boss characteristic has to be micromanagement.
Micromanagement says to an employee I don’t trust that you are doing a good job, you will never do a good job and only I know what needs to be done.
1. Micromanagers rarely know what the requirements are
2. Do not accept solutions from others
3. Refuse to consider their direct reports as anything other than inferior
4. Change their behavior
because micromanagers trust no one but themselves, they only trust those who “ape” their solutions back to them. Micromanagers need political allies because somewhere buried deep in their subconscious, their inferiority complex lurks.
Micromanagers love and support suck-ups because suck-ups appear to be “supportive” to micromanagers because they are simply agreeing with everything a micromanager says.
Micromanagers thrive in organizations which self-perpetuate and support such conduct. Micromanagers are rarely alone, their bosses undoubtably praise their “attention to detail.”
Micromanagers love the sound of their own voice and love to potificate upon every little detail no matter how minute. Sing their praises and they will sing yours.
If you try to innovate, suggest, resist or “challenge” any of the direction they provide to you, micromanagers will do everything they can to oppress your conduct, pull you down and keep you in your place. Micromanagers know you are under them and there is nothing they like to do more then remind you of how inadequate you are.
March 21, 2009 at 4:13 pm(72) BOKO D. MAJINGE... (UDSM) says:
A bad boss has no sory!!
…He regards employees as expenses.
…He is too rational than normal(being a slave of his pfofessional principles or code of ethics).
…He expect no mistakes.
March 25, 2009 at 8:45 pm(73) barney says:
nightmares,anger,feeling low,lacking direction everything that a boss brings to the table and more,if being a boss is all these things then the failure at times is ours.we go to work too earn the dollars not to make friends with people who suck up,snitch,and smile in your face but they are the puppet of the puppet master.do a lot to enjoy your day but say little to let anyone into your circle of true friends if it becomes difficult keep smiling pretend all is ok and leave it’s not a cowards way out it’s keeping your sanity in check
March 29, 2009 at 8:48 pm(74) Trapped and depressed says:
I’ve read some of the comments people left and even though I know I’m not alone in this I’m still really depressed about my situation at work.
We’ve had a problem with employee’s calling in sick too often. It finally came to a point when one day everyone called in sick. I was the only person who showed up for work. The next day the manager called everyone in her office and yelled at all of us. She yelled that our jobs are not secure and if we didn’t need our jobs we can leave. She says she even dares us to find a better boss and work environment than this place. This went on for about 20 minutes. Everyone heard her yelling at us. She even singed out me and another employee. Saying how we are hardly ever out. She made us very uncomfortable. But then says we should work as a team. Does she realize she just separated us as a team by saying we were hardly ever out while telling the rest of them they were out all the time? If there is a problem with people calling in sick too often then I feel she should address them and not try to put a wedge between us by yelling at us like we were children and threating our jobs. She then wrote up one employee for being out that day and told her to take a leave of absence if she is not feeling well. This person is her most dependable employee. She is an older woman who unfortunatly is having health issues and is sick a lot. She comes in sick all the time and we were worried about her. Her blood pressure was up so high oneday but said she couldn’t leave to go to the ER because the manager would yell at her and make her stay anyway. When this employee’s mom we dying in the hospital and she told our manager she had to leave because her mom was dying, the manager asked her can’t she tend to that after work?
She’s the type of manager who will not handle a problem before it get’s out of control. She will not address any issues until her boss tells her to handle it. Then when she trys to handle it she yells at us and tells us our jobs are not secure and we can leave.
It’s gotten to the point that most of us are depressed and some are very angry. There are no jobs out there right now and we feel trapped. Every Sunday I get very depressed and can’t do anything but sleep all day. I didn’t feel up to food shopping so we had fast food for dinner. I can’t take anymore I want so much to leave but can’t right now. I’m having health issues also and for some reason even if I just catch a cold I run a high fever and then it turns into broncitis and I’m out from work at least 3 days. I have to choose between going to the doctor or keeping my job. I don’t feel well and just want to feel better. I’m tired and depressed, I just want out but there are no jobs right now.
June 21, 2011 at 9:26 am(75) Aditya says:
Try working in Govt. job, any type, at least you will have a union to protect you against the bad behavior of bosses.
However you have to maintain your performance
April 12, 2009 at 1:25 pm(76) Susan Heathfield says:
Dear Trapped and Depressed and for anyone else who is feeling hopeless,
Remember that the only thing you control in your world is your reaction to the events around you. If you are in an untenable work situation with a boss who behaves in so many ways described in these comments, it is best to leave.
Because the economic situation makes job searching difficult right now and probably for the next couple of years, work on your own reactions and feelings. The situation is not about you. It is about the fact that you have a boss who does not know how to work effectively with people. Making yourself sick is allowing the boss to win. If the boss harangues you, use that voice in your head to repeat some affirming statement about how great you are. Tune the boss out.
I know these things are easier said than done. Have you reached out to coworkers to commiserate? Use of so much sick time is generally a sign of a toxic workplace. Can you talk to HR or your boss’s boss? (Do this with the knowledge that this will infuriate your boss.)
You might try telling her politely and privately how her words make you feel.
No matter what you decide to try, freshen up your resume and quietly job search. These articles will help you keep the fact that you are looking from your employer:
Confidential Job Searching Tips
Stealth Job Search.
Job Searching While Employed.
Read my articles for more thoughts on dealing with a bad boss.
Best wishes that you can solve your situations. A bad boss is one of life’s saddest situations.
May 2, 2009 at 12:26 am(77) Jessica says:
Oh where do I start??? He is inconsistent. One day he is happy, the next day he is angry and takes everything out of you. He is so insecure that he has to say to me “I am your boss. I deserve respect!”. He never praises staff or thanks them for their hard work. Actually the only time he communicates with his staff by sending them emails & telling them what they’ve done wrong. He never thinks to investigate & understand that maybe it wasn’t us who made the mistake. He belittles you in front of staff members & even in front of customers. He’ll send an email to me saying ‘Why the hell do these mistakes keep happening. What is the problem? Fix it now’ & ccs a customer into the email. I barely ever make mistakes & he’s the one who has to get his staff members to write emails for him because he cannot pull a few words together. He never acknowledges my hard work & lets certain staff members do absolutely nothing and get away with it. This is while I do their work for them. He considers team work and attitude to be more important that productivity. He compares staff members to a cancer cell or says he will not tolerate cancer in this team. He constantly says I’ll sack all 5 of you & hire five new staff. Since we’re in a recession, he says it is an employer’s market out there & he can choose whatever staff we want.
He spends all day talking rubbish to people and then complains that he has too much work to do. Then he complains that his staff members once spent ten minutes talking (which wasn’t the case). He fails to tell his staff that he isn’t coming into work. He puts his out of office assistant on from home yet can’t even send an email to his staff & tell them that he won’t be coming in that day. We only find out that he’s away when we send him an email. He’s the biggest hyprocrite ever. If there wasn’t a recession right now then I wouldn’t be working for him. He is completely out of his league & incompetent.
May 5, 2009 at 12:13 pm(78) joan says:
A bad boss is one who dumps all the work and datelines on you then dumps mindless photocopying work on your desk then goes off to chit chat with her friends and relatives on the phone. After that tells everybody she did the work. Tells everybody to follow the rules but changes the rules and breaks them herself. Reduces everybody else’s benefit so that she can seem like she herself is better than everybody else. Makes you do her work so that she can go home faster which means you end up having to stay back till the cows come home trying to finish your own work. Forever having sick children, husband or relatives to look after but went you call her on the phone there is a lot of laughter and music in the background and then next day comes with a lot of food she had spent the whole time cooking.
May 21, 2009 at 6:27 pm(79) Vickie says:
The manager is drunk on the job and sleeps on the job. The manager also stays out of work drunk. The manager throws things when in a drunken state.
May 21, 2009 at 6:44 pm(80) Vickie says:
This is it people! Read below.
When this is fully implemented in companies we will be less likely to encounter distractions – bad bosses!
I love this! The sooner, the better!
Work performance when teleworking can be measured using what is called a telework plan. A telework plan captures all the tasks an employee has been assigned to perform while teleworking. The supervisor and teleworker must discuss and agree upon the specific tasks and any expectations about the assignments, required products, and deadlines. The telework plan should be in alignment with an employee’s performance goals and objectives as denoted on their annual performance plan.
“If it’s done in the right manner and we have the right measures in place, telework should increase productivity [within the agency],”
Teleworking is simply working at an alternate location. Employees who telework are completing agency assignments in their home or at a convenient telework center. As a result, they are less likely to encounter distractions. Fewer distractions for these employees allow them to focus more time and undivided attention on completing their work.
However, there are some managers who are still leery of teleworking. Such managers express concerns and fears that employees are likely to accomplish less or nothing while teleworking because a manager is not present to physically manage them as they work.
Mgrs or supervisors who question the merits of teleworking would do well to reframe their way of thinking. Employees must also be fully aware of their responsibilities when teleworking.