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10 Signs You Have A Really Bad Boss

Just because someone has a fancy job title, it doesn’t automatically make them a great leader. Here are ten warning signs that you have a truly bad boss.
10 Signs You Have A Really Bad Boss

It’s the average employee’s worst nightmare—a bad boss. Here’s a litmus test. Does the thought of your boss being out of the office fill you with glee? If the answer is a resounding “yes!” you’re not alone. According to a recent study, a sample of LinkedIn participants was asked whether they were happier and less stressed when their boss called in sick, was absent from work or went on vacation, and 88% agreed!

Unfortunately, just because someone has a fancy job title, it doesn’t automatically make them a great leader. And few career transitions are more challenging than making a move from manager to leader. So how do you know if you truly have a bad boss? Here are ten warning signs to watch out for:

#1: They don’t care if you are overworked

If your manager wants you to work long hours consistently, that’s a red flag. It’s one thing to have projects requiring special attention, but working non-stop for months and years on end is unsustainable.

#2: They lose control on a regular basis

Yelling in the workplace is unprofessional, and no one should be subjected to an out-of-control boss. If your manager regularly has outbursts, it may be time to consider another position or company. On the other hand, if it’s an occasional occurrence, you may be able to address the problem with them directly.

#3: Your manager takes credit for your work

A new study from BambooHR revealed that the worst boss behavior is taking credit for employees’ work. Managers take credit for the work of others for all kinds of reasons. But none of them are acceptable. Whatever their motivation, intentional theft of credit isn’t something you should put up with.

#4: Your bad boss doesn’t empower you

Fully empowered employees make good decisions and resolve problems. A Gallup study even found that companies with talented individuals who can delegate have greater growth rates, higher revenue, and create more jobs. If your boss doesn’t trust you, it could make you feel anxious, frustrated and uncertain about your abilities. As author John Maxwell wrote, “Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.”

#5: Your bad boss doesn’t advocate for you

A great boss will be your champion, helping you get exposure, recognition, and opportunities. If you’re giving 1000% and your manager isn’t advocating on your behalf, that is a definite warning sign. And if you are consistently being told that a salary increase or promotion is on the horizon and it doesn’t materialize, it might be time to consider other opportunities.

#6: You have a micromanager

Is your boss obsessed with knowing every detail of your projects? While they may have the best intentions, micromanagers are detrimental to business success and employees’ mental health. LinkedIn reported that 79% of employees had been micromanaged at least once in their careers. The result is that employees feel disengaged and demoralized.

#7: They don’t set clear expectations

When a manager doesn’t set clear expectations, they set employees up to fail. And that failure leads to unhappy employees and high turnover. Gallup studied over 7,000 adults and found that one-half had quit a job because of a bad manager. They also learned that clarity of expectations is vital to employee performance.

#8: They choose favorites in the office

Imagine this scenario. You see your boss and a co-worker frequently lunching together. Your manager excludes you from secret meetings and brainstorming sessions. And it seems like all the high-profile assignments always seem to go to a particular co-worker. While this behavior is not uncommon, it is unprofessional. Yes, it is human nature to have preferences. But at work, it can become toxic when preferential treatment comes from the boss.

#9: Your bad boss doesn’t provide feedback

Have you had that experience where your job seems to be going great and then, bam! You have your annual performance review, and suddenly you are informed that you are underperforming and not a team player. A real leader provides constructive feedback to their employees frequently, so they have an opportunity to improve and aren’t blindsided.

#10: Your manager isn’t open to new ideas

Listening is fundamental for effective leadership. And as time goes on, organizations will place even greater importance on employee experience and being open to feedback. Not only does listening establish trust, but it also motivates employees and drives innovation. So, if your boss isn’t open to feedback, it’s not only negatively impacting you and your team but the company overall.

It is often said that people don’t leave bad jobs—they leave bad bosses. And statistics show that 57% of employees quit because of their manager. Know the signs so you can get out before it’s too late. Bad bosses create a negative environment that stifles creativity and innovation. And the effects of a tyrannical manager can bleed into your personal life—negatively impacting your relationships and well-being. By learning to identify the red flags, you will be able to address them head-on or have the option to move on to greener pastures.  


Wondering if it’s finally time to make a job or career change? Take my free 60-second career quiz and find out!

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If you’ve been feeling stuck and not sure it’s time to make a career shift, download my free guide: 5 Signs It’s Time to Make a Bold Career Change!