10 signs you have a bad boss

by Ask a Manager on September 6, 2011

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I suppose you don’t really need to be told when you have a bad boss; you’re pretty aware of it. So let’s instead use these 10 signs as a self-assessment for managers — if you have any of these traits, it’s time to shape up or find a non-managerial job…

You can read the article at U.S. News & World Report right here.


Dawn September 6, 2011 at 1:17 pm

Hmmm. I know a manager or two at my place of work that display some of these characteristics. *CRINGE*

Anonymous September 6, 2011 at 3:11 pm

*Raises hand like a know-it-all kid in class and does the know-it-all dance* My boss is so #10!!! A couple of my coworkers have walked into a “you’re so fired” territory with tardiness only to leave early, faking sick to go out drinking (yes they admitted to it), and taking as many days off as they desired —– all of that without any repercussions! WTF? I know my boss is fearful of confrontation; he turns red when he has to deal with problematic clients. But sheesh, he should not be a manager if he can’t manage these coworkers and lay down the law!

Now maybe he has confronted them on these issues, but I highly doubt it. They haven’t done anything to correct the behavior.

Anonymous September 6, 2011 at 5:40 pm

Sadly, this list is dead on. I currently suffer from a boss who suffers from 2, 3, 4, and 6. My last boss was guilty of 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 and 9. It’s sad that I see the current boss as a tolerable improvement.

Sabrina September 6, 2011 at 6:06 pm

What about a boss who is just a chode? I mean I understand being frustrated by people who aren’t doing their job well when you have to fix their mistakes, but it’s not our fault that we were poorly trained, and now he sends these snotty emails all the time. I’m about ready to sit him down about the proper way to speak to people.

Anonymous September 7, 2011 at 10:41 am

and this is why I am interviewing for a new position right now… sadly mine is all of the above and even admits it!

Ask a Manager September 7, 2011 at 10:43 am

Even admits it! In some ways, that can be the most frustrating — because why don’t they gracefully bow of the job? I once had a manager who talked openly about how she hadn’t wanted the promotion to manager and basically just decided not to do the job. (I wrote about it here: http://www.askamanager.org/2008/10/ode-to-bad-managers-of-my-past.html )

Anonymous September 9, 2011 at 10:51 pm

My supervisor talks to me about issues he finds frustrating – issues he should be nipping in the bud at first sight. It’s strange, but really, he is finally seeing what I have been seeing for a long time now. I just hope he puts his foot down now he is awake!

Marie September 9, 2011 at 6:18 pm

Most bad bosses are guilty of #s 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, and 9. So many irrational tyrants in the workplace – very disturbing.

K November 14, 2011 at 9:20 am

One of my managers shows a few of these traits, but what’s more frustrating is the disrespect towards employee’s time. We’re expected to work over hours, yet he constantly shows up an hour or two late and leaves on time or early each day. We still can’t figure out what he actually does for the company, yet higher managers seem to love him. I think the top sign of a bad manager is unanimous disapproval from the floor.

Anonymous February 6, 2013 at 12:09 am

I have a boss that assumes you are the problem with a work situation without hearing in this case my side of the story before passing judgement. He automatically thinks i’m the problem.

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