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5 Signs to Confirm That Your Bad Boss Is, Indeed, Terrible

Research shows that 65 percent of managers are "checked-out" at work, which means that there's a 65 percent chance that your boss is not so great. If you're unsure as to whether your direct manager is part of the misery-inducing majority, then here are a few surefire ways to tell. You're welcome and good luck.

Research shows that 65 percent of managers are “checked-out” at work, which means that there’s a 65 percent chance that your boss is not so great. If you’re unsure as to whether your direct manager is part of the misery-inducing majority, then here are a few surefire ways to tell. You’re welcome and good luck.

Terrible boss

(Photo Credit: Found Animals Foundation/Flickr)

1. Poor communication – If your boss is rarely to be found or so busy that he doesn’t have time for you, then, chances are, you have a bad boss. A good manager knows how to effectively communicate with his team and take extra time to answer any questions employees may have. Otherwise, team members are left to fend for themselves and, usually, end up making mistakes due to the lack of communication.

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2. “It’s you, not me” thinking – If and when he can get away with it, a terrible boss will try and convince everyone else that they’re the problem. Many employees, unfortunately, will believe these false accusations because of the natural tendency to want to please their superiors, but this can lead to them becoming discouraged and disengaged, themselves, over time.

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3. Throws you and others under the bus – A terrible manager is always trying to fly under the radar, so when “stuff” hits the fan, you better he is going to point the finger at someone else. A good boss is a team player who takes accountability for his actions and isn’t afraid to take one for the team when need be. Leaders should be in the trenches with their employees, not turning them over to the enemy.

4. Little to no constructive feedback – The second you slip up, your manager is in your face making sure you know how royally you messed up … again. Terrible bosses hardly ever praise their employees for a job well done. Instead, they condescend to them and end up taking all the credit when something does goes right. As for feedback, you can kiss any hope of that goodbye, because all you’re going to hear from a bad manager is what you did wrong and how you’re making him look bad.

5. Unreliable – A disengaged manager is unreliable at best, and untrustworthy at worst. All they care about is collecting their paycheck with as little stress as possible and getting the hell out of Dodge, day in and day out. And you can forget about that promotion you’ve been promised for some time now, because your miserable boss isn’t going to be too fond of the possibility of someone other than him getting a raise and some praise.

The bottom line is, bad managers are bad for business, and they’re even worse for their employees. A disengaged manager means disengaged employees – it’s no wonder, then, why so many people hate their jobs. Gallup recently conducted a study of 7,272 American adults that found that 50 percent of the participants left their jobs to escape their managers in order to “improve their overall life at some point in their career.” Therefore, it’s a wise career move to be able to recognize a sorry-excuse-for-a-boss if you have one, so that you can salvage a fulfilling future for your career and be on your way.

Tell Us What You Think

Do you have a horror story or two to share about your experience with a bad boss? Share your experience with our community on Twitter to see if you can’t find a story to top yours.

Leah Arnold-Smeets
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31 Comments on "5 Signs to Confirm That Your Bad Boss Is, Indeed, Terrible"

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Daniel James
Guest

I emailed this to a former manager of mine.

Karen
Guest

I’m living the nightmare; after 10 1/2 years – it has reached a point where I am willing to give up my 4 weeks vacation, my personal time and benefits, just to get out there.

Ramon
Guest

This article is definitely a true life story for me, I had to flee from the position I had worked for three years, I never imagined that I would be facing three different bosses, countless tasks and responsabilites for…a very little paycheck, constant harassment and lack of respect. This must stop.

anonymous
Guest

These are what me and my co workers go through everyday……whomever came up with this……kudos

Tim
Guest

This sounds very true and I have run into quite a few of the above examples. I think the writer could have checked his grammar and spelling better though. Just sayin’.

SmellyCat
Guest

Where are all the LEADERS who show by example, who are firm but fair …that lead not Boss that Motivate not place blame? Being a Leader is an art-form not a Degree!!!

Morgman
Guest

It’s bad enough a boss has just one of these traits, but my most recent one had virtually all of them. Often times, we don’t realize how bad it is until we step away from the fray and observe it as an “outsider” after being laid off/downsized/outsourced,…or in my case via “mutual parting” a la Jim Harbaugh.

Pascual Machin
Guest

Had a few of these… my question to the group is… when looking for a job, they advice you not to talk badly about past jobs or bosses… it is kind of the elephant in the room. Everybody knows that most people quit jobs because of bad bosses but nobody wants to hear about it… is there a good way to state that is the reason to leave a job without harming your possibilities for a new job?

Thanks.

Peter
Guest
My favorite incident that I went through due to my bad, ego-centric, narcissistic boss was when he tried to text me about why I hadn’t taken care of his personal requests and I didn’t reply to him. He marched in to my office and demanded to know why I hadn’t replied to his text. I asked him, what text? He said, I texted you an hour ago wanting to know why you didn’t take care of these things already. I told him that I hadn’t received a text from him. He said that I needed to correct that and finish… Read more »
Janis
Guest
In addition to my story above, I would like to add that I am a very hard and smart working Administrative Assistant ready and willing to take on anything and accomplish it within time allotted or before. I was constantly being blamed for someone else NOT doing there job and told that I need to change. I was repromended for a typo in an in-house email. But it was perfectly acceptable for the boss to write an email that was full of typos and grammatical errors. I was often handed projects with no instructions and told NOT to ask anyone… Read more »
sle
Guest
I worked for a fortune 500 company ! I had to have major foot surgery went in with up date every time I went to see the doctor ! Four days before I was return to work I broke the same foot due to a neuopathy problem ! Well from there on out every time I went in with updates , she would not speak or look at me ! And the staff which LOVED me could no longer speak to me ! They ran like robbers when I entered the store ! Needless to say I could not work… Read more »
Susan
Guest

This is a silly article, and if you have a crappy boss, you already know it.

andy
Guest
I’m the only employee in a small company, and all the work goes to me. Management refuses paid vacation and bonuses, even though they are giving me more work continously. When I joined the company there were around 4 employees, all the others left slowly, and only me remained, taking all the work, including the new projects. What should I do? I tried talking to management but it’s clear that they don’t want to give me vacation, bonuses, or any other incentives. They also expect me to work an insane amount of hours every week. Any ideas? I’m very close… Read more »
AMY HILL
Guest
I am currently the second in command at my place of business and I can say I spend half my day trying to keep the GM from the general public and other staff members. I am constantly “throwing myself under the bus” to prevent the other staff from having to endure the boss. How can I move on and leave my staff without protection from her? She takes credit for EVERYTHING and does nothing, then when questioned by the owner she says she is too busy to answer the questions and calls me for the answers then sends them via… Read more »
Brett
Guest

I wonder where the 65% statistic came from, or what the sample size was. Still, bad bosses do abound, even when they’re not malicious; my own supervisor’s boss, despite being reliable and very protective of us employees, is still rather uncommunicative with little or no feedback. One previous boss epitomized almost all these bad behaviors, and tack on nepotism and cronyism along with it. But as another poster pointed out, apply these traits to yourself too; it’s hard to admit, but sometimes we ourselves are as much to blame as those we despise.

Edwin Weiskopf
Guest

I had a boss that fits all of these to the T and he thinks he’s irrigant when in all actuality he’s ignorance is what will force him to close up shop JIM WATTS ELECTRIC INC

Nick
Guest

Epitomizes so many senior managers in the MOD, both Military and Civil Service. Unwilling to make substantive decisions in case somebody might hold them to it – glad I left

Alter
Guest

Theres no business like own business.

Shay
Guest
I read this article because I am a boss and don’t want to be a bad one! Feel like I learned how to be a good boss from bad bosses (I knew what I was NOT going to do when I became a boss!). Been one for years now but I think the minute you think you are doing fine is when you slowly slip into being a “bad” boss! As someone who has interviewed thousands of applicants (and we always team interview-my managers and myself-I am not a dictator-it takes a team to choose a team member) I can… Read more »
MDD and PTSD
Guest

Sounds like others have been through the wringer…I agree that it is good to get yourself in check and know when it is time to go. I had a coworker that stirred the pot constantly to purposely increase tensions with the boss. She even gave me an article like this one once then showed it to the boss and said “I” gave it to her! When you become the scapegoat for other people’s toxic neuroses, get out while you can!

Tracy
Guest
I worked at a popular university where no one took responsibility for anything they did. No one followed protocol or admitted when mistakes were made; instead they blamed whichever employee was convenient. A professor had delivered an interoffice envelope with original documents and it was missing for weeks. Even though I was the only one who followed procedure and recorded each and every piece of information delivered to our office in my log, for some reason, I was blamed. I was screamed at and humiliated in front of the whole office for what seemed like forever. It was discovered that… Read more »
Octopus
Guest

When you are reading this article, don’t just relate it to your boss. Also relate it to yourself, even if you are not somebody’s boss. Treat your co-workers the way a good boss would treat them and maybe soon you will be in the position that a “good boss” is in.

Carolyn Moore
Guest

I read this article and found it very interesting.

electra
Guest
My ‘boss’ is guilty of everyone of these things and more – if he doesn’t come to work with a hangover and stinking of alcohol; he is answering his phone each and every time with the ‘f’ word and growling like a dog. really. He lectures us about various idiotic theories of his, and his anger ramps up with each sentence so by the time he gets to end, he is screaming obscenities and telling us how much he hates his job! Sheesh. He owns the place…it’s his business. One time I interrupted his ‘quiet’ in his office because I… Read more »
Carolyn Moore
Guest

I thought you might find this article interesting.

Carolyn Moore
Guest

I thought you might find this article interesting.

Georgy Pham
Guest
I just left a job that had a slew of bosses that exhibited the traits mentioned in this article. This is due to the fact that that organization has no systematic training for any of its employees. This means new hires, employees of different classifications and, this is the most important: no managerial training. This place picked who would be a boss based on pure favouritism and nothing else. So, you got to be a boss just because you had good relations with the boss above you. This could be anything other than showing real leadership and organizational ability. Some… Read more »
Janis
Guest
I am currently trying to recover and re-build my self esteem as a result of having not one bad boss, but two! Both giving me completely differant priorities and instructions. After 5 years of this it took its toll on my body (developed high blood pressure and extreme weight loss) my mind, and my spirit. I was completely drained body and soul. Toward the end I was faced with 2 top prioriity and time-sensitive projects and when I ask my supervisor for direction, her reply was “I don’t know what to tell you”! What? Really? What kind of boss cannot… Read more »
Jackie Harlow
Guest

These “traits” are, sadly, so true! I have had the good fortune to have excellent superiors over most of my career but the last one fit this description to a “tee!” I was one of those who resigned because of him, too!

John Murphy
Guest
I agree with you entirely. My Boss is never there. he is the CEO of a small to medium size company. I reported to him directly. I am a Corporate Account Manager with European responsibility. This is a pretty high level role in the Company and just outside of executive management. Recently the terms and conditions of my salary were changed by him without due consultation. I found out when my quarterly bonus was was short by about two thirds of my expectations. I normally can work out what I am due. My bill commitments could not be met.. I… Read more »
chok
Guest

I wonder what is the criteria for choosing managers and bosses. Also, if we say bosses are bad, can’t we also say that employees are also bad? It is tough to say who is good and who is bad if so many people are “bad” while fewer people are good. I think in my own experience, most bosses are ok, but some are huge jerks, so bad bosses in my opinion would probably be the minority, not the majority. We just have to keep on adjusting and moving until we find the right boss and right company to work for.

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