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These are undisputed ways to know a bad boss. If you are an employee and you want to know if your boss is bad, then go through and explore this list of 35 undisputed ways to know a bad boss. Put a tick beside any of the behaviours frequently displayed by your boss. More ticks signify that you indeed have a bad boss.


35 Undisputed Ways to Know a Bad Boss


By Catherine Adenle

There are various undisputed ways to know a bad boss. Ideally, in the workplace, we would all have competent and great bosses who would make us feel valued and help us to win or succeed. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

Candidly, most people have experienced bad bosses in the workplace. Being saddled with a terrible boss at work can quickly turn a dream job into a nightmare. Nothing has more power to turn a good work situation bad than having a bad boss. Sadly there are lots of bad bosses floating around in the workplace. A recent British study accused 1 in 4 bosses of being bad, while a Norwegian study alleged 1 in 5. That is a scary thought!

As we all know, not every boss is that great symbol of managerial perfection that one would hope for at work. However, what are the undisputed ways to know a bad boss?

As more employees consider themselves stuck with a bad boss at work, it is important to note that many employees too jump to conclusion and quickly label their boss ‘bad’, especially if their boss is the ‘no-nonsense’ strict type. However, a tough or strict manager must not be seen as incompetent or bad. The undisputed ways to know a bad boss as discussed in this post will let you know if your boss is bad or simply strict.

If you are unhappy, miserable or plan to quit your job because you think you have a bad boss, it is important to explore these 35 undisputed ways to know a bad boss to indeed know if your boss is truly bad.

35 Undisputed Ways to Know a Bad Boss

You have a bad boss if he/she:

1. Fails to acknowledge any great work
2. Manages numbers always and not people
3. Says he’s too busy to communicate or insinuates that everything is confidential.
4. Makes unreasonable demands
5. Ignores poor performers
6. Is unapproachable
7. Plays favourites in the team
8. Swears blindly and yells on top of his/her voice at you or anyone
9. Curses staff and calls them names when they make mistakes
10. Doesn’t delegate any work
11. Hates to change anything!
12. Makes all the decisions, without seeking second opinion
13. Ignores all staff views
14. Will not discuss your future career plans, growth or progression in the organisation
15. Panics easily and runs around like a headless chicken
16. Micromanages everyone and everything
17. Throws you under the boss at the drop of a hat
18. Thinks he is the next best thing since the invention of sliced bread
19. Takes credit for your work
20. Complains about the team to everyone and anyone who would listen
21. Is always busy for anything and everything
22. Loves himself/herself to bits and thinks the sun shines out of his/her backside
23. Loves drama and makes a mountain out of a mole
24. Stifles your growth and that of your colleagues but focuses on his/her own growth
25. Gives little or no guidance to anyone for anything
26. Bullies his/her way through everything
27. Is always busy for a one on one meeting or discussion
28. Knows it all, he/she is never wrong about anything
29. Pays no attention to constant staff turnover in his/her team
30. Lies blatantly like a trooper at a drop of a hat
31. Victimises easily without blinking
32. Never says thank you or sorry for anything
33. Avoids conflicts by citing unverifiable reasons
34. Speaks negatively about the organisation
35. Lacks professional social jiu-jitsu and integrity

See How to Deal With 13 Types of Bad Bosses

Know the type of bad boss
After going through our list, 35 undisputed ways to know a bad boss, we have to remind you that there are three categories of these undisputed bad bosses.
So, my question to you is, which category does your undisputed bad boss fall into?

1. Doesn’t know he/she’s bad.
2. Knows he/she’s bad and wants to improve.
3. Doesn’t want to know if he/she’s bad or doesn’t care.

Most bosses who make their employees unhappy are simply unaware because nobody has ever told them. Some bosses know that what they are doing is wrong and are trying to improve. If this is your boss, he/she may need your support and that of the whole team in order to do better.

There’s also the third category of bad bosses. They are those who unwavering refuse to acknowledge that they’re bad bosses. These types of bosses celebrate the fact that they make people unhappy at work. These types of bosses are usually beyond helping and may never learn and improve.

You should expect to be safe from physical, emotional, and verbal abuse at work. If you truly have a bad boss, ensure that you’re never alone with him or her. You need your colleagues around you in front of whom he or she will have to behave or not.

Undisputable ways to know a bad boss


You are not alone
If you have a bad boss, you are not alone. According to workplace researchers Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans,  when people quit, they don’t leave a company, they leave a bad boss. Surveys show that up to 75% of employees who leave their jobs do so at least in part because of their boss.

To reduce the stress caused by a bad boss at work, keep your cool around your boss; get distracted by engaging with other colleagues and keep things in perspective. Have a mentor in the organisation; go for mentoring once in a month and take a walk at lunch or do other interesting things to offset the drudgery of having to deal with a bad boss.

See 20 Things Employees Value (Infographic)

Should you stay or go?
If your personal life, health, and capacity to perform at work are suffering, seriously consider moving to another department. You can do a job secondment or remove yourself from the bad boss. If all else fails, look for another job. Your health and happiness are more important than sticking it out with a bad boss.

See The Tell-Tale Signs Of A Bad Boss

How to Deal with a Difficult Boss - Dealing with a Bully Boss

Do you have any other undisputed ways to know a bad boss? If you do, please share them with us by adding your comments below.

Catherine Adenle
Founder, Catherine's Career Corner. The career site empowering and inspiring ambitious candidates of all ages and professions to thrive and work smarter on their careers. Gladly helping all career-minded people worldwide to explore their career, manage change and understand how new technologies are changing and enhancing the future of work.
Catherine Adenle
Catherine Adenle

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