When a new friend of mine asked me about what makes a good manager, I thought of writing an article about it, but talking about good people is just too boring for me. I enjoy talking about bad people. Much more interesting! Besides, there are more bad bosses than good ones anyway, so I guess they deserve our attention more.
We usually spend a lot of time at work that our boss and colleagues can seriously affect us positively or negatively. A good boss will always help you to improve and be the best version of yourself, and her/his positive impact can be noticed on every aspect of your life, so lucky people have good bosses; unlucky ones have bad bosses. But hey! The bright side is: only the unlucky ones can tell you about the seven serious signs of a “BB” disaster.
More dramatically, the very unlucky people, like myself, must have gone through too many bad bosses that they can even write an article about it!
And in order to inspire you to happily quit your “horrible” job just before it is too late, I am hereby writing this article about the Seven Serious Signs of A Bad Boss. You have to make sure you will be safe when you advise your colleagues to read it though, so you can say something like “Did you read the Triple S Double B?” This secretive title sounds like a nerdy name of a mysterious, incurable disease, so you’re safe buddy. Lay low and read below.
1. Your Boss Is a Shameless Liar
Mark Twain told us about the rule of how to know someone is a liar: “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” Well, a boss who lies cannot remember ALL her/his lies ALL the time, and this is how you can find out about their dishonesty. “Why does your boss lie?” is a question that you should find its answer very carefully because you need to deal with your boss’s lies in a way that does not cause you more troubles. A boss who lies may do so in order to use you sometimes, to lay the blame of their own failures on you, your colleagues or anybody else, or they would lie because they are simply afraid of confrontation.
But if lying is your boss’s most favorite hobby, and you are not manipulative and tough enough to survive and get your rights from a big fat liar who does not keep promises and enjoys lying always and forever, update your resume and start looking for a new job my friend.
2. Your Boss Is Always Right
I will never forget that “perfect” boss I worked with many years ago. She was one of those bosses who never ever admit they are wrong, so whenever she made a mistake, it was always someone else’s fault because definitely, doubtlessly, and indisputably, she was forever right.
We went together to a big meeting, and she was supposed to submit some very important documents at the end of it but totally forgot to tell me about them. When she remembered those darn documents only few minutes before the submission time, she knew her partners will blame her, so she just turned to me and shouted at my face in front of everybody “You didn’t bring them?!! You are so careless and lazy!” So I thought to myself, “Yeah, my bad! I should have gone inside your big, beautiful skull and whisper, so softly of course, to wake your messy brain up, and tell you to tell me about them! Sorry darling!” And needless to say, she did not see my face again.
Bosses that constantly put the blame on you and never face the sequences of their own mistakes are not just too annoying to deal with, but also dangerous and discouraging. Their denial gives a clear message to their employees that innovation and experimenting new ideas is too risky and not welcomed. Steve Jobs said, “Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly,” so how will you ever develop your skills and learn new ones with a boss who believes making a mistake is as bad as committing a dreadful crime that they cannot admit it?
3. Your Boss Has Moles
Yeah, your boss knows everything about everyone because she/he has moles, zealous and highly dedicated moles who, consciously and unconsciously, enjoy reporting your teeny-weeny mistake. They can actually feel the negative vibes as other employees get so angry at their sick behaviors, but they keep on skulking around in offices.
They look like the sweetest coworkers sometimes, gossip “passionately” with you, laugh with you while making those “professional”, dark-humor jokes about everyone in the management, including your horrible boss of course, and the next thing you know is your boss saying, “We need to talk!”
Usually, those bosses with bad relationships with their employees are more likely to “use” moles. Therefore, if your boss suffers from bureaucracy, snob, or lack of social skills, you should know that some members of your team are working as “connectors” to provide your boss with minute-by-minute reports.
Now, if you avoid gossip, you may save your soul, but the problem is, moles are usually not just good at reporting news, but they are also very good at spicing up the everyday talk in order to invent hot stories out of nothing. You will not have a healthy work environment at all with a boss who actually inspires some employees to spy on their coworkers.
4. Your Boss Has no Backbone
If you work for a boss who often backs out of things and rarely shows they have any courage to take the responsibility or make urgent and big decisions, you may feel happy in the beginning since you know that such a weak boss will not challenge you let alone punish you.
However, a weak boss means not only you can play and break the rules, but also the other employees can as well. As soon as you face the first problem with another colleague, you will wish you had a powerful and responsible boss who is able to run the team confidently and fairly, and can make sure everyone is doing their job without any conflicts.
Besides being an indecisive person who changes their mind so often that they can be easily influenced by almost anyone, a boss who lacks confidence and power will be intimidated by their team members and will never support their success. If you are an excellent employee, loved by your teammates, and appreciated by others in the management, out of the fear of losing their position, a weak boss is more likely to steal your work, ignore your opinions, and try to ruin your positive relationships with your teammates and the management staff by spreading rumors and gossip.
5. Your Boss Is Unfair
With an unfair boss who treats some members in your team as their favorites, no matter what you do, the teacher’s pets will be always considered better than you are. Those “adored” employees will never get in trouble and can literally get away with everything including your rights sometimes.
Favoritism can be a good way to motivate you and your coworkers if your boss uses it to reward hardworking and successful employees. However, when some of your coworkers are given the best chances and the most important projects just because your boss like them more, you and the other coworkers will lose any motivation to improve your work.
6. Your Boss Does Not Reward You
A boss who does not reward your for your good performance does not appreciate nor value your work, and even if they see you working very well, they think that they should not show you how good you are. Instead, they would throw more tasks on you because they know you are a productive and hardworking employee.
I remember when I worked with a small company where no one (literally no one) received any raise, or a letter of appreciation no matter how super they were. No one cared about our performance that we did not experience any form of evaluation from our rigid supervisors. There was only one poor email with a small “thank you”, and it was sent to one employee, for one single time. Period.
When I started my work in that pace, there were more than twenty-three employees in the department I worked in, but guess what? Only two of them are still working there now. People need to be evaluated, thanked, appreciated, rewarded, and treated like humans rather than robots.
This no-reward policy is usually admired by a bad boss who, besides being a big jerk, believes that you should do your work very well because you are paid for it anyway. With a boss that does not value the importance of rewarding you and saying thank you whenever you deserve it, why would you bother to work better than others?
7. Your Boss Thinks You Are a Work Slave
The workaholic type of bosses believes that their holy mission on this planet is to convert every member in their team into a work salve who works at least 24/7. They drain the last drop of your energy, and they still cannot be even thankful because they believe we all must work, and work, and work, and do nothing but work.
Fortunately, they can be easily “diagnosed” at an early stage, right during the interview, so take my advice and leave them from the start.
Even if they were manipulative enough during the interview that you do not understand how serious their case is until you officially start working with them, there is still lots of hope that you will surely know how dangerous they are in a very short period.
How? Well, you will constantly find yourself overloaded with work that you forget sleeping and eating and even answering your nature when it calls you to run into the nearest restroom. Yes, they are as horrible as that!
You know what to do, don’t you? Find yourself the best exit plan and just runaway as soon as possible.