Let’s face it; we have all seen and experienced bad bosses. There are the ones that bully, the ones that only care about themselves and their own career, the cowards that hide behind others or the ones that drive you mad by trying to tell you how to do your job in the minutest level of detail. Seeing bad bosses in action can be hilarious but if you are on the receiving end of a bad boss it is usually no laughing matter. Bad bosses cause so much unnecessary stress in the work place and are a major cause of reduced productivity and performance.
The thing is that we are often not fully aware why we get stressed by our bosses, they just make us feel uncomfortable or in the worst case completely stressed out. I work with so many different companies all over the world, across all industries and sectors and believe I can tell whether someone is a good boss or not within seconds of meeting them and their team. You can just tell by what they say, how they say it and how they and their team behave. Here are my top ten tell-tale signs of a bad boss:
- The Ego-Tripper – a boss that is arrogant, shows off at any opportunity and is in constant need of boosting his or her ego
- The Coward – a boss that takes on no accountability and often hides behind others
- The Micromanager – a boss that believes he knows how others should do their job, who can’t trust people to just get on with their job and instead and micro-manages everything they do
- The Incapable – a boss that has been promoted beyond his or her capabilities, has no clue how to do the job and has lost all respect of subordinates and co-workers
- The Over-friendly Mate – a boss that inappropriately wants to be your best mate or nearest friend
- The Bad Communicator – a boss that is unable to communicate anything effectively, be it the corporate strategy or individual performance feedback
- The Plagiarizer – a boss that takes credit for other people’s work or ideas and passes it off as his own (especially to his or her boss)
- The Negative – a boss that just can’t say anything positive and instead turns everything into doom-and-gloom
- The Ego-Centric – a boss that doesn’t care about the people who work for him and is not interested in helping, coaching and developing anyone else but himself
- The Criticizer– a boss that is quick to criticize mistakes others make and is unable to provide constructive feedback
For me, each of the above are clear signs of a bad manager and when you get a boss with one or maybe two of the signs then you can usually manage around them (not ideal but doable). Really problematic is when you end up with a boss that shows several of them at the same time, in which case I can only wish you good luck!
Do you agree with the list? Are there other tell-tale signs you would add? Or have you got any stories, insights or experiences to share on the topic?
– Bernard Marr