10 Worst Bad Boss Behaviors

Updated: Oct 11, 2018

Published on April 11, 2018


A former manager of mine once told me, “If I am going down, you are going down with me.” That was in relation to having a bad sales quarter. From that point on, there was no need to pay attention to her. It becomes difficult to continue to feel passion for the job once you see a lapse in integrity in your boss. It only got worse from there, so I knew it was time to start planning my exit strategy.


Bad boss behaviors lead to poor employee engagement and high turnover. When you have a manager who treats you with respect and has your back, you are more likely to give your best and stay longer in a company but when you have a bad boss, you're much more likely to be disengaged, suffer from anxiety and want to leave.


The 10 Worst Bad Boss Behaviors

These are complete deal breakers:


1. Micromanaging - This is the number 1 killer of creativity and innovation in the workplace. It fosters an environment of distrust as employees feel suffocated and confined. They monitor an employee's every movement. To some employees it feels like harassment. If you hired someone for a job, give them room to get it done.


2. Setting up people to fail - focusing more on employee's weaknesses rather than strengths. Such bosses keep tabs and use this against employees in their performance appraisals. They can list all the mistakes an employee makes even if it was discussed and rectified. They also don't hire people who are smarter than them or share their knowledge to preserve their position.


3. Picking favorites - hiring and/or promoting the wrong people. They only recommend employees in their "inner circle" for assignments or growth opportunities whilst they keep back other employees. They recognize and reward the same employees. They surround themselves with sycophants. Additionally, if an employee stands up to them, the victimization begins - they are considered a poor team player and treated as an outcast.


4. Taking the credit for employees' work or successes. - Bad bosses will do anything to look good including taking credit for the employees work or ideas. Self-promotion is their top priority. There is nothing more demotivating than working hard to earn something only to have it unfairly taken away. This causes employee engagement to plummet.


5. Making false promises to get an employee to accept a job or a responsibility. Once the employee is in the position, they keep changing changing the goal post when they are close to meeting it or after achievement . They are seen as untrustworthy and inauthentic. These types of bosses don't keep their word. They practice the carrot and stick approach for employee motivation.


6. Ignoring feedback - Not listening - Some bosses don't listen to subordinates or they only want positive feedback. They don't admit mistakes. They take negative feedback personally and treat those poorly who give such. So onlooking employees learn not to say anything. Worst than asking for feedback is not doing anything about it. Employees know they are wasting their time and stop giving helpful feedback. Such leaders operate in a bubble and set themselves up for failure.


7. Not standing up for employees - Throwing employees under the bus. It's demotivating working for a manager who does not stand up for their team. If someone makes a mistake they turn into judge , jury and executioner. They are quick to point fingers. It leaves employees feeling like they are on shaky ground.


8. Overworking employees. They have unrealistic expectations about what is possible from employees. They don't stop to celebrate successes. They see this as a waste of time. Their main focus is on the bottom line and they show no empathy. They don't care about employees and don't try to hide this. If an employee is ill, their main concern is when they will be returning to work. It's demoralizing working for such a boss as this. They don't want to authorize personal days or they question the need for sick days.


9. Losing their cool when things go wrong. These types of bad bosses have low emotional intelligence and employees know to stay away when they are upset. They also insult employees or come off as disrespectful with the tone they use. They make employees cry. They rely on fear and intimidation. Employees have to walk on eggshells around them.


10. Displaying incompetence. They keep offloading their workload and responsibilities on high performers. They view their position as one of entitlement rather than one of responsibility. They fail to give clear direction or provide frequent feedback. These types of managers get promoted based on the "The Peter Principle" which states that the selection of a candidate for a position is based on the candidate's performance in their current role, rather than on abilities relevant to the intended role. Thus, "managers rise to the level of their incompetence."


A manager's job is to facilitate a good working environment for his/her employees. Good bosses are those comfortable and secure in who they are, whilst bad bosses are competing with their subordinates. Bad bosses create toxic work environments. Toxic environments drain employees emotionally, mentally, and physically. I have seen many employees in these circumstances become so disengaged to the point, they are only there for the paycheck until they quit. Good bosses are few and far between, and employees long for such bosses who will support, inspire and help them to grow thus making their work experience a memorable one.


In the end, people make companies successful. Any strategy or business plan relies on motivated and engaged people to make it happen. This is why the most successful companies focus on people and relationships. Your success is a result of your team- take care of them!

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