7 Signs You Work for a Horrible Boss

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How would you describe your boss? Does he help you succeed and grow or hold you back? Do you look forward to going into work every day or only look forward to days your manager is on vacation? As you undoubtedly know, we spend the majority of our day at work. Having an awful boss can make your work life pretty unbearable. If you aren’t sure if your fearless leader fits the horrible boss category, check out these seven signs. Upon reading this post, you’ll be able to identify and understand the signs of a horrible boss.

Your Boss is a Bully

Think bullies only exist on the school playground? Unfortunately that is not the case. Bullies are definitely in the workplace as well. If a bully is in a manager or leadership role, they often abuse their power and make their direct reports miserable. A study of 3,066 U.S. workers by the Rand Corp., Harvard Medical School and the University of California, Los Angeles puts the number of employees in situations described as hostile at nearly one in five workers.
While every one of these aren’t citing bosses as bullies, they are certainly part of the issue. Bullies don’t belong anywhere, and certainly not in the workplace. Not sure if your boss is a bully? There are several characteristics that bullying bosses have in common. They tend to manage through intimidation, verbal abuse, and backstabbing. If you think your boss is a bully, you can stick up for yourself by those issues with specific examples of how you feel unfairly treated. Know that you can only control your responses and not others. The behavior may not change, so you need to be prepared to make a change if they don’t.

Your Boss is Lies Frequently

Great bosses are open and honest with their employees, they building trust and effective communication, horrible bosses are not. They tend to fudge the truth or outright lie to their team. Not only is this unethical, it makes it pretty hard to maintain relationships with the people on their teams.
A horrible boss will not deal honestly with issues that need resolution. Instead, they will blame, castigate and punish others while holding to half truths. The boss that makes lying a habit probably does so when it makes sense and benefits their agenda. These behaviors and characteristics are toxic to you as an employee and the success of your firm.

Your Boss is a Horrible Communicator

Do you consider your boss an effective communicator? Does it seem like no matter what you do, you and your boss are never on the same wavelength? Perhaps you have made every effort to improve your communication outcome with them, only to still have issues in the end.
You rely on your boss to communicate their expectations to you so that you can meet and surpass them. If your boss has a problem communicating, it becomes nearly impossible to be successful. Successful communication is essential between you and your boss in order for you to perform at your best and be the most effective you can be for the company.

Your Boss Doesn’t Listen

Employees want to be heard and a boss that doesn’t listen is destructive to employee morale & real world business outcomes. A manager not listening to his or her employees’ ideas sends a message that they don’t respect or value them. Perhaps they think they know best or feel threatened by your ideas. Whatever the reason there is no excuse for poor communication skills. Good managers value input and regularly ask for input from their team. They engage in active listening and spend twice as much time listening than they do speaking. The lost art of listening is an absolutely critical skill for leaders or management at any level.

Your Boss the Plays Blame Game

If you have experienced your boss not owning up to mistakes and even blaming other people, it’s not a good sign. Exceptional bosses know that everyone makes mistakes. A manager not taking responsibility for their errors shows that they will do anything to protect their reputation and will happily throw others under the bus. Knowing your manager blames others makes it likely they are blaming you for things too.
Successful leaders don’t play the blame game. They own failures as opportunities to improve and help navigate your organization to success.

Your Boss Micromanages

Bosses that micromanage tend to believe they know best. In order for things to be done properly they feel the need to hover and double check everything to make sure they don’t look bad. This undermines any opportunities for the employee to succeed and breaks down any potential trust that could develop between the employee and manager/leader. This is disastrous on an interpersonal level and organizational level.
Micromanaging bosses cause individual employees to fail to perform and the outcomes effect the larger organization.

Your team has a LOT of turnover

High turnover can be a red flag to managerial & leadership issues. People get fed up with bad managers and tend to move on. Did you know that a bad manager is the top reason people leave their jobs? A high turnover signals that many people are likely leaving due to an ineffective manager.

Are you dealing with a horrible boss? I hope not, but if you are you definitely now know the signs & consequences. Having lived through nearly every type of horrible boss – I entirely empathize & understand. The good news is that you can do several things to improve the situation. First you can be the effective communicator who is assertive and willing to address the issues you experience with him/her. You can be the employee who empowers and respects others, exhibits emotional intelligence and communicates effectively. Remember that leadership doesn’t need a title or position of power, rather it comes from everyone at every level of a successful organization. You can be a persuasive and successful leader that others will look up to. If you find even after showing the best of yourself that things don’t change it may be time to look for a new role. Remember that change is largely positive and opportunities abound. If not, you will enjoy the positive outgrowths of addressing these issues and the ensuing positive growth for you and your organization.

Joseph Guarino is a professional public speaker, trainer and owner of the Institute of Public Speaking a Boston based international public speaking & leadership training organization. As a seasoned public speaking trainer & professional speaker he enjoys helping other succeed in this worthy and rewarding craft. The Institute of Public Speaking offers a variety of public speaking courses for individuals (1 on 1 training), executive speech coaching, one day public speaking bootcamps, advanced public speaking bootcamps and public speaking seminars for corporations & groups of any size.
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