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Traits of a Bad Boss

Traits Of A Bad Boss

It’s pretty well known that a great manager can inspire, lead, and empower their team.  They make difficult jobs easy and instill a sense of passion and purpose in each one of their employees. Bad bosses, however, do the exact opposite.  They make the job perpetually worse and instill a sense of regret, fear, and resentment in their employees.  The traits of a bad boss are usually easy to spot and should be avoided if you can.

We even have a whole post about how to tell you have a great manager.

Bad bosses can come in many different shapes and sizes, but some of the below traits are so common that almost everyone can identify and recognize a poor boss by them.These traits are so common in bad bosses that they can be comically bad and are often portrayed in movies due to how overwhelming they can be.  Whether you’re a manager or not, I think we can all agree that these tendencies are pretty bad.

Micromanages Every Aspect Of Their Team

Micromanaging certain aspects of a of a process or a project is sometimes necessary and needed.  However, managers should trust and empower their teams to accomplish the tasks that they were hired for.

A good manager is only as effective as their team is without them there.  If a manager has to micromanage every aspect of a workflow or an employee’s day, then that is an ineffective use of their time and they are managing their employees incorrectly.  This is one of the telltale traits of a bad boss, they believe they need to micromanage simply because they do not trust their team.

Lack Of Empathy For Their Team

A good manager understands that their employees are human, and that life sometimes gets in the way.  A good manager tries to work with their employees to overcome their personal and professional challenges and to help them to succeed.

Bad managers, on the other hand, lack basic empathy and regard for their employees.  They look to the bottom line in all circumstances and scenarios.

A good manager has a deep level of caring and empathy for their employees.  They want them to succeed and they work with them every day to do the best they can to reach their potential.

Verbally Abuses Members Of Their Team

Some of the worst managers are those that think they can yell, shout, or scream at their employees.  Whether done in public or in private, it is never okay for a manager to verbally abuse an employee.

If you feel that your manager has verbally abused you, you should discuss it immediately with that manager.  If you feel that speaking with them won’t help or may place you in a dangerous position, then you should seek the assistance of human resources or another manager in the office.

If you’ve exhausted all your options and continue to deal with verbal abuse, then I would recommend looking for another position and removing yourself from that environment as quickly as possible.  This is one of the worst traits of a bad boss and should be avoided if possible.

Never Offers Praise

A pillar of bad and poor management is the lack of praise, no matter how well something was done or accomplished.  A manager should constantly give feedback, both good and bad, to their employees. But if you notice that your manager only offers criticism and never praises anyone on the team, then that’s a telltale sign of a bad manager.

Takes Credit For Other Peoples Work

A manager should look for ways to have their team succeed and be recognized.  They should extol the virtues and good work that their team has done and accomplished and look to ensure that credit is given where it is due. Good managers understand that when their team succeeds, then they succeed.  They do not need to take credit on the day-to-day accomplishments, because they serve a larger, long-term mission and vision.

Good managers who understand the long-term vision are quick to offer praise and ensure that their employees receive credit for their accomplishments. 

Bad managers typically don’t have this long-term thinking and wish to receive praise for every accomplishment done.  They look to steal the spotlight and won’t give credit where it is due.  Bad managers do not care if their employees are empowered or succeed, so long as they continue moving forward.

Approaches Management With A One-Size Fits All Approach

Good managers, and I mean really good managers, understand that each person is different.  And as each person is different, they must be approached and dealt with differently.

Management is about understanding and dealing with people.  it is about helping each individual accomplish the task and job to the best of their abilities.  A good manager is able to deal with each employee differently, though equitably, and ensure that they each receive the time and attention they need.

Bad managers approach management and their employees with a one-size-fits-all attitude.  They believe that their management style is superior and that their employees should fit into their methodology. This attitude is a surefire way to lose employees and create resentment across the office.

They’re Unfair With Extracurricular Activities

While this one isn’t thought of too much, a common trait in bad bosses and managers are those that aren’t fair with extracurricular activities.  By that, we mean that they don’t spread the opportunities to travel or attend industry conferences with their employees.

Bad bosses don’t understand the importance of industry events and don’t push to have their employees attend.  They tend to take these opportunities for themselves and don’t share the information they’ve learnt.

Good managers understand the importance of industry events and conferences.  They push to have employees from their team attend and network.  By attending these events, employees gain exposure to industry news and trends and can bring back this information to the rest of their team.

They Don’t Lead By Example

A classic case of a bad manager is one who expects a certain level of output and productivity from their employees which they themselves don’t put in.  Bad managers will hold their employees to a standard which they themselves fail to achieve.

A good manager is one that leads by example and doesn’t expect from their employees what they themselves don’t put in.

They Don’t Have A Focus or A Goal For The Team

A good manager is one that has a long-term vision and goal for their team and the individual employees on their team.  They are constantly thinking about how to achieve those goals and what actions need to be taken to be successful.

A bad manager, conversely, acts on a whim without direction or guidance.  They’re not cognizant of the future or the steps needed to be taken to be successful.

24/7 Expectations

A bad manager expects their employees to be available at all hours of the day.  They expect immediate responses, regardless of day of the week or event, and are upset by slow response times during after-work hours. Bad bosses do not respect employees time after work and expect their employees to remain perpetually on call.

They Make Inappropriate Comments

Bad managers are, at-times, extremely inappropriate.  They make rude, derogatory, and misogynistic comments towards their employees and belittle them. They believe that they have the authority to make any comment they believe and will act offended if anyone calls them out.

They Don’t Admit Their Mistakes

A bad manager is never wrong.  They believe that everything they do is correct and if something does go wrong, then they blame others and the process.  A bad manager is quick to blame others and never admits when an issue falls on them.

Poor Communication

Poor communication both with their team and the company as a whole.  Bad managers are unable and ineffective at communicating goals, accomplishments, and feedback.  They are unable to convey their message and leave everyone worse off than before.  

Ineffective At Achieving Career Goals

Perhaps the single worst thing bad managers do is they don’t get employees promoted or on the route to achieving their career goals.  A manager’s job is to help their best employees get recognized and move forward in their career and bad managers are ineffective at both.

They Just Don’t Care

And perhaps the single worst trait in a bad boss, is that they just don’t care.  They don’t care about their work, the company, or their employees.  They are happy or content with their own success and nothing else really matters to them.

Have you ever had a bad boss?  Like, a really bad boss?  Without naming names, what are some of the things they used to do that really got under your skin?

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