Good management encourages productivity, team spirit, employee happiness and staff retention while bad management destroys all of those but costs the company’s success. Some professionals will face a bad boss some time in their career. Working with a bad boss can be a bitter experience, but after that, it will make us wiser. Bitter gourd tasks bitter, but it’s good for your health.
I’ve met bad bosses. I tried to be positive back then by thinking from their points of views, but things were not better. The longer I stayed, the worse the situation became. I wish I could have known the types of bad bosses earlier, but I am still grateful for what happened as I have become more experienced and tougher than I used to be. Despite this, being aware of the types of bad bosses can be life saving too. From my personal experiences and researches, here are the most common qualities of bad bosses you might need to be aware of:
A micromanaging boss lacks trust and feels insecure. He doesn’t trust his employees’ abilities, skills, experience, knowledge, method and honesty, no matter how amazing they really are. At work, he will constantly check in or require you to write him an unnecessary daily report or follow his method to make sure he is in control of what you’re doing, and you’re getting the job done. He doesn’t trust you are working if you work from home unless he sees you sitting in the same office with him. Micromanagement is beneficial if it’s applied correctly to the right person and context. When applied to the wrong people, It kills employees’ productivity, momentum, team spirit, so it contributes to high turnover rate, which negatively affects the organization.
A good leader is a good role model for his staff. He establishes great professionalism, positive work attitudes and ideal work ethics, which makes everyone look up to him and willingly follow him. Otherwise, he can’t lead everyone. On the other hand, a bad boss lacks understanding of what professionalism is. He does things the way he wants without caring about the consequences. He can’t be reliable either as he can tell you lies, makes false promises and expectations just to make sure he gets you to do what he wants. He sometimes often overshares irrelevant and inappropriate personal life in meetings. He sometimes also forces you to do inappropriate things for the sake of himself. Unprofessional boss can be toxic for employees. You will find yourself hard to work with him, and sometimes your credits will be affected by his unprofessional attitudes as well.
Really, a bad boss is very poor at communication. He doesn’t give clear instructions and can’t explain the work vision or purposes to their employees. Therefore, he can’t inspire people to get the things done, but his people will do because they have to. Also, he keeps changing and changing all the time because he isn’t clear about what he really wants. The staff work in confusion and have to do the same things over again and again, which waste the team’s time and effort. A bad boss is also afraid of communicating with more competent staff or external work partners. Sometimes, he even says “yes” to a thing that he doesn’t even agree with because neither does he understand it and nor does he have the ability to express his thoughts effectively. Then, he will find a staff who is a blind follower to be his messenger to help him in this matter. Working with such a boss, you will often find yourself rather busy than productive, and face lots of miscommunication and misunderstanding issues.
Instead of doing things to earn respect, a bad boss always thinks he deserves respect automatically, and he should be always agreed with. Thus, he thinks he can do whatever he wants without caring about others, and everyone must follow him. He often uses his authority to force you to do things which you don’t agree with. He doesn’t appreciate those who challenge his ideas, but those who support. He thinks his ideas are always right. He might ask for your ideas just for the sake of asking because, in the end, he will follow his own ideas. When different ideas take place, and he knows he can’t rationalize his decisions, he will give you the impression of ” I’m the boss. You must follow me” to conclude.
A good boss will make you feel comfortable sharing work issues with. He will listen to you genuinely to find solutions together. A bad boss might say that you can share with him whenever you have problems, but in reality, when it happens, he is just not there; he might keep making excuses to avoid you, or he shows he is annoyed when listening to you. When staff feels their voices are not heard, they will lose respect to the boss and no longer care for the organization.
A bad boss takes credit and plays blame game. When things succeed, he says it is because of his good leadership. When things fail, he blames others. He usually brags about himself in meetings and doesn’t give credit to his subordinates. This will greatly affect the staff’s enthusiasm and motivation, for they feel underappreciated; thus it will harm the company’s success.
A bad boss enjoys making you feel small in front of others. He is happy when he finds even a tiny mistake you make because it’s a great opportunity for him to bully you. He bullies you by undermining your success in the organization, undermining your projects or belittling you in front of your team. A bully boss can even spread rumors about you to damage your reputation in the office to make you feel left out and powerless.
Last but not least, a bad boss I’ve met is unfair and lacks transparency. For example, he gives a better benefit to a group of people because he likes them rather than being based on a standardized rule or policy. His favorite people will get easier tasks with higher benefits while those he doesn’t like will work harder with less benefits. Whatever he does is not based on the rule, but his feelings.
I hope this article helps you make up your mind. Both good and bad bosses teach us something. When you face a bad boss and find that you no longer can endure it, it’s time. Your life is too short to waste it with such a person. Take care.