Share with your friends

Are You a Bad Boss?         - ThinkstockPhotos-469078175-c.jpg

Are You a Bad Boss?        

We recently looked at three ways to kick start your business. We talked about evaluating your past successes and failures, experimenting with innovative practices, and empowering your employees to innovate their work as well. But sometimes the real change needs to begin with you. If you’re a bad boss then you will decrease workplace morale, productivity, and innovation. As a result, improving your own management skills may be the best way to kick start your own practice.

Here are a few things that bad bosses do:

They Fail To Give Credit or Praise

Employees find the most job satisfaction when they feel valued. Part of making your employees feel valued is simply telling them that you appreciate the work they do. Be liberal in your praise of their work. Not only that, don’t hesitate to occasionally give undeserved praise. Sometimes an employee simply needs a confidence boost to provide their best work.

They Micro-Manage

Employees will do better work if they feel empowered. Indeed, studies have demonstrated that employees find job satisfaction when they believe that the work they are doing is important and valuable. If you micro-manage every detail of an employee’s work then you aren’t sending that message. Instead, you’re telling them that you don’t trust them to do their job. Not only that, if an employee expects that you are going to rewrite/redo/rework the project they just completed, they won’t feel like it is important to provide their best work.

They Aren’t Available or Responsive

The greatest sin of one of the bosses I worked for was that she was never available and was very unresponsive AND micro-managed my work. To be clear, she was generally a good boss. I liked her personally and enjoyed working with her otherwise. However, the fact that she micro-managed my work made her lack of availability all the more difficult. Even insignificant motions and reports had to be run past her before they could go out, but she was never available and needed to be constantly hunted down. It led to a lot of stress for me because even when I completed projects far in advance of their deadlines, I’d need to find her to get her approval. She’d not respond to my emails or phone calls, and was only rarely in the office. Once she finally did review my work, she’d OK it with no revisions. It was maddening.

They Don’t Teach

Good bosses are good teachers. Bad bosses are bad teachers. Before an employee can give their best work, they need to learn the proper way to perform that work. Even if your employees already know how to complete their tasks properly, you may have some idiosyncrasies regarding how you like that work to be done. As a boss, it’s your responsibility to make sure your employees have the tools and know-how to properly complete their tasks.

They Give Poor Directions

Similarly, it’s incredibly important to give clear instructions to your employees. Remember, just like they teach you in elementary school, some people learn in different ways. If an employee is struggling to follow your instructions when they are provided verbally, consider sending them a follow up e-mail providing your instructions in writing as well. For that matter, it’s worth considering that maybe the problem is that you aren’t being clear in your instructions. By providing instructions both verbally and in writing you help ensure that your instructions are easy to follow.

They Are Miserly

Occasionally your employees will come to you asking for your help. For example, they may need your help with a project or they may need time off, a break, etc. If they are asking you for help, they probably believe that they need it. Always take their requests seriously. Even when you can’t provide them with the help they’ve requested, you should consider compromises that take both your interests and their interests into account. If you simply can’t help them with their request, it’s important that they at least understand the reasons for your decision.

Have you worked with a horrible boss? We’d like to hear  your horror stories! Leave them in the comments.


  1. My boss in three different conversations told me that I did not seem happy in my position. Offering little as far as solutions on all three occasions after expressing his opinion about my unhappiness he turned his back and went back to sufing the Internet. Once he was actually looking at vacation packages instead of listening to my possible reasons for my so called unhappiness. This is after 15 years with the company with not one sick day. I have since left the company.

    • Matt says:

      First of all, kudos to the point being made in the article. Obviously there are obvious points of disgust that must’ve happened to the author. But, he hit the nail on the head. I was told to write cleaning procedures, procedures for the work I perform, and edit policies for my company. I would do the work myself, and then have to take the form in front of a committee of 4 other individuals, each with their own opinion of what and what-not to have in the procedure. I got fed up and stood my ground. I said, “I don’t think I should be writing these. Everything I do always gets changed by you.” Of course, the “politician” boss had a clever way of reassuring me it’s just a review process. It’s unmotivating for me to put my best foot forward with these clowns. Now, I do as much “legwork” as possible and attempt avoidance of rewriting these procedures, or creating new ones. These bosses are horrible and have been coined “The Brian and Mike Show.” What’s worse? We manufacture wild bird feed. Nobody, I mean nobody, aspired to work in this place while they were growing up. And, nobody heard of this place until they needed a job and a paycheck. I know I can be a much better boss than these clowns. Thanks for allowing my rant.