Work Relationships

10 Painful Signs Your Boss is Disrespecting You

Written by Peter Jones

There are horrible bosses, cruel bosses, bosses who hate you and are truly out to get you. And great bosses. There are also a million kinds of bosses in between. Some are perfectly decent. Some just plain do not respect you.

How can you tell if your boss doesn’t respect you? Rather than relying on your own imperfect intuition, try checking this list of signs that you are being disrespected.

1. Flip Flopping

Your boss changes his mind every day about what you’re meant to be working on. Your top priorities shift constantly. You can’t keep up. He calls you in panic about something that needs to be done ASAP—only to go silent without providing any further instructions—or giving you contradictory instructions later.

2. Not Valuing Your Time

You get asked to do something vague at the beginning of the day, but you can’t seem to get any more clarifying information until—whammo—at the end of the day, a project is dropped into your lap… and needs to be done an hour ago.

3. Ignoring Your Needs

A good boss will check in a couple of times a year to see how you are doing, whether or not you need anything in the way of guidance or feedback, or whether you’re missing any crucial equipment or software to help you get your job done well. This isn’t any fault of yours—it’s just poor management.

4. No Explanations

When things change or you’re asked to do things you don’t quite grasp, you ask a question and are met with stiff resistance—the workplace equivalent of “mind your own beeswax” or “that’s for me to know and you to find out.” If your boss doesn’t think you need to know things, especially things that might be necessary to you completing your work, that could be a sign that you’re being frozen out. Your concerns and questions should not be uniformly dismissed.

5. You Only Get Grunt Work

You’re constantly getting assigned the mindless tasks that no one else wants to do—even if you’re just as qualified or more qualified than your coworkers. Or worse, you’re asked to do tedious work that is actually unnecessary for your company or your team.

6. Micromanaging

Every piece of work you submit gets over-examined over by your boss—even if you’ve never made any mistakes and your work is exemplary. This is particularly worrisome if you’re the only one getting micromanaged or over-supervised. Remember, a good boss trusts you to do the job for which you were hired.

7. You Feel Replaceable

Even if you have a ton of specialized experience, you’re not consulted. Maybe you know a lot more than your boss does. But you’re never asked. More than that, your boss seems to think that anyone could do your job—despite hiring you and your unique qualifications for that job.

8. Bad Feelings

Your boss ignores you, avoids you, laughs at your expense, criticizes you disproportionately or publicly for the slightest mistake. Her body language suggests she just can’t stand you. She doesn’t make eye contact. She seems like a totally different and warmer person with everybody else—and a total stern grouchypants with you. A combination of any of these can give you the gut feeling that you’re just not being respected. And you’d probably be right.

9. Lack of Face Time

Your boss is always texting or emailing—never inviting you into his office, never stopping by yours. Not even calling. Technology is great, but you can’t forge a real relationship with your boss if you never have any real human interaction.

10. Lack of Acknowledgment

Did you just come up with a great idea but your boss can’t seem to admit it was yours? Or worse: did she steal it? Did you make a big contribution, but it’s going utterly unnoticed and unremarked?

These are all signs that you’re definitely not being valued. And quite probably being outwardly disrespected. It might be time to talk to HR or to start looking for another gig.


About the author

Peter Jones