Work Relationships

5 WARNING Signs You Have a Terrible Boss

Written by Peter Jones

So many people change jobs to get away from a manager they don’t get along with, or can’t stand. Bad bosses are the absolute worst. It makes enjoying your work exponentially harder, and can even give you so much stress you end up taking a good bit of that stress home. Before you decide whether you need to bail, it might be a good idea to get clear on what it is you’d be running from if you decided to leave your current job. That way you’ll have a better idea what to look for: a new job/career—or just a different boss.

Here are 5 signs that it isn’t you or your current position; it’s your terrible boss:

1. You’re Always Micromanaged

Apart from being thoroughly annoying in almost all cases, micromanaging can also be sign of a bad boss. Despite their piety, their overzealous attention to your every move doesn’t increase your productivity—quite the contrary. If you’re left wishing your boss would just trust you to do the job she hired you for, and you’re near exasperation… sounds like a bad boss factor.

2. You Can Never Reach Out

Or it’s the opposite: your boss is AWOL whenever you need him or her. When you have a question, a concern, an urgent to-do—the door is shut. Everyone is busy, and you want your manager to be a mover and a shaker in your field, but it is important to make face time with your employees. And at least to be available in a crisis.

3. You Feel Bullied

If you feel personally victimized by your boss, that’s a bad sign. If your boss belittles you, insults you, undermines you, calls you out publicly for things that aren’t your fault, or interferes with your work… then they are in the wrong, and very unprofessional. Bad boss!

4. Inconsistency is Common

The mark of a good boss—even a tough one, is consistency. If your boss is Jekyll and Hyde-ing you left and right, is generally unreliable, and changes plans and strategies midstream, then there’s not much you’ll be able to do to fix the situation.

5. There’s a Two-Way Lack of Trust

If you don’t trust your boss, and you feel a palpable lack of trust coming from her to you? That’s a problem. If you don’t have each other’s backs in the appropriate employer/employee way, there’s not much hope.

If one or two—or even all—of these things sum up your situation, there are some things you can try to do before jumping ship:

Try to Fix the Relationship

People can, and do, change. If you don’t already think your boss is the devil incarnate, it might be worth a little interpersonal work to see if you can’t get off on a better foot together. It could fail, but you’d be no worse off. The best way to go about this is to first acknowledge your own failings and accept responsibility for the ways in which you are not contributing in the best way to the relationship. It’s an exercise in maturity, and worth a try.

Escape Without Escaping

Sometimes it’s possible to move within your company. Try getting switched onto another team, or to another department—even a different office. You’ll have the added advantage of being able to network yourself closer to an open position before it hits the open internet. Start by making yourself available to help different coworkers on different teams; that’s a great way to introduce yourself and your skill set.

Start Looking

Save yourself from quitter’s remorse and don’t just storm out one day never to return. Prepare for the inevitable, if it is indeed inevitable. Start looking for new jobs, preparing your resume, etc. You never know, your best opportunity could come out of this one bad situation. You just need to keep your head up and make the proper moves.

About the author

Peter Jones