Whether you’re looking at a new company and wondering ‘is this boss legit?’ or if you just want a walk down memory lane to your last bad boss – this post is for you

Leading is tough, and we’ve all got stories of a boss who just got it wrong with a capital W. Do any of these ring a bell?

1. They are poor leaders with no vision
If you try and work for someone without any idea of vision you’ll soon get demotivated. Getting answers for even a simple decision feels like you’re wading through treacle. You come up with what you think is a great idea, but no one can tell you if it is indeed any good or not. That’s because there is no vision. At some point, the road map for where the business is going has been destroyed or just forgotten – so you have a leader who is steering manically around obstacles, or worse – not behind the wheel at all.

2. They bad mouth others publicly
Imagine your best friend at work was late for work. She had a few instances of being late due to personal reasons. You then hear the boss loudly proclaiming ‘she needs to watch herself, she’s on thin ice.’ What would you do? Tell your friend? What an awkward situation to be in. What if in a review they mentioned other team members and how they were performing? Behaviour like this is calculated – it is done to create a culture of fear, whilst also negating any actual work of speaking to the employee in question in a formal manner. Beware the boss who has a large mouth…Even if they are telling you ‘the gossip’ -you can be sure that your own shortcomings are being shared in another room, on another day.

3. They pass the blame
If your project fails and you don’t have your boss taking some responsibility, you have a nightmare boss – especially if they are giving you 100% of the blame.

4. They have one rule for themselves – and one for you 
If your department gets a real kicking when you deliver a project late, but then your whole business fails because the boss can’t deliver a contract back on time, or sign off an invoice, or make a decision – then you’re in a bind. With one rule for them and one for you – how can you win? Watch out for the boss that allows both themselves and other people to skip the rules everyone else follows.

5. They never help you out 
If you approach your boss with reasoned arguments for and against a tactical change but the only response you ever get is ‘what do you think?’ and ‘what would you do’ – time and time again, there’s a good chance the buck is being passed. This might be dressed up as a way to ‘let you take responsibility’ but they might just have poor problem-solving skills and be incapable or unwilling to brainstorm out effective solutions.

6. They love to micromanage
Most great bosses love delegation because it frees up time, allows the day to day to gets done and means you can demonstrate trust. The antithesis of this is the boss that either keeps doing your day job, or insists of discussing minutiae.

7. They play favourites
Whether it’s the person above you in the company hierarchy who is never challenged or the person in another team that gets the longer breaks, the unchallenging workload and the plum jobs, a bad boss makes it clear that some people are favourites.

8. They never ask about you
Whilst no boss is going to ask you about the precise ins and outs of your love life over the watercooler, a good boss will create a balance between asking for completed work and also showing a human side – and actually caring how you feel, what your ambitions are, and so on. A bad boss will put the company needs well beyond your needs as an employee or a person – perhaps refusing time off for appointments, showing severe distaste at your inability to work weekends or late nights or similar behaviour.

9. They are dishonest
Whilst most people know they are with a boss who’s out and out angry – and leave as soon as they notice sparks fly, a bad boss doesn’t have to be a hot head – they can be dishonest and manipulative at any volume. Maybe they’ll say how valued you are in one ear, but you’ll hear rumours that they were disappointed with your work in another. Or dishonesty might spread through the company culture – with illegal, dishonest or dubious activity happening, a culture where employees ‘don’t ask questions’ or where the official ‘party line’ is far removed from what everyone knows is happening. A boss who is dishonest when asked direct questions is in a tricky situation – but understanding this doesn’t make them any better to work for.

10. They never show appreciation
Who doesn’t want a thank you or a reward for a job well done? With employees looking to leave when they aren’t recognised – appreciating employee contributions has never been so important. A bad boss won’t do this – and even f you aren’t looking for a whopping bonus or a fancy corporate award, if you don’t get any regular and meaningful expressions of appreciation then your boss might be a bad egg!
The very best bosses are the opposite of these 10 attributes. Honest and balanced, understanding and rewarding. What type of behaviours from bad bosses have we missed? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo Credit: Alain Guerra and Neraldo de la Paz