How to Recognise a Bad Boss? 9 Common Shortcomings of Bad Bosses!


Do you sometimes feel like this: you have too much work on your plate, you are sitting in the wrong place, nobody listens to you, you do not enjoy your work? In many of these cases, the boss is to be blamed and this has negative impacts. This is simply because leadership is an art and there are few bosses who really understand he a bad boss?

Recipe for trouble

Be aware that in good times, a bad boss can hide some of his blunders, but in bad economic times bad leadership is a recipe for accidents. You might want to change their behavior, but the thing is that poor leaders are hardly aware of their under-performance. And even worse, the worst bosses give themselves good marks.

To save yourself from future bad situations, read on and I will give you 9 shortcomings by which you recognize a bad boss!

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Leadership studies

Many studies have been performed on management and leadership. As a consequence of most studies, the researchers agree that there are about the 9 biggest shortcomings of leaders. Every bad leader has at least one such feature, usually, they have several of these treats at the same time. So here we go.

The 9 most common shortcomings of bad bosses

  1. Poor management/personnel policy

This bad boss is characterized by primarily thinking for himself and not for his staff. It does not matter to him who does what and when, as long as the job gets done. In focusing on themselves only, they consequently do not succeed in developing others, with all its adverse consequences. Let’s agree on this, nobody wants to be in this situation.

  1. Bad communication/lack of social skills

Maybe you have heard something along these lines: “We need to create support ‘and ‘ We’re going to establish benchmarks’. Haha, not enthusiastic? This is not surprising, as most employees will have a misty look in their eyes at bad communicationthis kind of jargon. The bad boss has elevated bad and/or vague communication to an art. Or he simply does not communicate at all and lets everybody just mess around.

It does not mean that he condones what is going on. He will wait until evaluation time and then throw the book at you. A bad boss does not understand that a good performance of his staff is depending on regular feedback. You need to understand, though, that a compliment from such a boss will not be forthcoming, ever.

Everything you tell a bad boss seems to fall on deaf ears. You can talk about what you want, your good ideas and criticism are not understood, whether on purpose or not, does not matter. You’re not the only one who suffers from this: more than two-thirds of the workers have little or no contact with management. The irony is that this type of boss often swears by good communication. 

  1. Poor cooperation

A bad boss is not apt or focused on teamwork. He sees other employees and fellow bosses as competitors and prefers to do and keep everything for himself. This bad boss is like the death of other people’s ideas. They outright reject suggestions from fellow bosses and subordinates. They could be even better than his!  Result: good ideas will not be implemented. 

He wants to hold his ground and accepts no other views. With him, you really have nothing to say, which is too bad for him, because two heads are better than one.

Not surprisingly, this will be at the expense of the company and possibly you, if you are sensitive to this kind of behavior. 

  1. Poor work-life balance

With this particular kind of bad boss, you will have no privacy. Well, maybe a little. But any time he calls, you havetoo much work to be ready to act. In the evenings, on weekends, even sometimes on holidays (nothing is holy to this guy), and you are bound to do it because you are loyal to the company.

Do not expect him to return any favors! When was the last time that he allowed you to leave a little bit early to meet a good friend at the airport? A good boss will always return your favors in one way or the other. And he finds the right balance between work and private life is important. If this is not present, then you better watch out. Don’t turn into his slave.

  1. Poor leadership

A bad boss cannot make decisions easily or any decisions at all, as he suffers from anxiety. A cowardly boss always tries to keep everyone happy. He sets temporary goals that almost anyone can achieve. Later he pretends that he has run the marathon in getting to that goal. Or they exaggerate the difficulty to achieve those goals. Whenever they do reach their goals, it seems quite an achievement. Their motto: do not promise too much and you can deliver more or better. Either way, he will take the credit.

  1. Poor accountant

A bad boss is a financial disaster and a magician with numbers. If profits for this year threaten not to be met, he will push costs for the next year to boost earnings this year. Conversely, he books cost from the coming year to this year, so that it seems more profitable next year. In short, he will do everything that will give the business a most favorable impression. Please know that when they abandon your company they will leave it in complete disarray.

  1. Bad loser

bad loser?A bad boss makes stupid mistakes and taking responsibility for them is not his forte. He will try to hide them, cover them up. And apologize? Forget it! Everything and everyone, but himself will be blamed for the failure. He does not learn from his mistakes and therefore the situation will not improve.

  1. Lack of energy and enthusiasm

They see new initiatives as a burden and are afraid of being overwhelmed by them. Or very nicely said: “they suck all the energy out of any room.” Very bad motivational behavior.

  1. They are not bound by the rules they impose on others

The workers accuse them of a lack of integrity. The standards and expectations that they impose on others are not necessarily applicable to them. They will be handled loosely as suits them best in a particular work situation.


Recognizable? Or are you just one of the exceptions where employees thrive? Either way, just let me know!

You might have noticed that in the above article I am not indicating any solutions on how to handle a bad boss, as this has been done elsewhere on this website. When you access the homepage of this site, you will already see some articles to that effect. Access all the guidance and advice posts by clicking the heading “boss’s tricks”. Believe me, there is not a boss in the world, who cannot be beaten!

Life changer – Do you dare?

The ultimate revenge for you might be to leave that company and start for yourself. Yes, you can start your own internet business, like I did, and even work from home doing so.

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6 thoughts on “How to Recognise a Bad Boss? 9 Common Shortcomings of Bad Bosses!”

  1. Jerry, fortunately all but one of my bosses have been great. The last one, shortcomings, you bet! My thoughts on him.

    1. Also gives him others to blame if the job doesn’t get done.
    2. Sounds like our civil service. Not only vague jargon, vague everything. Especially the questions on the performance report. Unfortunately this seems to be contagious as it is filtering down to private industry.
    3. They are control freaks. You suggestions sometimes penetrate in a year or two and then they take them as their ideas.
    4. They often balance their lives but yours isn’t considered.
    5. Some don’t promise anything. Then again someone else is to blame!
    6. So true. And when the funds are actually due to be used they have vanished.
    7. Bad mistakes – because they think they are always right!
    8. WHAT HAPPENED TO NUMBER 8! Is it about the initiative? Sometimes (rarely) they realise they do need to try something new. And that is never their idea; just one someone ran by them previously and suddenly jumps to their memory.
    9. No integrity, yep. Pull people down in front of the full office. Try pointing things out about them this way and all hell erupts.
    My previous boss, at my leaving to move south party, told everyone how much he would miss me. In this instant not because of my initiative and good work but because I kept him in his place. He noted there was only two of us that he could rely on to pull him up short if we thought he was on the wrong track. He made the decision but always incorporated our suggestions.


    • Hi Helen, you have been quite fortunate to have mostly great bosses. It only goes to show that it is possible to be a good manager. Unfortunately, 80% of the bosses I have encountered, were of the bad kind. I have often asked myself if this has something to do with me. I always answer, yes probably, but is it not one of the boss’s tasks to deal with a multitude of people of different characters? As a leader should he not stand above them all and apply different approaches to the various people? After becoming a manager myself, I thought this was one of the biggest challenges I could get. I learned very quickly that one approach did not work on all the people and had to listen and see what happened around me and my team. I consider this very normal as no one is alike or reacts the same. To people that were agreeing to all I proposed I said that this does not do me and especially the company any good. Everybody has their specific expertise and I want them just to tell me what they really think and we can have a sound discussion on it and then I can come to the right conclusions. Without loss of face and without repercussions. A leader who does not take his staff’s opinions into account, is not a real leader and maybe not even a manager and will certainly not take the right decisions for the benefit of the company. In this way you are very lucky to have a boss who values your opinions.

  2. I can certainly see how they came up with these nine main shortcomings for recognizing a bad boss. I have seen these traits many times from others in management or leadership roles.

    For most of these conditions having management courses to recognise the problems that can arise would help but it usually gets left to all the employees to deal with the results.

    Your method of joining Wealthy Affiliate to create your own business can solve a lot of peoples problems. I’m with you on that movement.

    • Hi Travis, you make a very valuable remark in saying that mostly you will be left to your own devices. You need to help yourself out of the mess. Fortunately there are ways to do so and the fighters amongst us will appreciate not having to be like a sitting duck or at the mercy of yet another jerk.

      What you could do is fight for your own rights at the company, at the same time creating an excellent fallback opportunity by starting your own internet business from home. And yes, Wealthy Affiliates would be the best platform there is to accomplish just that.

  3. Haha. A great post that exposes a bad boss. I do agree with you that most of the bad bosses have most of the characteristics you have mentioned. I agree that some of them are greedy and are just focusing on their profits more than anything else. That’s a huge mistake for a business.

    • Thanks Chun, even more than bad for businesses, the first victims will be in their staff. Many people just sit and wait, hoping things will get better. However, in most cases it will not. First they will be angry, than get frustrated and even their health will suffer. Do not let this happen! Their are ways to fight your boss and others to get out of the situation. This is where this website aims to help!


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