You might think this is obvious, but many people work for bad leaders and managers for many years thinking that that’s what bosses are supposed to be like. Working for a bad boss can be very damaging to your career, and it can be discouraging and demotivating. If you notice these signs, perhaps you might be stuck with a bad boss:

1) You Get Punished for Things That They Are Also Guilty of Doing

If your boss gets upset at you and your colleagues for things like coming into the office late, but he or she walks in late too sometimes, that’s not very fair. If your boss doesn’t like it when your colleagues take long lunches, but it’s okay if he or she does, that’s a sign of someone who just bosses people around because they can. Bosses need to lead by example, and if you feel your boss is not walking the talk, then you know you’ve got a bad one.

2) You Followed Their Instructions, But It’s Still Your Fault

Bad bosses conveniently forget their role when a bad decision is made. They will get upset that you did something wrong, but when you explain to them “that’s what you asked me to do”, that will just push their anger even further. It’s very emotionally draining working for someone like this, so if you think this is your boss, you might want to start confirming via email whenever he or she makes a decision to do something (just so that you can have a backup).

3) You Work Very Hard and They Publicly Takes All the Credit

When negative things happen, you quickly get blamed for it. But when things go right, suddenly your boss is so proud of his achievement in leading the team. Some bosses move up the corporate ladder because they are so good at taking credit for all the good things that are happening, and pushing blame when things go wrong. Great leaders give all the credit to the people in their teams when something goes right. Which type is your boss?

4) You’re Not Allowed to Leave the Office Before They Do

Doesn’t matter if you have finished your work, bad bosses consider “dedication” to be working long hours, and not leaving the office before he does. You can be sitting there looking through Facebook, but he would rather have you do that, than to go home. And because everyone is expected to work long hours without reason, over time you and your colleagues start pacing your work throughout the day so that you will have work to do at night, creating a culture of inefficiency, and avoiding further work.

5) They Publicly Shame the People They Don’t Like

Bad bosses have favourites, and if you’re not one of their favourites, they will not hesitate to publicly humiliate you in front of your colleagues. That treatment is different to the people they do like, who may get private meetings when certain things go wrong (and you can be sure he or she won’t be too hard on them either). If you start noticing that your boss treats people he or she doesn’t like horribly (without good reason), you might be working for a bad boss.



Posted by Derek Toh

Derek is the founder and CEO of WOBB.CO. He was part of the pioneer batch for the Stanford-MaGIC Entrepreneurship Program, and is also a mentor for McKinsey & Company's Youth Leadership Academy. Derek is on a mission to revolutionise work culture in Asia. He cares about initiatives that improve education and the talent market. Derek is also a big fan of superhero movies, and has been told that he drinks too much coffee during the day.