5 Behaviors of Bad Bosses

Bad Bosses are everywhere and we’ve all had them. They come in all shapes and sizes, but there are five things that I’ve consistently seen that are tell tale behaviors of bad bosses.

Playing Favorites

I’ve yet to meet a manager or executive who admits to or even believes they are playing favorites. It’s like bad breath. Everyone know it’s there except the person who has the problem. Managers justify it by saying they are “raising them up” or that they are “team players”, but the real question is: Are they being treated based on their performance or based on how they make the boss feel? I was recently helping an organization with so many “yes” men and women that I thought sucking up was part of the job description. It wasn’t, but maybe it should have been. It seems that the old adage is often true: ‘It’s not what you know it’s who you know.’

Being a Control Freak

There are many great benefits to micromanaging. It can be used to train both new employees and employees learning new tasks. It can also be used to help those who have had performance issues. But when bosses micromanage trained, competent employees it communicates, “I don’t trust you,” and “I’m the only one here smart enough to do it.” It is especially destructive when it is followed up with temper tantrums or threats or belittling comments. And then they wonder why no one ‘takes initiative’.

Stealing Credit

Stealing credit is one of the most damaging of all bad boss behaviors. Stealing credit goes beyond not recognizing someone for a job well done. This is far worse. This is taking the results of someone else’s ideas, performance and hard work and claiming it as your own. It is like identity theft for people in the workplace.

Throwing Temper Tantrums

Temper Tantrums are also incredibly dangerous in the workplace. They intimidate and manipulate people with the belief that somehow this added fear will increase productivity and or respect. In reality, it causes people to lose respect for the angry boss and in many cases can lead to confrontation in the future. Who came up with the idea that anger was a management tool anyway?

Talking Down to Employees

Talking down to or belittling employees is a cousin to throwing temper tantrums. The constant need to remind people that the boss is the boss and that the employees are little more than indentured servants does little to boost morale or productivity. Telling employees they are lazy or idiots or whatever, with the hopes that it will help them to ‘get it’ is more destructive than productive and it communicates “you’re here because I pay you and you have no value beyond that.” And they wonder why they hear employees say “I don’t get paid enough to do that?”


We’ve all had them. They come in all shapes and sizes. But after talking to thousands of employees, here are 5 behaviors they just can’t stand.