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Readers Respond: What Makes a Bad Boss - Bad?

Responses: 325

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My Manipulative Ex Boss

I had a boss who would praise us constantly, but overwork us. She would be nice about flexible schedules, but we were underpaid. In other words, she gave with one hand and took with the other.
—Guest Bibiana

Boss Can't Leave Emotions at the Door

After working for two great bosses, I am now struggling to stay motivated with this one. A few gems to give you an idea of what I try to put up with each day: - Unethical activities, including lying to customers and employees, under-delivering in order to preserve his bottom line, authorising copyright infringement and attempting to sell the results, and falsified marketing. - Aggressive behaviour, ranging with the usual belittling, personal insults, and passive-aggression, all the way up to screaming and throwing things at you. - Paranoia, and explicitly requiring you to mediate this by motivating him or spying on people. - Eavesdrops on your conversations with stakeholders, and retains this as ammo. Yet, he produces nothing himself. He doesn't even have the courtesy to shut down the NSFW browser tabs in the time between the compulsory knock and the all-clear for you to enter. - Rewrites your professional history... and reputation. Recipe for disaster, yet I'm still here. Why on earth?
—Guest Just Some Guy

No Filter

I've worked for this company for 5 years. I absolutely loved it at first. But since our current GM was promoted, his ego is getting more and more out of control. He informed us all at the beginning of the fiscal year that we had to increase our productivity because he wanted to buy a boat. He sends out communication to our customers with grammatical and spelling errors but if you point it out to him, he targets you and will call you out in front of anyone that happens to be around for anything that comes to mind. It's a small office so everyone hears everything unless you're behind closed doors. Today, in front of 3 coworkers of the opposite sex, he asked me if I left the vent on in the ladies room and why? How do you respond to that? I wanted to crawl under my desk. Then later I found out that he was laughing about it with the men in the warehouse.
—Guest Mortified

Cult bosses

Several long term, hard working, honest employees were fired and replaced with sociopathic narcissists. when I would complain, it was turned around to what's wrong with you, marc? Sickos.
—Guest marc

Are managers inherently dysfunctional?

I've wondered this for a long time. Are managers by nature defective people? Why is it so very few managers are skilled, gracious, intelligent human beings? Is it because they may be only capable of political concerns, of self-promotion, of supressing others for their own gain? Why is it workers are the doers, the ones that make things happen and fix situations, while managers seem to revel in fouling up the works? Certainly the two groups think utterly differently. I've concluded that if you are an ethical person who is trying to do the right thing, you must resist a bad manager. More than that, harass him/her - make them fear their unknown resister. After all, it is war on so many levels. You have to be smart which is very hard when a sociopath manager runs wild, but the only way a manager will catch himself -- is out of fear. It's the only way these sick individuals will change. I won't be bullied or be the object of belligerent and disrespectful managers any longer.
—Guest Kimmy

Bad Boss-But nice to your face

My only bad work experience consisted of a work environment where I was the only one trying to create a team work type of culture in the office. It was absolutely necessary given the work load that needed to be done everyday. However, since I was the only one striving for it, it didn't work. When things weren't always completed, then I was the only one held accountable. I left that job before I could be fired because I knew that I was better than that, and I had taken the lion's share of responsibility long enough. My former boss can swim in the muck by herself. BTW, she's already searching for her 3rd replacement since me and I've only been gone for a year and a half. I'm not proud that knowing that makes me happy, but it does make me feel more validated in my decision to cut my losses there. The old saying is true: "What doesn't kill us only makes us stronger." If you're reading these, you are in a similar position. Keep your head up, and cover your butt until you can leave.
—Guest A Little Wiser

Biased, Insecure and More

My last boss labeled me a stereotype to my face before I started work, and treated me accordingly. He indicated that locals knew nothing about proper etiquette and good work. At first, I was like his personal assistant and then, when things changed, he got nastier. I could never do anything other than make phone calls according to German standards. He ignored the fact that I worked not only for him, and ignored the work I did for other members of staff. He prejudged me and constantly accused me of doing wrong. His approach was always accusatory. He made excuses for everyone German or male, but accused me of as much as he could find. When one accusation was found to be baseless, he looked for something else to accuse me of. He excused others for treating me inappropriately. He said my work had deteriorated but never explained in what sense. He said I was a bad employee but still promised a good reference because he liked me as a person. He seemed more biased against local women.
—allouann

Slowly chipping away

I'm currently working for a pharmacy in Liverpool. Everything was going well, staff were well looked after until - he brought the wife in as a manager. Everything is now so cloak and dagger, no direct meetings but gets other members of staff to pass messages on to other staff - COWARD! She puts people down all the time, finds fault when there is nothing to find fault with! HAD ENOUGH! I'm a grown woman crying on Christmas eve because I can't face the bitch when I go back to work! Totally demoralised.
—Guest fed up liverpool

Gas station

I lost my job almost two weeks ago. I still haven't gotten paid. My manager calls me early Monday morning telling me that I am fired because I supposedly stole money from the register and because I closed my shift and the store two hours early (due to a family emergency) and "lost" the company thousands of dollars and that I am in debt for both causes.
—Guest Tall guy

Believing they are the chosen one

Along my career I've known many bosses acting like as if they're above you in the corporate ladder, they're automatically certified in every subject, including not only your own specialty, but also psychology, human behavior, judgment of attitudes, ethics, etc. Few options other than quitting...
—Guest Sergio

Win the world war four in office

I left one company where I was working after seven years to join another company for other projects. Of course it has got a big name, etc. But what happened in my initially three months of probation about to end in the last week. I came to know from my boss that they are going to terminate me because I am not moving to site to look after the work which makes me so sad that I was doing every day work and not recognized and my output is not going to them. Later they gave me another chance and stating that I am not medically fit for that role. Hence if performance was not improved in the upcoming month, they will fire me. I was about to reach at ceiling level when I heard this from my boss but I performed well in that month and gain little trust of idiots and change my situation and move along with system.
—Guest georage

It happens a lot

In my experience, there are so many bad bosses that using them as job references is a joke. There really should be a law that future employers can only call human resources for references. There is so much lying going on out there.
—Guest toomany

Doesn't seem fair

Bad bosses are encouraged. You can report them to HR and nothing gets done. In fact if anything, you become a target. I don't understand how this is legal to treat people this way? To be demeaning, berated in front of your peers and just treated so unfairly. Especially when you're a good employee? Never written up or any disciplinary action at all, and now, because someone is a prick I have to find a new job? Where are our rights as employees?
—Guest jewel

You Will Express No Response or Emotion!

My bosses ganged up on me in an email stating how they were tired of hearing me sigh and express feelings. They said they felt relief when I wasn't present. And they lied about my being out of the office without telling anyone where I was. This came in the middle of a big project where I had worked 9-10 hour days (plus two weekend days) for two weeks. No thank you! I left after getting the email and never went back. I have never felt more relief than when I was finally freed from that cold, never satsfied, unkind and fake office!
—Guest Lori

Soul Draining

My boss and her tag along husband don't have a clue as to how to run a school. They are so bad with people that they make teachers cry. He is always screaming and abusive. She passes ugly comments in this baby voice. It hurts to wake up and go to work feeling this demotivated and drained. I get nervous before I even leave for work. I get there and it's very uncomfortable. I try avoid their comments and keep being kind and respectful. But I'm not happy at how they can run a play group so unmorally.
—Guest Guest Teacher

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What Makes a Bad Boss - Bad?

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