1. Money

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:


was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

Most Emailed Articles

How To Fill Out Form W-4

Readers Respond: What Makes a Bad Boss - Bad?

Responses: 255


Crazy Company

I'm reporting to 3 lady bosses. The problem is that they keep demoralizing me and making me look like a fool. Even when I have zipped all the files, they complain that the size is too big and that their new notebook can't open it. Then, I was asked to re do them again into a smaller size by removing some of the potential details which are for past reference. The problem is they will always say, didn't I tell you before this and that? You didn't listen or write down what I said. To avoid confrontation, I will just act dumb, but this is very stressful. To make things worse, the employment contract is 3 months which will tick off any potential position available on the job market.
—Guest dolce

Discipline Obsessed

Thinking that a discipline matters giving it, for example, to engineers and nurses. Better treatment as oppossed to accountants, masons, and researchers. Showing biased decision making on the majority of cases that put other disliked members at the disadvantage.
—Guest chepha

Insecure bosses are the worst

I have had two really bad bosses. #1 was the son of a really wonderful man who, unfortunately, passed away. The son took over unprepared and lost 1/2 of the employees - most, like me, had been with the company a minimum of 10 years - ticked off our biggest customer, and eventually bankrupted the company - all in less than two years. Boss #2 was a very insecure woman. She ran the office like a prison and was so antiquated in her procedures that it really wasn't difficult to improve on them, but if you should try, she would get nasty. The final straw was when she told me to put an order out that had no SHIP TO info on it. I tried to contact the customer; she told me not to worry about it - when it was time to be shipped, I could get the info then. Later that day I tried to contact the customer again and she literally hung up the phone on me! The next day the owner came out and tore a strip off me for putting an incomplete order out - while she stood there and listened - I quit on the spot.
—Guest Karen

My boss is difficult

My boss is difficult and I find her intimadating. I just joined the company 2 months ago, and have been getting into the new works. She's an account director and I'm an executive, but she leads me directly with no managers in between and we work very closely together. Everytime I come to her to ask about something, instead of answering them directly, very often she would say things like"haven't I already told you about this before" (while honestly I can't really recall when she did) or things like, "Arent you supposed to know about these things and figure them out yourself". Very often she would give me that frustrated kind of tone or look like I'm retarded or something. Other times, when she says something, she would be like "get a note pad and write them down because I'm not gonna waste my time telling you this again." It undermines your self-confidence when your boss treats you like that. It makes it hard to work with her and has put a lot of stress on me because of that. Now I'm scared of her.
—Guest MissyX

Not so bad

I'm happy to report that I have had more good bosses than bad. I think employees want to be included, listened to, and feel their opinions are valued. When I started out, I wasn't a very good boss. I meant well, but I didn't communicate and I didn't trust my staff to do a good job. Over the years, I learned that a collaborative approach works best with most staff. They like to be involved in projects from planning to the final execution. By developing a more team-oriented approach, we have a great success rate. My own boss is a wonderful person--kind, highly intelligent, and always takes time to listen, give good advice, and even pray with me (yes, he is a minister). I have never been happier in a job. After 40 years of working, I've found the truth in the saying, "If you love what you do, you never work a day in your life".
—Guest guest patricia


I worked for a husband and wife team. The husband would dump a bunch of orders on each person, with minimal clarification, and disappear. Then his wife, who was highly unstable, would find out what he'd done and if she didn't approve she'd lay into that unfortunate employee and then harangue everyone else as if they'd just brought down the company. These bosses also hired their children, who weren't that interested in working there, but the bosses openly favored them. The worst is that they believe they could smooth over all this ill will by chatting us up (and taking the personal information they managed to glean from you to use against you later) and inviting certain people to socialize with them outside of work. God help you if you turned them down. Everyone was recruited to spy on each other, etc. It was the most tense, poisonous work environment I ever experienced.
—Guest anonamouse

My boss...

It started on the very first day at work. I was eager to start and showed up on-time exactly as appointed. No boss. I met a co-worker who said: "Who are you?" It turned out my boss arrived late, had not told anyone about me, had no plans for my office space, had not ordered me a computer, and never introduced me to anyone. Day one he gave me some papers about what he wanted me to do, but left me standing like an idiot without any information about the workplace or who to talk to. Whenever I knocked on his door for a question (what else should I do?), he acted annoyed or sighed. I felt like he regretted employing me from day one. I tried not to make a big deal out of this, and acted happy and did my best. But he seemed unhappy with everything I did. I started to work overtime to compensate, but he didn't notice and didn't appear more content. After some months of this I was totally worn out, and slowed down to normal work hours. Then he started complaining about me... It was horrible.
—Guest Mary

Where do bad bosses come from?

Well, a vast number of things come to mind, but they're not very professional! :D Actually, I think bad bosses - those who adhere to the "boot on the neck" philosophy regarding management styles - come from the same place bad parents do, since it's essentially the same behavior. Threats, intimidation, deceitfulness, power tripping, and political maneuvering (not that politics is part of parenting, but you get where I'm going with this) is based in insecurity - "How DARE you not quake and tremble in my presence!" - and insanity - since the definition of that little attribute is repeating the same behavior over and over again, and expecting a different result. Bad bosses, across the board, seem to think that saying "I don't know, what do you think?" will have the same effect on their mouths as drinking a cup of molten lava, so they puff up and bluster, surrounding themselves with various sycophants - then wonder why the company fails.
—Guest S'me

Poor Management Leads to Serious Losses

Whew! I was feeling so sad because my boss doesn't let me ask a question fully before she screams, yells and demoralizes me, but after reading the comments made here, it seems that bosses with poor management skills/styles are ruining the wonderful potential and creativity of the subordinate workforce. My heart goes out to each of you who, like me, must "grin and bear it" or those who continuously change jobs to remove themselves from grim circumstances. Bosses should mentor/coach their team members and, at least, know enough about their team members' skills to evaluate them fairly. Creativity, which is important to company growth, is lost when workers are afraid to speak/offer suggestions, lest they end up fearing the loss of their jobs. Where did all these rude, selfish, unprofessionals come from? What makes a bad boss that way?
—Guest What Makes a Bad Boss That Way?

Boss is intimidated

My boss is ridiculous - he is younger than me, and very intimidated since I have mega experience. This is evidenced by his taking almost everything I say or write out of context, and in the most negative way possible. This past week, I was voicing my reluctance to place on my "Individual Development Plan" a goal that he had established for me - when I tried to explain, in writing, that made the "individual" part of the plan void, he took "preemptive action - he talked to 'big bosses', HR, and then threatened my job, after yelling at me that I was achieving the goal anyway, so what did it matter if it wasn't mine. I explained that I just wanted to reword something, and that he had taken what I wrote entirely out of context, and he blew up. He called me "passive aggressive" & "borderline insubordinate" and I was in no way these things. When I requested to talk to the big bosses, he said "go ahead" - but then flipped out again when I did. *sigh* The irony - I DON'T WANT his job.
—Guest S'me

Most bosses suck

Being middle-aged and having had several jobs, I report that I have only had one boss that I admired. I have yet to meet a boss that encourages those under them to excell and work up the ladder. Most bosses are poor leaders and are at their positions out of default or supposed influence. I wish American workers had more of a voice at work. Most HR's bow to management and/or the money. A right to work state is just disgusting and should be eliminated. I long for my own way to be self-sufficient. The work boxes I have been in have stolen much from me. I loathe them. I go to work to pay for my own existence nothing more. Work relationships are poor at best. Boss relationships are worse. No wonder so many get sick because of their workplaces.
—Guest Cannot be human at work

Bad Attitude, Rude, Unfair.

A boss should give all of his employees the same respect. Untill the last 6 months, my boss gave me attitude every time I spoke to him. After three years, it got to a point where I would avoid him completly. I was bending over backwards to do the best I could and had to teach myself all that I knew because my boss didn't want to take the time to show me anything. I hated the fact that I was the one everyone pointed at to mix paint, when the tint machine was screwed up as well as software containing formulas. Yet it took someone other than me for him to listen and acknowledge the problem. Even then, it was put on me to find out how to fix it. Long story, short, when there was a class I wasn't worth sending. They all kept it from me and didn't even share what they had learned until I found out and confronted them. After that, I felt like my coworkers needed to stop pointing at me to do a job that they attended a class for. A person can only take so much disrespect and be pooped on for so long...
—Guest disrespect, attitude, favoritism

At a Loss for Words

I have always taken pride in people and thought that I would make a great boss until now. I have an employee from hell. I have been accused of stalking, micro managing, stealing leaves out of their yard. Regardless of my approach, it is wrong thing in their eyes. Frankly speaking, I am worn out. Not all bosses or supervisors are bad; some people are just not a good fit.
—Guest Maru


A bad boss is a self centered, heartless person. In a nutshell they think employment is a one sided street and employees are expendable pieces of shit, that have no say so.

Fed Up

I remember only ONE boss in my years of working that treated employees fairly and respectfully. Boy, do I miss her! With my curent job, I work under at least 3 (yep, THREE!) bosses. One of our supervisors is utilized as a "company tattletale" and reports to boss #2, who then reports to and is afraid of HER boss. Boss #1 is a troublemaker and thrives on drama...her aim is to get you in trouble, and she will lie and twist the truth until she gets you! Staff members have caught her spying, sneaking around, and going through paperwork when others aren't around. She constantly eavesdrops on conversations and tries to butt into personal business. Beware when she compliments you, because that's a clear signal that she's getting ready to tear you apart...and her sarcasm and vitriol is endless. I come home almost every day feeling smaller than a slug because of her. She in turn has a network of brown-nosers who report their fellow employees and get rewarded for it. WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE!!!!!! (Yikes! Get out of there as soon as you have a new job.)
—Guest FedUp
  1. About.com
  2. Money
  3. Human Resources
  4. Working with People: Bad Bosses, Difficult People, Conflicts, Negativity
  5. Dealing With a Bad Boss
  6. Bad Bosses - What Makes a Bad Boss - Bad?

©2015 About.com. All rights reserved.