15 Signs You're A Terrible Boss

Photo: Juan Pablo Olaya Celis / Shutterstock
man with arms crossed

There are #Bosses, and there are bosses. The former show respect to themselves and others, flash their leadership skills with confidence and do what they can to manage as a mentor. The latter? They send their staff members into panic mode and demand them grab their coffee.

Today, we're heeding the call of good-but-undermotivated-because-they're-miserable employees everywhere, and offering a little tough love for those bad bosses in need of a wake-up call. Your team will thank us later.

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Here are 15 signs you're a terrible boss:

1. You yell

Uh, unless you're coaching a sports player from across the field or warning someone about a falling light fixture, there are zero excuses for screaming at your staff. Abuse isn't leadership, end of the story.

2. You ask your staff to run your personal errands

Dry cleaning? Dog drop-offs? We keep hearing it and can't believe there are still people in business abusing their power in this way. It's so cliché and so very wrong.

3. You insult/devalue your employees

Every person on your team was hired for a reason; tearing them down slowly won't only chip away at their confidence, but leave them resentful and looking for a way to leave.

4. You're unreasonable

You want what you want and you want it now. We get that. We also get that not understanding how long things take to get done efficiently can leave everyone flustering to please you, only to face your disappointment when it isn't done to your expectations.

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5. You're paranoid

Nicely dressed employees who take lunch could have a date. Laughter could be about something actually funny. Whispering could be about someone's private life. Put bluntly, it’s not all about you.

6. You're chaotic

As the boss, you set the tone. If you're unprepared, disorganized, and anxiety-ridden, you'll never be able to give clear directions. And even if you do, you won't remember giving them, which will stress everyone out when you swear you never said that.

7. You micro-manage everything

We're all adults here. We all have jobs to do, talents to offer, and skills to help enhance the company. If you're hovering and checking every little thing, you'll make every person on your staff feel as though they're walking on eggshells and that you don't trust them. Or worse, that you think they're incapable.

8. You steal ideas

There's nothing worse than not wanting to tell your immediate boss your amazing ideas because you know the staff meeting will include them presenting them to the big boss as their own. If you do this, everyone hates you. Know this.

9. You equate power with aggression

Have you ever watched a new boss transition from nice to drill sergeant with the switch of a title? It's embarrassing. Leadership is as much about mentoring and motivating as it is about giving orders. Treat your staff like underlings and they'll work for you; treat them like valued team members and they'll work with you.

Make no mistake, you need the latter. It's the difference between people who clock in and out and people who offer to work through the weekend to make sure the company kills it at the presentation.

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10. You're a hypocrite

You expect your team to show up on time and work through lunch ... as you roll in at noon and head out at four.

11. You have no filter

There are some bosses who think they can say whatever they're thinking without much regard for the fact that, oh, their staff members are actually human beings with feelings.

12. You're passive-aggressive

Heavy sighs. Guilt trips. "Forgetting" to sign an employee's vacation request. If you can't communicate needs in a clear and respectful way, you shouldn't be in a leadership role.

13. You're crazy moody

One day you're loving everyone and suggesting team-building exercises, and the next you're growling that everyone takes advantage of your good nature and it's not worth it. Consistency, please.

14. You're a martyr

We hear that you do everything and save the day constantly. We know it isn't true.

15. You make sexist/racist/homophobic/ageist comments

It's not just horrible — it's illegal, too!

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Brenda Della Casa is the Author of Cinderella Was a Liar, The Managing Editor of Preston Bailey and Gotham Bandit, A Huffington Post Blogger, and the founder of BDC Life In Style.