5 Signs You’ve Got a Bad Boss (and How to Deal)

A good boss or manager can bring out the best in you and kickstart your career in the right direction with good advice as well as deserved promotions. But a workplace mentor is hard to find, according to a poll from the job-search site Monster. Only 19 percent of respondents used that word to describe their boss, yet 76 percent described their current or former bosses as toxic. You are not powerless in your relationship with a bad boss. There are steps to lessen the stress of dealing with a toxic boss, and there are decisions to make about continuing to work with that manager. Here are five clues to consider.

Your boss is a micromanager.

If your boss tells you what to do and how to do it in great detail, you may find yourself unable to accomplish anything efficiently. This is a habit the boss is unlikely to change, so try beating them (nicely) to the punch.

Take detailed notes of every business meeting, email and call and send them to your boss. Your willingness to overcommunicate will diffuse their desire to constantly question your decisions. You will build trust at the same time if you never, ever leave them in the dark.

Your boss is unpredictable.

Studies say employees find the worst trait of trying bosses is that they are constantly changing their minds. It’s often better to wait before going ahead and following a whim from this kind of boss. If you start the project at the boss’s directive and then they pull the plug, productivity is stalled and team morale goes down the drain.

Try asking non-threatening, thoughtful questions about the newest bright idea. This can give the boss a reason to rethink their latest whim. Adopt the approach of telling them about your intentions for the project instead of asking for permission. They’ll let you know if they have a problem with your game plan.

They don’t listen to you.

If you can point out that there’s something in your viewpoint for your boss, you stand a chance of changing their mind. Pick your battles and don’t fight the same one repeatedly. Don’t cross the line from arguing your case to appearing subordinate. Work to find compromise.

They never make a mistake.

Another study found that 91 percent of employees said that an important factor in employee job satisfaction is having a boss who’s willing to admit they make mistakes. A boss who won’t own up to their mistakes is likely unwilling to go outside their comfort zone.

Smart bosses recognize that admitting mistakes tells employees that it’s okay to take smart risks. Failing to send that message discourages innovation.

Your boss doesn’t discuss your future with you.

Do you feel like your future with the company is unclear because your boss won’t discuss your prospects for long-term growth? If your job evaluation is always limited to performance evaluation without an outline of a path forward, you might be feeling stuck. Asking your boss for a discussion about your future role will give you a more clear idea of where you stand.

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