Turn and Run if Your Boss Displays Any of These Terrible Traits

The employee-boss relationship is as tricky to navigate as any other personal relationship, but with career goals and a paycheck on the line, it’s more complex. A good boss can help you become a successful model employee, but a toxic boss can ruin your career. But how do you know if your supervisor isn’t right for the job? Well, if your boss or manager does any of these, it’s time to start looking for a new job because these are the terrible boss traits no leader should possess.

We’ll tackle the bad boss traits laid out by Inc. and LinkedIn alphabetically. They are all undesirable qualities, but the trait at No. 10 might be the worst of them all.

1. Abusive

bad boss traits -- yelling, emotional, abusive

Abusively yelling at employees is not a good idea. | grinvalds/iStock/Getty Images

  • Emotional, verbal, or physical abuse — they are all terrible boss traits.

A boss who only focuses on your shortcomings or weaknesses and goes over the top to let you know about them isn’t doing the job properly. It’s one thing to offer constructive criticism, but it’s another thing to berate employees to no end. If your boss does, start updating your resume.

Next: Make your boss is on the good end of this trait.

2. Emotional

Angry Businesswoman yelling at a businessman

A boss needs to be able to keep his or her negative emotions in check. | Pixland/iStock/Getty Images

  • A boss who shows only negative emotions isn’t a good leader.

There are two ends of the emotional spectrum, and a boss who thrives on negative emotions isn’t a good boss. If your boss or manager displays terrible boss traits such as anger, frustration, or rage, then you might want to start looking for a new job. However, showing enthusiasm for team accomplishments is a positive quality.

Next: A harmful way for a boss to conduct business. 

3. Favoritism

pointing at viewer

Leave your job now if your boss is showing favoritism. | MangoStar_Studio/iStock/Getty Images

  • Having an A-list and a B-list is never a good idea.

A boss who is outwardly showing favoritism toward the employees he or she likes best is harmful on a few levels, according to Inc.

  • One, it’s borderline illegal.
  • Second, it’s a guaranteed way to turn off and de-motivate the employees who aren’t liked. After all, if you can’t get ahead by doing good work, then what’s the point of trying?
  • Finally, it shows that the manager is out of touch with what it takes to make the team successful. It’s not a good sign if your boss plays favorites, or hires and promotes the wrong people.

Next: A part of the job description that bad bosses avoid.

4. Indecisive

bad boss traits -- indecisive

A bad boss isn’t able to act decisively. | iStock.com/SIphotography

  • Hemming and hawing over every decision is no way to lead.

An indecisive boss is a bad boss, according to LinkedIn. If you’re a manager, a team leader, then it’s critical you be able to make the tough decisions. It’s right there in the job title of manager: manage people and manage the direction the team is heading. One of the worst boss traits is not being able to make a decision when the time comes. If your boss does it, then it’s probably time to look for a new job.

Next: An underhanded way to do the job.

5. Manipulative

bad bosses manipulate employees and play them off each other

Bosses should never play their employees off each other. | theprint/iStock/Getty Images

  • It’s a guaranteed way to cause friction among employees.

Does your boss let you fall on the sword for his or her mistakes? Keeps track of every little thing you do at work? Follows you on social media? If so, then those are signs your boss is manipulating you and your co-workers. A manager should never play employees off each other or make empty promises. Fostering distrust causes friction among employees and effects work, which is why it’s one of the worst boss traits around.

Next: This is definitely a boss you don’t want to work for.

6. Micro-manager

Being a micro-manager is one of the worst boss traits possible

Ditch your job if your boss hovers over you and controls everything you do. | Bojan89/iStock/Getty Images

  • A manager who has his or her hands in everything isn’t a good boss.

The boss who stays behind a closed office door, the know-nothing, and the know-it-all are bad, but one of the worst types of bosses is the micromanager. A leader who has his or her hands in every little aspect of what’s happening almost guarantees failure because nothing is ever good enough. Your boss will need you to check in so frequently that you won’t be able to get any real work done.

Next: A trait Galileo would understand.

7. Narcissism

Narcissistic man

If your manager takes all the credit, then you have a bad boss. | lisafx/iStock/Getty Images

  • No matter what, it all comes back to the boss.

Italian astronomer Galileo famously found that the sun is the center of the solar system. With a narcissistic boss, the employees are Galileos observing how everything revolves around their manager. Entitlement, shifting blame, and never admitting when they’re wrong are signs you’re dating a narcissist, and the same is true with bosses. Everything in the workplace comes down to whether or not the boss looks good or bad. Making the employees feel invisible is one of the worst boss traits there is.

Next: A surefire way to turn off employees.

8. Poor communicator

poor communication dooms a boos

Being a poor communicator is one of the worst boss traits to have. |New Line Cinema

  • A good boss needs to get the message across.

Being a poor communicator or not communicating at all is one of the worst boss traits and a guaranteed way to make sure the employees don’t trust you or the company. Not providing all the relevant information or not communicating clearly, honestly, and openly, are some of the worst boss traits out there.

Next: Doing this is one way to fail as a boss.

9. Resists change

A boss who isn’t open to new ideas is hurting your career. | iStock

  • Being set in the old ways sets up the team to fail.

Calling someone stodgy and behind the times are devastating personal insults, but those traits are downright deadly as a boss. Being able to adapt and attack problems in new ways is a key to being successful. A supervisor who isn’t open to trying new ways to work isn’t just closed-minded, he or she is also setting up the team to fail.

Next: This could be the worst boss trait there is.

10. Sell-out

Anger, embarassment at work

A supervisor who doesn’t defend you is displaying one of the worst boss traits possible. | fizkes/iStock/Getty Images

  • A bad boss trait is not defending employees.

A boss has to wear a lot of hats: Manager, motivator, and inspirer are a few of them. A good boss stands up and advocates for employees. It’s one of the surest ways to earn the trust and admiration of those working for you. On the other hand, a boss who sells out employees when there’s a conflict or dispute is sure to alienate them, and that makes it harder to manage them.

Next: No one likes a boss who does this.

11. Unappreciative

Dispute between young boss and young employee

A boss who doesn’t appreciate your hard work is a bad boss. | iStock.com/KatarzynaBialasiewicz

  • Not recognizing quality work is one of the worst boss traits.

You brainstormed ideas with colleagues unprompted, uncovered a novel solution, and stayed late to make it work. There’s good news and bad news. The good news is the effort paid off handsomely. The bad news is no one knows you did the work since your boss is hogging the credit. One of the worst employee complaints about any boss is one who doesn’t show appreciation for the hard work you and your co-workers do every day.

Next: No one wants a ghost boss.

12. Unavailable

A bad boss disappears into his office as soon as he gets to work. | Douglas Miller/Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

  • One phrase indicates you have an awful boss.

If you’ve ever had a supervisor say “I don’t want to hear your problems, I want to hear your solutions,” then you were working for a bad boss. As we discussed a minute ago, employees hate having an overbearing boss, but the same is true of a virtually non-existent manager. A leader who shows up, closes the door to the office, and only opens it again at the end of the day (a ghost boss), or one who disappears when you need help, is displaying bad boss traits.

Next: A fine line to walk.

13. Unrealistic

Making unrealistic demands is one of the bad boss traits

A manager with unrealistic expectations isn’t a good leader. | scyther5/iStock/Getty Images

  • A bad boss sets the bar too high for employees

There’s a fine line between having high standards and being unrealistically demanding. One of the worst boss traits is not knowing the difference. It’s a noble goal for the manager of a car dealership to want to sell 1 million cars each year. A good boss realizes that’s an impossible goal because the U.S. sells roughly 17 million cars in a good year. A bad manager doesn’t understand the difference between an achievable goal and an unrealistic one.

Next: Employees hate this trait, but managers don’t see the big deal.

14. Untrusting

terrible boss traits--untrusting

An untrusting sideways glance is one of the worst boss traits and a sign you should find a new job. | nebari/iStock/Getty Images

  • Trust is one of the most important qualities of a manager.

We all want to be trusted, and a supervisor who trusts employees to get the job done is showing one of the most important qualities. However, a manager who won’t extend trust also won’t receive any in return, and they often don’t see how that’s a problem. Though 72% of employees say it’s unacceptable to have an untrusting boss, just 53% of managers say it’s a problem, according to a study by BambooHR.

Next: This is a poor way to lead.

15. Vindictive

caucasian business executive yelling at two asian subordinates in office.

Beware of a boss with a vengeful streak. | imtmphoto/iStock/Getty Images

  • Do as your told, or face the consequences.

Sure, there are some must-see revenge movies that make for good entertainment, but being vindictive in the workplace is never a good idea. It’s bad for employees to do it to each other, and a manager with a vengeful streak, if you don’t do exactly as told, is displaying one of the worst boss traits imaginable.

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