Having a bad boss can really set your career back. So in today’s article, I’m gonna be sharing with you some personal experiences of just some signs that I would look out for if you find yourself in a situation where you’re asking whether or not you should stay or go. I’m sharing this because we’re coming up on close to two years since I removed myself from a bad boss situation.
And so now I’m in a place where I can really perform at work and, and I just thought that sharing my experiences here might be useful for somebody that finds themselves going through a similar situation.
Sign #1: Not really all that supportive
The first line that you have potentially a bad boss is if they aren’t really all that supportive of you. This can manifest itself in a variety of different ways, but it can be something as simple as you ask for something and they never really give you anything in return. There’s no give and take in terms of the relationship between you and your boss.
Not having a supportive boss is really frustrating because it often means that you’re going to need to do a lot more work yourself or you’re going to have to find a workaround in order to actually make something possible because they’re being more of a blocker than they are being an enabler.
Sign #2: Never really prepare for your one-on-ones
If you find yourself in a situation where you aren’t getting regular one-on-ones, I’d highly recommend that you set aside some time with your direct manager for that, but if you are actually getting that time of the week, you need to make sure that you’re making the most of that time. That’s some of the best time for you to go over what’s going well, what’s not going well, as well as what are some of the challenges and things that your boss can help you work through.
I had a bad boss in which they pretty much would never show up prepared for the one-on-ones, and so I would prep all these pre-read notes, but there would never actually be any full discussion or conversation because they were just winging it during that actual time. And so when it comes to one-on-ones, it’s really important to find a boss who actually does prep work for the one-on-ones, is interested and invested in your career development, as well as gives you direction to make sure that you are doing the right things in order for you to be successful in your role.
Sign #3: They gaslight you
The third sign I’d say that you should look out for when it comes to identifying a bad boss is whether or not they gaslight you. This often comes in the form of they tell you something and they blow up at you for no good reason, and it’s something in which they’re then starting to undermine you in terms of stealing doubt or some sort of form of uncertainty as to whether or not you actually can do the thing that you fully know that you can do.
This is something that regularly happened in the past for me because I had a boss who frankly in my assessment, was a little bit intimidated by the sorts of things that I could do, and so as a result, the way that they would cope with that is essentially by pulling me aside, gaslighting me on a regular basis and making me feel bad about my work, even though objectively my work was really good.
And so this is something that you wanna look out for, ’cause it usually is a signal that your boss is a little bit immature as well from an emotional intelligence level.
Sign #4: They have a low level of emotional intelligence
And that naturally leads me to the next sign in terms of a bad boss, which is if they have a really low level of emotional intelligence. If somebody can’t really empathize with what you are going through on a regular basis, or they just struggle to take a step back, actually listen to you, show compassion in moments where you might mess up along the way or you know where you might be feeling a little bit burned out, then you have a bad boss who isn’t really supportive of you.
And so it’s really important that you keep an eye out for this because your boss’s job is to make you be able to be successful in your role, and if they aren’t helping you in getting you there, then you need to find a new boss that actually is going to enable you and empower you in order to do that sort of task.
That is the essence of business and work relationships in which you are agreeing to join a company, to do a job, and to do it well. And so you need to make sure that you are being set up for success in terms of the sort of work that you’re doing.
Sign #5: Simply unprofessional
This can mean that they make certain comments that frankly shouldn’t be made in a workplace towards whether it’s yourself or in your office. This can be a really bad sign for you because it means that your boss, again, likely doesn’t really have the emotional maturity level or just social intelligence to be able to pick up on what makes other people comfortable and uncomfortable in the workplace.
The reason why this is a difficult situation is because I’ve been in cases where I had a bad boss and they would say a statement that frankly was out of left field and made other people in the room uncomfortable. But because they’re my boss in that situation, I can’t exactly just call them out on that and correct them. And so in the case where you have something like this, I definitely keep an eye out for that and make sure that you potentially find yourself in a new situation.
Sign #6: You’re not being treated fairly or valued
This often will manifest itself in compensation conversations. If your boss is not willing to come to the table with fair offers or fair raises when it comes time to give you that performance bonus for the great work that you’ve done, then it means that your boss is just trying to hold you back and isn’t really supportive of your career.
Ultimately, bosses should feel like they’re really excited about giving these sorts of opportunities to their team members who have worked their butt off for them, because in that situation, it makes it so that it’s a opportunity for them as well as the employee to recommit to the business and continue to perform.
And so I’ve loved in the past giving people raises over time because that’s a conversation where we can realign on one of our goals for the next 12 months or the, the next 18 to 24 months and how can we get there and what would make somebody happy in terms of how they’re getting paid in order for them to feel motivated to accomplish those goals.
By having somebody that really recognizes you, values you and actually expresses those sorts of appreciation moments, it can make a huge difference on the morale of you as an employee.
It really does do a lot for you therapeutically in terms of just releasing some of the trauma from the past, as well as being able to go to a new environment and simply just perform and find a place that works for you. When you have a really good boss, it’s really great ’cause it’s essentially opposite of all these bad signs of bosses in terms of feeling empowered, feeling valued, feeling like you can come to work and show your best self so that you can just really deliver on what you are hired to do.
So I’d highly recommend that in the case where you find yourself in one of these situations, definitely take a step back. Ask yourself whether or not you really need this job, or if it’s time for you to potentially start opening some doors, reaching out to folks, or if it’s potentially time for you to take a step back, reflect on what you want to do next and find a better situation.
I know that right now there is a lot of things going on in the world, but don’t discount your abilities and what you’re capable of. If you put some feelers out there, you can get new opportunities out there because there’s always demand for top talent.
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