The Value of Working for a Bad Boss

I’ve had more than twenty bosses in my career. I worked well with nearly all of them. But surprisingly, I learned the most from the worst ones.

A Manager Arguing with a Subordinate - Photo courtesy of ©, Image #18676911

Photo courtesy of ©

The truth is that most of my supervisors were average. Sadly, I really can’t remember much about them.

One was exceptional and became a role model. He took responsibility when things went badly. He gave others credit when things went well. He exuded integrity and became a close friend.

One boss was just plain incompetent. He was a nice guy but burned up and checked out. He couldn’t seem to do anything right. I think he retired mentally two years before the company let his body go. I was embarrassed to tell anyone I worked for him.

Two others were downright sinister if not evil. These were the bad bosses.

They could be kind and charming one minute and then—an hour later—mean, paranoid, and vindictive. Though I tried hard to stay out of the line-of-fire, they both skewered me on a few occasions.

Though I hated working for them at the time, I wouldn’t trade what I learned for anything.

Reality is that you don’t usually get to choose your boss. Sure, you can quit. But most bosses aren’t so bad that you would actually leave the company over them.

They are more like a low-grade headache. You learn to live with them. Besides, if you quit, you’ll miss some important lessons that will help you become a better leader.

Here are twenty random lessons I learned from bad bosses.

  1. Everyone on the team matters. No one deserves to be treated poorly.
  2. Bosses create an emotional climate with their attitudes and behaviors.
  3. The higher up you are, the more people “read into” everything you say and do. Stuff gets amplified as it moves downstream.
  4. A word of encouragement can literally make someone’s week. Conversely, a harsh word can ruin it.
  5. Hire the right people then trust them to do their job.
  6. Don’t ever intentionally embarrass people in front of their boss, their peers, or their direct reports.
  7. Don’t attack people personally. Instead, focus on their performance.
  8. Get both sides of the story before you take action.
  9. Tell the truth; then you don’t have to remember what you said.
  10. Give people room to fail and don’t rub their noses in it when they do.
  11. Be quick to forgive and give the benefit of the doubt.
  12. Measure twice, cut once.
  13. Don’t ever ask your people to do something you are unwilling to do yourself.
  14. Respect other people’s time, especially those under you.
  15. Don’t believe all the nice things people say about you.
  16. Follow-through on your commitments, even when it is inconvenient or expensive.
  17. Don’t be ambitious to get promoted. Instead, focus on serving and doing a great job.
  18. Be responsive to everyone at every level. You never know who may be your next boss.
  19. Keep confidences. Make no exceptions.
  20. Do not complain about your boss to anyone who is not part of the solution. If you can’t keep from complaining, then have the integrity to quit.

You can learn from anyone. If you don’t work for a great leader, don’t despair. Some of the lessons that impact you the most will come from the leaders who impressed you the least.

Question: What lessons have you learned from a bad boss or leader? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • Tyler Hess

    I’ve quit a  job because of a bad boss and I’ve stayed at a job because of a great boss. They can make a difference if the job itself isn’t worth the hassle of a bad environment. Usually the only thing I would learn from a bad boss is to not be like that person.

    • Tim Peters

      Agreed, Tyler.  I too have made the same decisions.  

      • jr schmitt

        Same here, I saw a former “bad boss” burn through 8 really great team members before the company realized their cost and let her go.

    • CrisDaos ACN

      I did the same thing! 

      • Now7stars

         now am taking the same decision………………..yahooo

  • Barbara M Fowler

    One of the most important things I learned is how much an impact the boss has on motivation. Even talented people with self-discipline and the desire to be successful are  adversely affected when they have a bad boss. So when a good boss takes over, results can change dramatically.

    • Tim Peters

      Barbara – Agreed.  You see the same dynamics in sports.  Bad coach leaves. Good coach steps in and success comes.  

    • mastedon2

      I SOOO agree with this. Employees naturally trust an employer to recognize and reward covering additional job functions… When they just “let time go by” because they think you are gullible and cant find another job, motivated and talented people are screaming to get out…

      • Barbara M Fowler

        Thanks for sharing!

  • Larry Carter

    I had one boss who would come in at 10 each morning.  He was often hung over.  He would do a few things until noon when he went to lunch.  He would come back and work crosswords and day trade stocks until about 4 pm and then leave.  I learned a lot from this guy.  Too much to really list here.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Incredible. I had a boss like that one time.

    • Tim Peters

      Wow.  Unfortunate.  

  • Joey Espinosa

    Does the last one include not complaining in a “formal” manner? I had a terrible boss last year, and I did file a complaint with HR. After a few months of nothing being done, I did quit.

    • Dave Anderson

      I always found that the first place to go is to the leader themselves before I got “formal”.  Everyone deserves that no matter how bad they are.  Once there is no positive change,then the HR route is viable.  Someone has to have the courage to get it on the record so the insanity can end.

      • Joey Espinosa

        Good point. Yes, I did talk to my boss first. Saying that things went “nowhere fast” would be optimistic. It went “backwards fast.”

      • Kelby

        I’ve started my own business but I have to work with the school system because my business is an after school  program located at the facility.  Community members are pulling for my business to succeed.  I’ve tried to learn more about the school system by previous people I have meet.  I’ve found out that trying to go to previous people to get advice is not always the best thing.  One disappointing email can really discourage you.  I’m still in the first year of my business but I’ve learned today don’t let one person stop you from succeeding.

      • mastedon2

        Not all companies have HR departments. Not all companies have annual reviews. Its more convenient for shitty business owners that way.

      • Sheila

        What if your boss is the ultimate and only sole owner, proprietor, boss, manager, etc. all rolled into one and is untouchable because of being on a native reserve and labour laws don’t apply to them? How do you handle THAT kind of boss? And her reach and influence ruins your chances of ever getting another job in the same industry because she will NEVER provide references for employees?

    • Michael Hyatt

      Complaining in a formal manner is fine. What I am referencing is complaining to those who aren’t part of the problem or part of the solution. Thanks for the opportunity to clarify that.

      • Charles Hutchinson

        That type of complaining is also known as gossip. Gossip leads to one of the very worst work environments. It can kill team spirit quicker than anything I know of.

      • Matthew Reed

        The question to ask when about to unload any piece of information about another is ‘what good is this going to do’? If the answer only is: ‘Make me feel better.” then it’s probably a good conversation to 1.) either not have at all or 2.) save for your spouse. 
        The formal process is what we have to constructively get things done, for the improvement of the organization.

      • Sheila

        What do you do if your boss is the ultimate and only sole owner, proprietor, boss, manager, etc. all rolled into one and is untouchable because of being on a native reserve and labour laws don’t apply to them? How do you handle THAT kind of boss? And the boss’s reach and influence ruins your chances of ever getting another job in the same industry because she will NEVER provide references for employees? This boss is condescending, abusive, dehumanizing, swears, yells, has unfair and completely illegal labour policies, is cheap, unreasonable, illogical, has all the symptoms of a clinical psychopath and has had a countless amount of turnover over the past 20 years because of his/her rude, obnoxious, and emotionally violent behaviour. Nowhere on earth has anyone ever had a boss like this, trust me. I’ve never heard of someone like this, even with reading stories about bad bosses on the Internet. I can’t just quit because I need to provide for my family. How do you escape without having him/her as a reference and ruining your chances of ever getting a job in the same field because of his/her influence in that industry? He/she is the only boss I’ve had in that field and I have no other references.

        • June

          the canadian labour code does apply on indian reserves according to the website, and in that case they fall under federal jurisdiction.

          maybe you can go to the employment standards office and ask for a consultation before making a decision and plead your case to them, asking for advice without giving too much details.

          man i feel for you. if they are as emotionally abusive with as high a turnover as you say, chances are they don’t have the clout they claim to and they’re probably using fear and control as a tactic to keep you trapped.

          to me it sounds like that hard part in your situation is that you have to step out into the unknown if you quit. my mother just went through something similar to this. she felt trapped in her job, and she just quit. she is now floating on air and life is full of new challenges (aka making financial ends meet) but she ALWAYS says that meeting those challenges are nothing compared to sucking it up everyday in a job situation she hated. additionally, being under someone who stresses you out that much, isn’t good for your health.

          my sister also had to quit a job because of an abusive boss. she was able to explain that to people when applying for work elsewhere and they were understanding and compassionate about it. and it didn’t serve against her when seeking work.

          i hope you can find the freedom and justice you deserve.

          • Sheila

            Thank you so much! It feels like there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Very helpful link.

        • Rog

          Here is a list of contacts for Human Rights Violations in Ontario. There is a legal help desk that can give you advice.

          • Rog

            you could also seek to apply for sick leave from your doctor because of the stress and then apply to the labour standards board while on sick leave then you won’t lose pay.

          • Sheila

            Thank you for that suggestion. It is certainly an avenue I didn’t think of. I’m not one to go crying for help and I usually just grit my teeth and put up with things, but if it’s affecting my health and quality of life, I shouldn’t be putting up with this.

          • Sheila

            Thank for the awesome and helpful information.

        • elizabeth jose

          Sheila, i don’t know if you are saved in Christ, but i would say turn it over to God Himself. The Bible says “What is impossible with men, all things are possible with God. I am also thinking of quitting my job shortly but my boss doesn’t sound as terrible as yours though! Despite my age, i am still trusting the Lord to provide a job for me. God knows you need to provide for your family and that you have no other references in this field except this awful boss. He the Lord Himself will make a way where there seems to be no way. sorry if i sound preachy, but its the Truth I live by each day. Almost all of us have to work to provide for our families or even just to get by on our own. So don’t lose heart put your trust in the Lord, read His Word and you will find Comfort and a way where there seems to be no way. Hope this helps. elizabeth

  • Linda Adams

    One of the worst things about a bad boss is that it can be demoralizing.  When I was in the army, we got a new platoon sergeant, and she was a terrible person.  My squad leader would come back from meetings with her and take out her frustration on me.  Everyone felt powerless because no one was listening to the complaints.  The senior leadership just laughed it off and said we were complaining over nothing.  They didn’t see the problem (never mind that the individual had been relieved for cause for the same reason at a lower rank, and they gave her a second chance in a higher position — and didn’t monitor her).  It wasn’t until we went to the field, where everyone was close together, that the senior leadership finally noticed there was a huge problem.  By then, even though we were army, she nearly had a mutiny from the squad leaders, who were literally filling notebooks of everything she was doing wrong and were ready to go above the chain of command.

    What to take away: If everyone is complaining about you, there is a problem.  Don’t blow it off or pretend like everyone else is wrong.  This platoon sergeant ignored that consistently and ruined her military career because of it.

    • Aaron Johnson

       Linda, Reminds me of the first few episodes of Band of Brothers :)

  • Dave Anderson

    I had a bad boss or two in the Army.  I never had a bad boss in my corporate life.  I was blessed in that way.  But I did work next to someone who drove people away and created a culture that was toxic.  I learned through his negative example:

    Good people suffer and/or leave–big loss for the company.
    Average people go down hill–they become people who need to leave.
    Worst people get even worse–but they stay.

    It is agony for all.  The good news, a new leader can salvage the top two groups!  Plus, a good leader will get rid of the worst people as well.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yea, it’s really great when you have the opportunity to follow a bad leader. I’ve done that a few times.

    • Matthew Reed

      It seems like a lot of bad bosses find themselves in their positions of leadership through connections and/or circumstances rather than merit. We all know that leadership that is only based on title (or in the military’s case rank) is the weakest form that there is

  • Eileen

    Great post!  I have a couple of bad bosses and I would have to agree, I wouldn’t trade the experiences and the lessons I learned working for them.  The biggest lesson I learned is how NOT to treat people.   Another thing is, many people who have never had a bad boss don’t realize how good their situation is.    Now, I can say, “Yeah, things aren’t perfect… BUT  they could be worse!”

  • Myrko Thum

    Michael, it’s a fact that you learn more in your darker hours tha when everything runs smoothly. It’s the same with the boss.
    It give you the opportunity to raise above their behavior. Sometimes it teaches you, to stand up for yourself. One of my favorite challenge to be honest.

  • jaycaruso

    A post like this is very personal to me. It’s also great to see that I am not alone in believing that working for a bad boss has its advantages. In all honesty, I am usually one not to toot my own horn, but I’ve used my experiences working at what I refer to as the “Worst Run Company Ever.” My goal is to take the poor lessons I learned and turn it around so that people can use it for good as they find themselves leading teams or entire organizations.

  • André Bernardes

    My lesson would be “When things go wrong look for a solution, not someone to blame.”

    But I think no. 5 (Hire the right people and trust them) should be number 1 bold. The most toxic environment are those which the leader thinks the team’s only interest is to steal from the company and his job is to keep them from doing so.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I agree. That’s a really important lesson.

  • Dallon Christensen

    I’ve had three bad bosses in my career. Fortunately, I never worked long for any of them. I learned that you have to know what your team is doing. I also learned that a boss who is technically good but bad with people will cause trouble. This boss expected her team to work 70-hour weeks and expected night and weekend work instead of valuing her family. I honestly don’t know how her husband stays with her. I’ve also learned that you must set clear expectations of your team and let them know when you think they are off course. As I lead other people, either as a company owner with employees or working with contract team members like Michael does, to respect boundaries and set clear expectations.

  • Kelly Combs

    One lesson I learned is people are more motivated to work hard for you if they think you have some level of care about them as a person.  I worked for someone who never spoke to me about ANYTHING outside of work. Never once asked, “How was your weekend?”  I don’t want to be best friends with my boss or direct reports, but extending common courtesies builds relationships and teams.

    #6 above could simply read “Don’t ever intentionally embarrass people .”  :-)

    • Tim Peters

      Agree on #6. Good summary.  

  • John Richardson

    When you work for the government or large institution where the company offers a retirement plan, you may not have the option to quit without significant ramifications.  In that case, you’ll need to work within the parameters of the H.R. department, when faced with a bad boss. I would also say, in the light of the Penn State debacle, that there are exceptions to number 19 and 20.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Good point on #19 and 20. Those are indeed exceptions. I am really talking about gossip here.

  • Gail

    I had a bad boss whose behavior towards others cost her a coveted position. She hadn’t realized what others thought of her until then. What I learned from her though was that good boss is decisive. A wishy-washy boss who can’t make decisions and tries to please everybody (I had one of those too) is bad for morale and fails to instill confidence.

  • Championseminars

    Well said. We can’t control what bosses do, but we can control how e respond. We really can learn a lot from the bad bosses, imperfect bosses, and even the great ones. The bad ones really give you enormous material to write or right about in a book.

  • Aaron Johnson

    I’ve been a bad boss :) I was young, in college, and running the family business. My takeaway from my own screw ups was that we bring our issues with us into whatever environment we are in; working with people often makes our insecurities and weaknesses more pronounced. My own need for control and my own fears were the big ones that got trafficked into those 10 hours each day.

    It’s dangerous to pretend we can “leave everything at home” or “leave everything at work.” Instead, what we really need is a way be honest with ourselves and deal with those things. Having a mentor has been key for me in that.

    • Rachel Lance

      That’s a great awareness to take forward in your career. Thanks for sharing part of your story!

  • MarkJCundiff

    Great List! I too have had similar experiences during my career. I would add to you list the following:

    1. Don’t manipulate and/or bully your people. 
    2. Don’t pit your people against one another.
    3. Don’t be intimidated or fearful of your direct reports special abilities that exceed yours in some areas. Instead, capitalize on these talents to strengthen the team and elevate the organizations success.
    4. Don’t show off the power of your position.
    5. Don’t make up silly rules that aren’t effective at moving organization forward  just to control people.
    6. Don’t try to show people how much smarter you are than them.
    7. Don’t use fear to motivate.
    8. Don’t ignore poor performance.
    9. Don’t reward bad behavior that gets good results.
    10. Set clear expectations.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Great additions. Thanks!

    • Eatyourfeedback

       An excellent addition to the list – #5 in particular!

      • Mark J Cundiff

        Thanks Michael and Eatyourfeedback!

  • Terry Hadaway

    Bad bosses believe they are good bosses and tell people. Great bosses never have to self-promote.

    I’ve also learned that great bosses are concerned about the collective win; bad bosses are focused on self-preservation. When a boss turns inward, communication shuts down, an atmosphere of fear develops, and someone (other than the boss) will take the blame for everything that goes south. I’m grateful I’ve worked for more good bosses. Like you, I remember the bad ones because of the emotional terror they instigated. Bosses need to know their whys just like the rest of us!

  • Sheri Mackey

    Great list Mike. Thank you fofr sharing your wisdom.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Sorry about that! ;-)

  • Mary-Beth Goetzke

    I am currently in a situation with a “bad” boss
    described in this post. One interesting thing I have learned in dealing
    with her is “it’s not about me-to not take things personally.” Often
    times the way she treats me, right or wrong, is about her issues. Also instead
    of living in constant fear of when and how a shoe may drop, I got my house in
    order, especially financially. When I feel frustrateded, demoralized,  or angry, I go back to “I am
    choosing to stay here right now because of (personal reason). Do I want to make a change?” In the end, when I leave, I am determined to
    be better for this negative experience and not let her control my life. 

  • Doyle

    Great lessons I learned from a bad boss:
    1. If there is a problem, deal with it. Hoping it will get better on it’s own doesn’t work.
    2. Be consistent with everyone.
    3. If you aren’t strong in an area don’t be afraid to admit it and allow someone to help you.

  • Chris Campbell

    You really get to learn from the worst boss, what you should never do if you become a leader. You also get to learn from your best leaders what to do when become a leader. Everything has a purpose and it’s yours to with what you will. Good post Mr. Hyatt.

  • Michael Paul Willis

    Michael, I agree with every point except #20 – don’t complain about your boss. I think this is unrealistic. Sometimes a little complaining or laughter at the boss’ expense is a perfectly natural and even healthy way to let off some steam without taking the situation to DEFCON 5. There’s a delicate balance, however, and I’m *not* advocating habitual whining!

    • Michael Hyatt

      You might be right. We have to be careful. As leaders, we create culture in our wake. I have seen people use humor in a lethal manner.

  • Maurice F. Overholt

    This is excellent, Michael!  While I enjoy good work environments, I (unfortunately) learned the most from the more difficult environments.  The first was 1 year as a music teacher in a new inner city charter school of 900 students where I was the minority.  There I learned more about my own limits and about how to interact with children.  The second was nearly 9 years at a church with a very critical leadership structure, where I learned about setting boundaries and dealing with conflict.

  • Inspired2ignite

    My worst boss nearly fit your list to a “T” with your #2 (bosses setting the tone) being the most applicable.  It never ceased to amaze me how she couldn’t see this…several of us even tried telling her (Carefully!) to no avail. 

    I have my own consulting business and the experience with her comes with me as I evaluate office settings and workplace environments.  It has helped me be more aware of the power of positive comments and encouraging employees in the areas they do well.

  • Thad Puckett

    I have had the blessing of working with, generally, good bosses.  There have been very few who were even close to sinister.  It is amazing their impact on me.

    You provide an excellent list of things you have learned even from the bad ones.  

    My current boss may be the best I have ever worked for.  He is a great mentor and a great friend.  

  • Heather C Button

    I had the worst kind of boss once, the kind who berated me for hours for not knowing something. It scarred me for future employment. I left his office (4 people including me) on good terms: I saved a big mistake in a project. I was a student – thank God I had to go back to school – but after I left, I learned all about harassment in the workplace, then put together an email for my classmates indicating what they should do if they’ve been so harassed at work. Obviously there’s a lot more to this story, but I’ll leave it at that.

    If you’re in Canada, the Canadian Human Resources Council has advice on what to do if you are harassed at work legally. I’m not sure who you turn to in the US.

    • Aaron Johnson

       Heather, sorry to hear about your experience. That kind of stuff is just inexcusable. HR is the right place to go, but it’s difficult when you work for a smaller company, or an institution without a solid HR dept.  In the US, it seems that the best outside resources are at the State level.

  • Joshua Rivers

    I had a supervisor once that was rarely involved in what was going on. He would emerge from his office after several hours, and wondered what our status was. He would openly say things that would show ignorance or incompetence. I’m not saying that he was incompetent, but his lack of connection made it appear that way. I’ve learned (maybe still learning) to see what the situation is before making a judgment call.

  • Jean

    So true, I have learned much from those that were not so good at being bossy.  Better a life lesson learned than to have to keep doing that again :)  Also I learned to listen, really listen for the truth in what was being said and asked that God would help me to improve in the areas that I really could.  Experience is a great teacher.

  • Raquel Cole

    Great article. I think a part of the problem is that often people get promoted into management positions as the next logical step in their careers, even though a) they may not be a good people person, b) they do not want to be a “boss” and would rather be an SME  or c) they did not receive any type of training. 

    Being a manager is so different from being a leader, and alas, what we need more of is leadership.

    • Rachel Lance

      Managing and leading are two very different things. Unfortunately many organizations (and many leaders) don’t distinguish the difference.

  • Bill Horn

    These are such great points. Working under bad bosses in the past gave me some great insight into my own issues/tendencies as a leader.

    The one main thing I would add is: Fear is a pitiful motivator. You will never get your people’s best work if you make them afraid.

  • Robyn

    Michael this is a powerful post. I have had one boss who I believe committed all if not the majority of your points. However – he was brilliant in spite of his behavior, maybe even the most brilliant person I have worked for in my career. And I did learn from him but up until this post I truly didn’t realize how much. It’s not always about the tools and learning to be a better marketer in my case. It’s also about behavior and influence. 
    Another thing I have learned from your post and candidly it hurts my heart a little is that I have not been the best boss and most importantly to a team I loved. I am going to send this post to one of them in particular and apologize – I feel the tug at my heart to take action. And beyond all of this – I will take all of this to heart – putting the list in my journal and praying over them…
    Thank you

  • Brad Veitch

    The quality of your work always is always a reflection of you. Make it shine brightly!

  • Sdmadd2

    Oh, man.  Where do I start?

    1.  Never dehumanize others.

    2.  Never have rules for others that you openly abuse yourself.

    3.  Never work for a family owned business where most of people who work there are family.  You will always be paid less, treated worse, and reminded constantly that you are not family.

    4. Don’t hire people for their creativity, then do everyting you can to squelch that creativity.

    5.  Don’t set employees up with busy work that doesn’t mean anything.  It’s demeaning.

    There’s more, but I’ll stop with 5.

  • Warner Jill

    My first job out of college was for a small company where the President and Chief Chemist was an alcoholic whose two pleasures were “pornography and plotting evil.”  I found though that like most bullies if I stood up to him in a respectful manner he backed down.  In working for him I learned the art of choosing my battles and how to respond from a position of choice rather than intimidation.

  • Aaron Johnson

     Austin, that’s a good bit of wisdom. A handful of my friends were really burnt by their bosses during their 20’s. Often, these guys were in ministry and had great dreams, just not the character to lead people well. As a result, a lot of those friends who were hurt by leadership ended up becoming men, now in their late thirties, who are leading from deep places of character and integrity.

  • Purdier

    Good piece, I admit that I have learned more what not to do, with regard to behaviors, than what to do. Leaders are so very scarce nowadays, true leaders who inspire, engage and love their people.

  • Andy Monaghan

    I really like these lessons.  I wonder how important it is to aspire to be like a great boss, rather than not like a bad one?  eg, I’m working with someone currently who is being held back by his desire to not be like the bad bosses he worked for in the past. It has created the wrong mindset for him. Anyone else got experience of this subtle difference?

    • Michael Hyatt

      I totally agree. You have to turn a negative into a positive and move toward who you want to become.

  • Dannoman88

    I’ve got along well with most my bosses.  It’s usually a lower-ranked supervisor, someone who has less knowledge and experience, yet more authority than me that caused me problems in the past.  They acted with a low level of maturity because they were young and new to holding power.  

  • Peter James

    I’ve been learning a lot about myself in how I respond to a micro-managing supervisor that constantly reports my shortcomings to the owner of the company. Technically I have four bosses I report to directly. But one is particularly difficult and has ruined my image I front of the owner. What I’ve learned though is that I’m not as good of a worker as I thought. I tend to do just enough of a good job to get things done in the name of efficiency. I found that I place far too much of my identity in my work and people’s perception of me. I’ve learned that my previous mode of operation “follow the spirit of the law and not the letter” was used as a justification for laziness. I learned that working as to the Lord and not just eye service takes an incredible amount of humility and compassion that I can only get from reminding myself of Jesus’ service to horrible people who weren’t even his boss, us. By far the best mindset to have toward a bad boss is compassion. Most of all I learned that I often perceive God himself as a bad boss and that I don’t like giving up my lordship to people who actually have the right to command me, including God himself who commands with love and wisdom.

    • Peter James

      Also, I learned that “give to Caesar what is caesar’s” applies to bosses too. We owe them respect, diligent work ethics, etc. not because they personally deserve it but their office deserves it. We’re not responsible for what they do with our respect and service but we are responsible to give it.

      • Dort

        Wow….you nailed what I feel a bad boss highlighted in me as well. Glad, oddly, that someone else realized this about themselves. I’ve had to be careful to not get focused on my failures too much. Tends to become a bit of an idol then. Thank you for sharing this.

    • Aaron Johnson

       Peter, there is some real wisdom in what you said, “By far the best mindset to have toward a bad boss is compassion.” Any suggestions on how to move towards being compassionate towards a superior who are difficult?

  • Jared White

    Some people go self-employed and do freelancing to get away from “bad bosses” but I can state from personal experience that when you have clients, they’ve hired you and they’re footing the bill so in a sense they’re your boss. Only now you don’t have one boss, you have many — perhaps dozens! I’ve had some great clients and some…not so great clients. And so I can definitely identify what you put in your list Michael. :) I think respecting other people’s time is a huge one from a freelancing perspective. It’s easy to go slowly out of business dealing with an overflow of unpaid overtime on projects… tweaking little things here and there to “make the client happy” …so here’s what I’ve learned about respect and time:

    Proactively communicate in detail what you do in your work.

    That probably applies to the regular employee/boss relationship as well. Don’t just assume people understand the work you do based on results. They’ll think the results came easy, when it could have been extremely difficult. There’s no shame in explaining the difficulty of your efforts! It doesn’t always work, but sometimes I hear back “wow, I had no idea that would be such a challenge!” and consequently I get more respect for time spent on other things down the road.

    • Michael Hyatt

      So true. Everyone has a boss, even CEOs (who have a board).

      • Sudhir Suvarna

        It’s not having a boss that is the problem….When you are self-employed,  there is less likelihood of having a  customer who stands behind your desk, humiliate you in public and do everything that a bad boss does.

  • crunchymama

    I learned that i can live on a lot less money and that the reduced stress from quitting and taking a pay cut for another job can indeed be well worth up abd quitting.

    • Eatyourfeedback


  • Edward Atkins

    I definitely agree with your item #9:  “Tell the truth; then you won’t have to remember what you said”. However, if I may, I’d like to amend that somewhat: I’d add  the word “lie” between “what” and “you”. I believe it’s important to know and remember what it was (truth) that you conveyed to a person on that  previous occasion. But basically your point is well taken and fundamentally sound because it’s efficacious in this busy world of ours.  

  • Mindy @ New Equus

    The best thing I’ve learned from a bad boss is helped me to know when I got a good one! (Same goes for a lot of other areas in life.)

  • Adam Faughn

    The one lesson I learned from a bad leader was to do my best to remain consistent. The problem I had with one superior was that she was great one day and terrible the next. You never knew if it was a “good” day to take something (a joy or a pain) to her. That was utterly frustrating.

  • Ngina Otiende

    I think the worst kind of boss to work for is the two-faced one.

    One minute charming, the next eerily ugly. It’s so exhausting! I used to work for one like that. During that time, I think I came close to understanding why God hates lukewarmness! Forget double faces, just choose one already!

    From this boss i learned

    -Make up your mind who you are

    -Treat your spouse right. If you can’t  treat your closest and dearest well, it speaks volumes about the kind of heart you have.

  • Kenneth Acha

    Another great post Michael. I’ve noticed that I learn more from being refined in fire than I do from good times. A bad boss really helps me grow in patience. It teaches me what not to become like. 

  • Jim Blackwood

    Great advice, and some of my favorite quotes.  But #20 – I cant complain?  Not even to my wife.  Discussing problems at work, especially dealing with occasional outbursts and lack of respect, is therapeutic.  I agree, if the problem is significant or severe, then I should take action and find another job.  But discussing the problems and challenges that I face is a good and necessary thing for everyone to do.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I modified this just a minute to make myself more clear. I really had in mind the kind of gossipy complaining to those who aren’t part of the solution. Thanks.

  • Becky

    When I felt I had to confront him, I learned to be honest even when it was hard. I found that my boss respected me more for my honesty and I got some good practice at delivering the honest truth with respect. Good lessons.

  • Ron Sparks

    This is great, I am inspired to be a better leader and collaborator.  

    I have also learned that it’s important to not talk badly about your boss, it breeds unnecessary hate, and stress even after your gone from the work place, but it can be hard when you have a more sinister boss. 

    Never though of my self as a boss just a leader at times. I think it’s just that ‘boss’ has a negative connotation to it.  

    Great article, I like how you take the bad and leave us readers feeling positive :)

    • John Tiller

      Never though of my self as a boss just a leader at times. I think it’s just that ‘boss’ has a negative connotation to it. ”  …  That’s probably part of what makes you a better leader, Ron! 

  • Coach4him

    I have had the priviledge of working for two “bad” bosses in my lifeftime….one in a church setting another in a non-church setting.   Although I would not want to experience those moments again, I would NOT trade the lessons learned for anything as they have become part of the tapestry of my life and have been instrumental in shaping me into the person I have become. 

     I recall leaving my last job 3 years ago and felt lead to keep it positive.  I simply thanked BOSS #2 for “the many lessons I learned from her while on her staff” …most distilled from the negative way she treated people….the truth spoken in a way that would not be condescending toward her.  Great post!

  • Matthew Reed

    I am a fan of the idea that everyone is either an example or anti-example for us. It eliminates blame of others and puts the impetus on us to do what is right. That’s what this post does. Already I’ve read the list about 5 times.
    As for my lesson learned, “Don’t ever, EVER let gossip exist in any organization that I am a part of.”

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Matthew. You are exactly right. It’s like someone once said, “It’s not what happens to us so much as how we respond to what happens to us.”

  • Jim Stauffer

    This post reminds me of many years ago. A boss I had was caustic and deliberately embarrassed me before my peers. His treatment caused me to reconsider what I was doing with my life. I decided the business we were in did not jibe with my plans and goals in life and changed courses. Eventually left the business and have had the happiest years of my life since.

    • John Tiller

      Great things can come from questioning our direction in life.  Sometimes it takes a “bad boss” to make us uncomfortable enough to initiate the process.   Thanks for sharing!

  • eep86

    2 things:

    Give your people time. (I had a boss that expected things done the moment they were assigned.)

    Learn the technology. (I would get interrupted to fix the same things over and over again.)

  • 1pairofshoes

    Today is my first day as the boss. I have spent a lot of time this past weekend about the qualities of my good and bad managers.  Thank you for making me aware of things that did not cross my mind.

    • John Tiller

      What a great opportunity to have clean slate to make a difference in the lives of others!  Have a great time!

  • RonnieTabor

    I am not sure who to attribute this to, but i learned to look at those challenging bosses as the irritant inside of a clam that creates a pearl.

    • John Tiller

      Good point, Ronnie.  Challenging bosses definitely do refine us!

  • Steve Hawkins

    The biggest lesson I learned from bad bosses:

    Be nice to the people on your way up. They’re the same folks you’ll meet on the way down.

  • Laurie Wallin

    This has been the thing that’s most benefited me with any supervisor or boss I’ve had – whether for paid or volunteer. Thanks for boiling it down to this: “You can learn from anyone.” That’s some life-giving truth!

  • Change Volunteer

    Hi Michael, I came across your website while surfing the internet. I am new to your website but I am hooked on now that I read this article on a bad boss. I have had a bad boss in my previous organisation. A good boss will climb the ladder of success along with his subordinates and not try and pull them down! I liked the content and am happy to subscribe. Keep up the good work. 

    • John Tiller

      Glad you’re here!

      FYI…If you ever need info on leadership, productivity, social media, or publishing just search the topic on the right-hand toolbar and you’re likely to find a great article on what you are looking for. Michael has five years of awesome stuff archived here.

      I hope it’s helpful to you!!

      • Change Volunteer

        Thank you John. I can’t wait to check the rest of the website.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for stopping by and for leaving a comment. I hope you enjoy your subscription.

  • Peter Gowesky

    Wow, this is great!  Thank you for posting this.  I have definitely worked for a bunch of different types of bosses.  I am telling you that when I was in the midst of it, I couldn’t wait to get out from under the horrible boss, but you are right, I learned so much from him.  Frustrating but incredibly fruitful in my life.  It’s one of those things that God used in my life to sift me and bring me to the place that he has me now.  To God be the glory for the great things he has done!

    • Rachel Lance

      Great perspective, Peter!

  • Dawngy

    This article very much resonated with me.  I had a horrible boss for 9 years that really taught me to just do the opposite of whatever she would do!

  • Paul McGuire

    I learned from one bad boss that they are still an important part of the organization. This one was more incompetent, a nice guy but wrong for the position in my opinion. Clearly I was better qualified to lead the team, and I let his boss know it. I was sternly reminded that the “bad boss’ was chosen by the organization to lead my team. By me questioning the credibility of the “bad boss”, I had questioned the decision made by the company. In doing so with my naive, cowboy-like attitude, I severely damaged my own reputation in the company. My time with that company was short lived.

    • Aaron Johnson

      Paul, thanks for being so candid. It would be frustrating to work for someone when you know you could possibly be doing a better job. I would love to see Michael write an article on the whole concept of leading from the bottom up, or injecting leadership into places where there is a bad leader (all without undermining the person’s leadership).

  • Les Dossey

    My .02 cents worth – I love the post and will share it, I love this blog, Michael and his community and I’m not in love with the in-post ads at the beginning of the post.

    Its not a deal killer or anything just takes away from the value of the content…

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for your input, Les. I’m, actually doing it as an experiment for something I want to write about. I’m not in love with them either. I was ready to pull them last night but one of my team members convinced to let them run for a week, so we have good test results.

      • Les Dossey

        Thanks for the heads up, Michael. That should be an interesting post. I look forward to reading about it.

  • jr schmitt

    Thank you for the post, like you, in my career I’ve had worked with two really terrible, close to evil, bosses. I learned valuable lessons that seem to have made your  list. One thing to add, and this lesson was is so critical, that it has stayed with me and shaped how I interact with others:

    “Long after people have forgotten what you said, they will forever remember the way you made them feel.”

    When you have to give feedback or work with a team, remember that you can be kind, respectful even in sharing negative information. Behind the behavior is a person, a child of God. Act accordingly.

    Best, JR Schmitt @cloudspark:disqus 

    • Rachel Lance

      Great thought, JR. We can all do well by remembering your axiom.

  • Erintarr

    <3 <3 <3 this post!  Just got out from under one of these bad bosses.  Reclaiming my life, building my platform and rededicating myself to our family and my health!

  • J. Vincent Nix, PhD

    Three of the most important things I learned from my worst boss ever (over nearly six years):
    1) Integrity is priceless and cannot be recovered once lost
    2) Write it down, in ink.  Using a pencil so that the data can be “adjusted” just isn’t worth the hassle.  I can learn by admitting my mistake, examining the processes that led to it, and moving on.  
    3) Eventually the bad bosses go away; burning up my energy to try and “precipitate” that change is wasted effort.  Focus the energy on doing the best I can do.

  • Patty Azzarello

    I always say that “you can’t get the job without the experience, but you can get the experience without the job”.  In my career, working for bad bosses let me rack up experience at the next level (covering for them), so it was easy to advance to the next level because I had a ton of experience — even thoughtI didn’t have the title on my resume.

    Also, as you write, you can learn a lot about how you Don’t want to be as a leader when you endure a bad, disrespectful and dysfunctional boss.

    Intentional leadership is about deciding what kind of leader you want to be and then behaving that way on purpose. Bad examples help a much as good ones!

    thanks for a great article.

  • Kapil Sopory

    If we start with an assumption ” The boss is always right”, we shall take steps to match boss’s expectations. If we  don’t do that we will remain tense and, more often than not, find faults with our environment (which includes the boss) and blame it for our failures. Let’s understand that the boss has also to meet demands of his superiors and for fulfilling these we are also the medium… hence his expectations and annoyance when these are not met. To a great extent empathy helps.
    Every boss has his whims and fancies. I have worked with a boss who would commence his meetings with his executive team when it was office closing time and he would go on till late, This was a routine. People feared him for his fault-finding acumen was strong. Therefore, people would quietly succumb to his working style.
    Not finding myself comfortable with such late sitting, I would complete all my jobs before leaving at the normal closing time. At one stage, a peer told that the boss expressed unhappiness with those leaving early. Soon after I sought an interview with the boss – who was demonised by most- and frankly inquired whether he had any problems with the quality of my performance (with which he was totally satisfied and had expressed this from time to time) 
    and the need of my sitting late without any specific matter/issue for me. He shot back,” I mostly detain the non-performers and you don’t fit in that category. You can carry on unless there is a demand and when you are put on notice for the same.”  I thanked and walked off considering this boss as ok for me at least.  I had no problem with him and would, in my heart, pity those who used to brand him as a villain.
    My experience is that we get what we desire. If we continue with negative thoughts, we cannot expect happiness and peace. Once blame games starts, there is no end. It is well said that if we enter into heated arguments with rough arrogant madcaps, those watching will not be able to discern who of the two is really mad. Hence, patience and caution is recommended.
    Yes, if there arises a stage when no reconciliation is possible, one should plan to quit out of the organisation as early as possible.

  • Chris Gigliotti

    “low-grade headache” – love it.

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  • CarmenWilkes

    I learned from a bad leader to check out who they really are and not to follow blindly what they say to do. I also learned to pay attention to my intuition, when something seems to be wrong even if I don’t know what that is,there usually is a something wrong. I am learning to slow down and pay attention.
    I love the list and will use it with my children.  

  • Richard

    One thing that I have learned is don’t throw out the baby with the bath water. We have had several bad bosses that made drastic changes to some good policies and nearly crippled the company. He lost lots of good people because of his huge ego. Everything was bad unless he thought of it. He was a book of the month guy, read a book implement. Read a new book and start over.

  • Jason3ng

    Talents will not leave their work, but they will not hesitate to leave incompetent and insensitive personality.. so called their ‘boss’ for the time being.

  • Mimi Jenkins

    This is so true.  Out of all the bosses I have had, only one sticks out like a sore thumb and that is because I was singled out and called a failure.  No matter how hard I tried, it was never enough.  I was once told by him that everyone can be replaced. 

    Fortunately for me, I treat people with respect, keep my mouth to myself, and even if it is not in my job description, I do it anyway.  In order to make things work on my present job, I always remind myself that I am working for GOD!

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  • Jason Beck

    Super quick typo fix – you have fixed in the e-mail version, which is probably a relief :)

    “If you have to can’t keep from complaining”

    Thanks for this! If only the bad bosses were looking for ways to get better and would read articles like this…

    • Michael Hyatt

      Good catch. Thanks. I have fixed it.

  • Prati

    I agree with each and every word here. Hyatt rocks!!

  • Alex Mwega

    I’ve learnt a lot from my boss (who falls under this category) and most memorable is always double check everything, be sure of anything you say (it can and will be used against you) and most of all excellence and covering all the angles helps keep you out of trouble (even though it won’t be acknowledged)

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  • Art

    Going through this situation over the past 5 years.  On the twenty lessons:  right on, Michael!

  • ThatGuyKC

    I don’t know if one of my former bosses was “bad” per se, but she was really tough. I learned the value of attention to detail and realistic expectations of others.

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  • CrisDaos ACN

    about my last boss, that was very bad.. I learned the kind of person I don’t want to be.

  • Andy Rose

    This is one of the first things I learned about leadership in the Marines.  Following bad bosses can get you hurt or killed in that setting.  But if you stick with your team, do your part, eventually the bad ones get weeded out.

  • aileenp

    I had several bad bosses, yet one deserves a trophy.  That horrible boss about sucked the life out me.  The positive about that experience was that it really made me think about what I wanted to be when I grew up.  Had I not hit rock bottom professionally, I would have never worked my way to a satisfying career.

  • Kelby

    The past few days I’ve learned always go directly to your boss.  Never try to work around the system, even though you might think its the right thing.  

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  • Guest

    At my last job I had a horrible boss who made it seem like her job was to make everyone’s life a living hell there. There were 6 of us long-time employees that ended up quitting because upper management would not do anything. Now I am at a new company (same field) and just found out my new supervisor is the same woman…how did I ever get so lucky?!

  • Iaincats

    I’m struggling with the 3rd controller on the bounce. I’ve fled the otehr two but belatedly have concluded God is trying to teach me something. Anyone any ideas? Thanks

  • Agustin

    Ekaka, I was at my wit’s end with trying to get my boyfriend to commit to our relationship fully. I had tried everything I knew, but what I DIDN’T know was that all I had to do was come to you and with your blessings and special magic powers, I wouldn’t have to do all the work at all. I got my life and my love back and now all in my life is balanced and happy again. You do a great service to people, and I don’t think many people as should know about you. Your talented and give of yourself so freely like you did to me. Thank you for weaving your magic love spells for me and Rick. It’s back to just the way it was when we first met, and we’re coming up on our fourth anniversary now!

  • Talbot

    Dear Antogai,
    I am writing to offer my thanks and deep gratitude to you to keeping my true love Ben and I together during his time in Iraq. He just never stopped thinking about me, because I got letters almost EVERY DAY, which is very unusual; he is in a high-tactical area. I was so afraid he would stay, being on his second tour, but he has NOT. He has stayed true to me because of the spells you cast on him. you are powerful Magic Works!!! All my devotion,

  • Dhaifullah Alkhaldi

    My boss once said, “Your boss comes 1st” and I said ” My customer comes 1st” 
    Then he said ” If you serve your boss he will fight for you, and if you serve your customer he will say thanks”
    and I said ” if I serve my customer he will come again and if I serve my boss he will take me with him”
    little after that, he was terminated and I still here.

  • Dad41

    I currently work for a university in Western Pa. My boss is a well connect raging alcoholic. Erratic work attendance and behavior coupled with mood swings, the constant odor or alcohol (possible consumption at work) as well as inaudible calls from his home. After processing the fact that no matter what he does he will never be reprimanded or held accountable for his actions I have found that the only way to remain sane is to make sure that HIS superiors see me in the best possible light, that way when my boss and I have our quarterly blowout, management sees me as a valuable asset and don’t automatically take my bosses side.

    Keep marching

  • osas jonah

    He will not call nor come and visit me,and when i see him i will continue to complain and don’t have my time and when  i ask him if i offend him,he will say no and i don’t know why he keep on doing this to me. I love him so much that i cant let him go or lose him for another girl, i always cry both day and night.I will still go to him and apologize,the problem i was having with him over some month ago is that he don’t pick my calls and don’t want to see me,he will go around telling people that i am pest to his life,and also tell them to tell me that he don’t love me again.And this is a man that we have have been dating for over three years and now he thorn me down,but i give glory to who find in this forum and he was faithful and able to solve my problem for me.Now i am happy he his back to me and he treated me like a baby.

  • Matthew

    I am currently working for a bad boss. The thing that frustrates me most is that he realizes and admitts he’s a bad boss however it keeps getting worst. He’s rarely in the office and when he is he’s mostly in a bad mood. I haven’t spoken to him directly for several weeks now. Hopefully I can turn this negative environment into a positive one. Thanks for the article.  

  • Heidi Bender

    I’ve learned that we should not let a bad boss be an excuse for being a bad employee. We are still responsible for our work and actions even when the boss is sub par. 

  • juliusz123

    I work for the company as a maintenance supervisor ( salary position). I work from 7am – 3pm. Every day I am comming to work at 6 am to prepare works for my team. I am not getting pay extra for my additional time. When on ocasion I am telling him that I am leaving 1 or two hours early he is telling me that I can’t. Recently I needed go to the doctor one our early and he told me no advising that I should find the doctor in the evening hours. Please advice what should I do?

    • John Tiller

      Some bosses can only help you learn what NOT to do as a leader.  If you can’t live with his management style, it may be time to find another boss.  

  • nini

    A “bad boss” can take away from your learning experience and create undue anxiety. Next thing you know you’re so focused on how terrible the boss is, you forget what you love so much about your work. So focus on your passion, performance, and do your best. If it’s not good enough, then consider moving on. If you are not in a position to leave right away, develop coping skills to reduce associated stress.

  • mi

    The thing I learnt from a bad boss is to stand up for yourself. In one company I used to work in, this individual (being in the position of power) felt the need to take advantage of me, blame you for errors they themselves had made just to make themselves look good to senior managers/bosses – in other words they are bullies. Its often a reflection of an insecure personality and believe me, when you confront them about the ‘truth’ perhaps in a meeting organised by yourself in the presence of senior staff (maybe a company director), they feel trapped. Yes you learn alot from the experience.

  • Lana

    Hi Michael…asking a perspective from you. I reached here looking for articles on bad bosses. My boss on the surface shows a lot of compassion on the personal front but is very cold and nasty when it comes to work-a blow hot blow cold personality.. She rarely ever gives me decent work for what I am trained to do but extra stuff that she finds bothersome to do. I have colleagues who feel bad for me and say she wouldn’t dare give me these things to do. This is a customer service job so I basically don’t have to do “her” stuff  but I am fairly new here. If I do get a phone call that I would process work from she double checks it and loudly brings forth all that she thinks are errors and everyone gets to hear of them. It’s almost like she enjoys demoralizing me..I have even shown her that others do the same errors but why are only mine picked upon. she just tells me o k I’ll let them know.  I am by nature very polite and quiet..most in my office are loud and outspoken.I dread going there and am withdrawing even more. I’ve always had fantastic bosses but I need this job only because it saves money for after care for my son. It’s part-time and pays decent, of late she has asked me drop brochures off at different offices while I am happy to be out of office that is just not what my job profile is. I don’t know if I will find something with these timings at the same time although desperate I can’t quit and stay at home. 

    • Michael Hyatt

      What would you do if you were brave?

      • Lana

        If I were brave I’d leave because I have tried confronting her and she has always rushed through a meeting and it’s then the same behavior again…also because we really don’t have any private offices it is an open office floor. A little printer room is where we can talk. I need a miracle right now an alternate job with similar timings or virtual. The way the job situation is today leaving without another job is what I am more afraid of and I guess my boss knows that too.

  • Sudhir Suvarna

    I am as good as my manager

  • Emil Radkov

    I have left the job because there were relatives staffs ………….

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  • mastedon2

    My boss is a sole proprietor who has figured out that no common marketplace situation in terms of valuing skills or qualifications have to be supported. He has turned this company into bizarro world, never any reviews, promotes people who have talents that he can get his personal agendas met with (i.e. shop guy turns operations manager at 68K/yr, because he can work on classic cars, and the owner has several. This guy now spends 40% of company time working on those cars.
    After 17yrs here, under this new owner, my career is dead in the water now. He knows nothing about computers, so when I rebuild his server to get eight people up and running again, I dont even get a thanks. Did I mention that I was hired for engineering drafting and design? yeah, thats how bad it is.

    • mastedon2

      He did away with an HR dept. Incidently, he let his shop guy turned operations manager be his defensive line against all us underlings trying to “pick his pockets for nothing”..
      This is the absolute worst situation, when you work for a guy that does not know what you do, nor does he care what you do, because it would mean a higher salary if he validated it. It gets to a point that you are being economically controlled, and almost NEED to work there, especially in an economy like this horrible one under obama.

  • desperate life

    Having a really bad incompetent boss & an irresponsible , controlling etc husband is personal suicide. No physical separation can free me totally of the latter but I am getting the hell away from the former. its not worth anyones mental health!

  • Cynthia

    I’m learning that I should not complain about my boss. She’s very vindictive and evil. She always comes to me later an apologize and cry crocodile tears and explain to me that she has a lot going on in her life. So I don’t want to miss an opportunity to demonstrate God’s love.she always ask me to not tell anyone. I think of what they did to Jesus. So keep me and my boss in your prayers. She is 70y/o and I am 61y/o and I need my job. Thank you for listening.

  • mastedon2

    I handle IT for twelve very out dated and out moded users. None show any proficiency with a computer outside of turning it on, and calling me when something doesnt go normally.
    I also handle the engineering and design work for this and two sister companies overseas. This was what I was initially hired to do. My boss, a “sole proprietor” has conveniently done away with annual reviews completely. That way he can decide what a job is worth, and if you want more pay, you have to go into his office and sell yourself again. He promoted one shop production worker to operations manager, and now that guy has a super-narcissistic ego, and knows everything about everything. He is given audience by the owner to dismiss the value of my job functions, though he knows absolutely nothing about any of it. But it meets the fiscal needs of the owner, by having a parrot to deny value when it is to be denied.
    You guys dont know shit about a bad boss.

  • Saffy

    My boss is totally uneducated and slept her way to the top, she a real saddo with a crap personal life. I’ve learnt nothing from her except not to be anything like her. But that is just so negative. Luckily I now have access to the big boss and I’m going to impress him by doing good work and being so perfect. I think this is beginning to work, its a long term strategy, although I do think its sad i am going to work to play games but she started it, she can reap what she sows.

  • NaN

    Excellent but too short article. I have learned the most from the bad ones–thanks for pointing that out. I too think more managers (who need to earn the title of leader) need to hire well, then trust. Time after time people are hired for their talents, then immediately have their professional experience-based opinions ignored in favor of those of less experienced employees based upon personal friendships and worse.
    What I’ve learned very well is that manager != leader

  • Jacksaid

    I learned that I hated them and was glad when they were transferred out.

  • ks

    Being honest to oneself is enough no need to prove it for any one including boss

  • kk

    yeh I have quit too because a bad boss, but the funny thing is I can say that I have ever had a good one.

  • Das

    Great article I’ve had the misfortune of horrible bosses. My takeaways

    1. Don’t micromanage that is a cardinal sin.
    2. Don’t insist employees meet outside of normal business hours to discuss performance or for 1 on 1

    3. Get rid of stupid one on ones they are waste of time
    4. Get rid of stacked rate performance reviews
    5. Provide strategic guidance to new employees don’t throw them in the deep end then expect them to figure things out. We are not mind readers!
    6. Please speak English in the American workplace not Telagu not Mandarin, ENGLISH. It is especially rude racist behavior to do this in front of American employees who do not speak these languages.

    • Love

      What about Americans who go to China and India and snicker in heavily accented English with their employees least for their ears. It works both ways…your name is Indian correct? Are you Bengali American? If you join a company knowing that there are there are more than 2 similar culture people who work in a country outside their native country best way to avoid these situations is to leave because there is a bonding with language unfortunately. It may be rude but for them it’s home away. Like where I get my nails done ..its a Korean establishment ..all I understand is “Pik a colah” and nothing else. But its all meshed in the fabric of what makes this country or the world spin.

  • Steelergal33

    My boss will make a speech on policy then 2 month take it back even after you show it to her from a memo she generated