• Articles
  • February 17, 2021
  • Gareth Morris

6 warning signs to spot a nightmare boss


Seeing as many of us spend most of our lives at work, it’s important that you have sufficient job satisfaction and enjoy the time that you spend in the office. Everyone has bad days at work, and everyone gets slightly stressed from time to time; that’s all part and parcel of working hard and being busy. However, when things start to get on top of you and you’re having more bad days than good, it might be time for you to reassess where you’re at and if a change in role might be on the horizon.

But why is it that you’re not feeling the same about the job you’re in? Is it the workload, or the commute? Is it the salary, or the lack of opportunity for progression? Whatever it is, there’s one thing you need to be wary of; a nightmare boss.

You might have heard the old phrase “people don’t leave jobs, they leave bosses”. I have worked in recruitment for a very long time, and I have to say; 9 times out of 10, this phrase is true. If you find yourself going to work and feeling under pressure, stressed or unable to work properly because of your boss, something is definitely not right.

Here’s 6 signs to look out for:

  1. Your work-life balance isn’t right

One sign of a good leader is when they encourage employees and colleagues to find a balance between work and home life. Health and wellbeing should be a priority to everyone, and good leaders should definitely be promoting this in the workplace. So, if you find your boss is constantly asking you to stay late, come in early or work hours that you simply shouldn’t have to, this shows that they have little interest in your work-life balance, which is a definite red flag.

  1. Your boss takes credit for the work you’ve done

Part of working in a team involves supporting and encouraging one another, as well as respecting each other’s space and the need to focus and concentrate on certain complex tasks. However, if your boss tends to kick back and relax while you’re working, then take credit for the end result, this is certainly a warning sign – don’t let anyone reap the benefits of the hard work that you do. Especially not your boss.

  1. Your boss doesn’t treat you with respect

We should all know how to act appropriately at work, whether it’s in a meeting, on the phone, via email or chatting to our colleagues at lunch time. However, if you have noticed that your boss doesn’t act appropriately at work and behave professionally, this is ultimately a lack of respect they are showing for you. If you feel like you are just a number to your boss, or they tend to criticise you in public, beware – this is definitely not best practice when it comes to leadership.

  1. Your boss isn’t approachable

A good leader must be approachable on both a professional and a personal level. If you have a question or an issue about a task or a piece of work, you should be able to speak to them about it. Similarly, if something is happening outside of work that you need to talk about, your boss should be the first person you turn to. However, if you feel like you can’t approach your boss with anything, whether it’s work-related or not, there’s definitely a problem.

  1. Your boss doesn’t praise you

All good leaders know how to keep their colleagues happy – give credit where credit’s due, give recognition and rewards to people working noticeably hard, and give guidance to anyone who needs it. Most of all, bosses should treat everyone equally and fairly. If you find that your boss never gives you any recognition for all the work you’ve done or the extra hours you’ve put in, but they’re quick to criticise you at any opportunity – this is not a good sign.

  1. All of the above apply to your boss

It’s bad enough if one of these points sounds familiar, but if all of the above apply to your boss, the issues certainly need to be addressed. You have one of two options; 1) speak to your boss about the problems you’re experiencing and try to resolve them, or 2) look for a new job. The choice is completely up to you; if you’re going to speak to your boss, it may be worth getting someone from HR or another staff member in the meeting with you. Whatever it is you decide to do, make sure it’s a decision you’re comfortable with.


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