7 Signs You May Be A Bad Boss

One of my favorite films is “The Devil Wears Prada” (2006) starring Meryl Streep. She portrays Miranda Priestly, the editor-in-chief of fictional Runway Magazine. Fierce fashion aside, what made this film a hit were the snarky comments and witty banter between Miranda and her assistant Andy. In the film, Miranda is the epitome of a bad boss. She belittles, admonishes and even calls Andy by the wrong name. Not to mention her sharp dismissal, “That’s all!”

Admittedly there is something cool, powerful and enviable about Miranda. She’s a chic girl boss who knows her stuff. However, in the real world Miranda is anything but a dream boss. It’s okay to covet her style, but ditch her personality!

“In a newly released Randstad US survey of 763 adults, bad bosses, unhealthy office politics, and feeling unvalued and disrespected were top reasons given of why employees quit, or were currently considering it.” — Ladders.com

Most of us have encountered a bad boss in our career. You know that man or woman with a volatile temper who was a terror in the office, yet somehow routinely received accolades or promotions. Yeah, them!

Well, one of the perks (to a certain extent) of being an entrepreneur is being your own boss. You get to set the tone for the office environment and dictate the work atmosphere. If you’re smart, you want your team to respect, not fear or hate you.

Think of employees as customers. Their satisfaction is important to the success of your business. With sites such as Glassdoor making it easy to give job seekers the 411 on a company, you have to be just as attentive to them as your paying customers.

The saying “You can attract more flies with honey than vinegar” is true for entrepreneurs too. If you have a reputation for being a competent, fair and rational leader, you will attract good employees and build a loyal team.

Just in case you’re not sure what a bad boss looks like, here are 7 characteristics that might be an indicator you need a leadership makeover:


Giving employees the opportunity to excel will build trust and loyalty. Avoid monitoring everything they do without provocation. Remember, you hired them so there must be qualities about them and their work that impressed you.

Doesn’t Give Praise

Praising employees for their accomplishments and taking initiative will build their confidence as well as build morale. Everyone wants to know that what they are doing is appreciated. Don’t forget to reward your team for a job well done.

Shows Favorites

Showing favoritism to some employees over the other is bad business and it’s a major hit to team morale. If there is an impression that you prefer some employees over others, it can lead to a tense office environment, not to mention a legal situation under certain circumstances. If an employee needs to step up their game, have a courageous conversation with them that explains your expectations and make sure you have equipped them with the tools to succeed.

Lacks Emotional Intelligence

Behavior that makes others question your maturity such as talking behind your employees’ backs or sabotaging their work, is unprofessional and childish. It is also an indicator that you have low emotional intelligence. Take a quiz to see where you rank in emotional intelligence. It might also be great to share with your employees so that they can see where they rank.

Taking Unfair Credit

Taking credit for your employees’ work is a sure way to lose their trust. Part of your role as a leader is to uplift and encourage your team. If they believe that their work will go unrecognized, or worse yet, stolen by their boss, they will eventually quit and spread the word about your tactics.

Being A Hypocrit

Please practice what you preach. When you run a business, you are setting standards that you want your team to emulate. If you are flaky and inconsistent in your work, their actions will follow suit. Be a walking testament to your brand philosophy because authenticity is key, inside and outside your company.

A Rolling Stone

Be present for your people, whether its listening to their concerns during a one-on-one session or supporting them through a late-night deadline. Let them know that you are there to answer questions or be their cheerleader. If you become known as an absentee boss, your team may feel abandoned in the office and you might be left alone in your business.

Artwork by Alejandro Mogollo

By Mignon Gould

Mignon has been an online publisher and content strategist for more than a decade. Her work has been featured in myriad publications including TeenVogue.com and Forbes.com. Mignon enjoys working with fellow entrepreneurs and supporting them to launch and grow their businesses. Her faves include French macarons, embellished flats and film fashion.

2 thoughts on “7 Signs You May Be A Bad Boss

  • Robin Bramman

    Love your posts and all your Bosslady wisdom.

    • Mignon Gould

      Thanks so much @robinbramman! I’m glad that you enjoyed it and I look forward to reading your upcoming article! 🙂

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