5 Traits of Bad Bosses

By David S. Chang

bad boss

Face it, we all have had bad bosses or seen what a bad boss looks like. Nothing can destroy company morale and culture as a bad boss, it’s contagious. For those of you that have watched the cult-classic Office Space, a bad boss can be a micromanager that only cares about pointless tasks, or a bad boss can be one that has two levels of communication, screaming or berating. I have seen it all! A good boss that is effective and efficient can make the world of a difference in an organization’s success. Here are traits of a bad boss, if you are in a leadership position, be self-aware to make sure you don’t have them!

  1. Cocky and Arrogant. Being confident is good, nobody wants to follow people who are unsure of themselves, but being cocky is not. People who are overly cocky rarely listen to anyone but themselves, which is a recipe for disaster. Good leaders surround themselves with smarter people and listen to other viewpoints in order to make smarter decisions. Arrogant bosses can create a culture of “them vs me” where people in the same company are pitted against one another. A spirit of team cooperation takes a company much further than individual heroes looking for credit. Sometimes cockiness can be mask for insecurity, which makes the situation even worse. It’s ok to not know everything, it’s not ok to pretend to and bring the ship down because of one’s pride.
  2. Poor communication skills. This can mean a boss that just screams and swears every other word, or a boss that doesn’t communicate at all. When there is open communication from management, it instill trust and respect. Predicatibility is important for an organization’s morale. Imagine going to work not knowing everyday if you will have a job or not, or if the company will still be in business. In addition, good constructive feedback is crucial for personal and professional growth for employees. The best way to grow an organization is growing its employees. Without any constant and clear communication on what is going right or going wrong, there can be no adjustments made to improve.
  3. Lack of Respect. This involves throwing people under the bus, showing no compassion or empathy, and blaming others at every and any opportunity. The Golden Rule holds true “Treat others as you want to be treated.” When there is no respect, there is no loyalty, when there is no loyalty, there is a culture of  back-stabbing and in worst cases, betrayal for personal benefit. Relationships suffer which hurts morale. With proper respect for everyone in the organization, people will feel valued and in turn perform better.
  4. Micromanage. A boss that micromanages means there is little trust or faith that things can get done properly. Then the organization can’t grow beyond its boss since this person attempts to control everything. Micromanaging either means the employees don’t understand the vision and are motivated, or a boss is unable to let go and may be insecure of what is going on. Good bosses are able to delegate and give room for people to use their strengths to grow the organization. You want to trust, but also verify. It’s ok to hold people accountable, in fact it is necessary to keep an organization moving forward. But micromanaging will subtly tell people their opinions don’t matter.
  5. Undisciplined. If a boss is changing a plan or company rules every day, the unpredictability will stunt any progress. A good boss will plan carefully, not let emotions get in the way of decision making, and stick to a plan that everyone understands. It is important to change things when needed, but it should be done with great thought. A good boss will take the time to communicate expectations, make the tough choices, hold be accountable, and make sure they are tune with an organization’s morale. All of this isn’t easy, it takes discipline and hard work. But this is why the difference between a good boss and bad boss can make a world of a difference!


David S. Chang

Award-Winning Entrepreneur, Wealth Manager and CEO | Chief Editor, Author, Keynote Speaker, Consultant ArtofThinkingSmart.com | Political Consultant | Army Officer National Guard | Living To Fulfill Needs, Solve Problems, and Live Passionately!


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