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11 signs of bad managers who think they’re doing a wonderful job

Step one: Identify the type of terrible boss you have. Step two: Start to make some changes.

Growing up, any time I imagined what my work environment would be like, I always focused on myself. Would I be a writer? A teacher? An astronaut? Never once did I pause to wonder how my boss would be, let alone think of the possibility of a bad manager.

My first steps into the working world quickly shattered the wonderful illusion of positivity and collaboration I had naively built for myself. Instead of simple stresses over my work, I was introduced to the stresses of managing the temperaments of superiors.

Since then, I’ve had the fortune and misfortune of experiencing a wide spectrum of managers. From shitty to absolutely wonderful, I’m grudgingly thankful to each for their valuable takeaways.

1. Micromanaging every single thing you do

A brown-skinned woman with straight black hair is dressed in a black top. She tilts her head to one side, gestures to herself and says "But my way is the best way!"
[Image description: A brown-skinned woman with straight black hair is dressed in a black top. She tilts her head to one side, gestures to herself and says “But my way is the best way!”] Via Tenor
The only message this sends is you aren’t trusted to do your job, and they’d rather waste their time and yours by watching over your shoulder. Ultimately, this is harmful as your confidence will be affected.

2. Scatter-brained in more ways than one

A cartoon clip shows a group of yellow-skinned men standing around an older man and a child. The old man looks down at the boy and says "Letter? I don't recall..."
[Image description: A cartoon clip shows a group of yellow-skinned men standing around an older man and a child. The old man looks down at the boy and says “Letter? I don’t recall…”] Via GIPHY
No one is perfect, and because we’re human, we aren’t always putting our best foot forward. Things slip notice and tasks are sometimes forgotten. Sometimes being the keyword.

If you’re finding yourself repeatedly following up, reminding, and practically chasing your supervisor regarding projects and meetings then you’ve got yourself a bad manager.

3. No matter the situation, they’re quick to criticize

An animated clips shows two simple characters. One is dressed in a white shirt and trousers. He holds a pile of papers which he then, while yelling, slams onto the other person's desk, shocking him.
[Image description: An animated clip shows two characters. One is dressed in a white shirt and trousers. He holds a pile of papers which he then, while yelling, slams onto the other person’s desk, shocking him.] Via Tenor
We all mess up. A meeting with your manager at this point is expected. Perhaps even welcomed.

However, how this situation is handled speaks volumes. Behind closed doors with open and calm discourse is healthy. Out in the open, in front of other colleagues, and perhaps even customers, with a finger wagging in your face and raised voices – not so much.

4. Giving no praise, even when it’s due

A blond man in a suit says "You're awesome."
[Image description: A blond man in a suit says “You’re awesome.”] Via Pinterest
Positive reinforcement has proven to improve and sustain strong employee performances. Feeling unappreciated and invisible does the opposite. A good manager ought to know this and simple, sincere feedback such as “Good job!”, “Well done!”, and “Great work!” go a long way.

5. Their time > your time

It is 3:13 AM. A blonde woman sits at home in a purple, long-sleeved top. She is overwhelmed and panicking as she stares at the laptop in front of her, grabbing her hair.
[Image description: It is 3:13 AM. A blonde woman sits at home in a purple, long-sleeved top. She is overwhelmed and panicking as she stares at the laptop in front of her, grabbing her hair.] Via Tenor
You’re working according to their schedule rather than yours. Working overtime is an expectation as is the assumption that you’re available 24/7 – that’s a bad sign.

6. Letting the office know who their favorite is

A blond, male, air steward smiles down at a passenger and says "You're my favorite", before shooting a disgruntled expression at another passenger.
[Image description: A blond, male, air steward smiles down at a passenger and says “You’re my favorite”, before shooting a disgruntled expression at another passenger.] Via GIPHY
Whether you’re the favorite or your colleague is, it’s an unfair situation either way because someone is losing out while the other takes all the wins.

7. Closed off to any suggestions

A black-haired, brown-skinned man in a black button-down is holding a mic. He points to his ear and shakes his hand, implying he cannot hear.
[Image description: A black-haired, brown-skinned man in a black button-down is holding a mic. He points to his ear and shakes his hand, implying he cannot hear.] Via Tenor
They refuse to acknowledge feedback and find it threatening. Or worse, they’re indifferent and brush it off, which shows a lack of respect.

8. Full of false promises for your career

A blonde, white woman bends down to a mic and says "That is false." She is dressed in a white-knit top.
[Image description: A blonde, white woman bends down to a mic and says “That is false.” She is dressed in a white knit top.] Via GIPHY
A dirty trick some employers use is baiting you with promises of promotions and raises that they have zero intention of fulfilling. It’s even worse when you’re being underpaid or made to believe you don’t deserve more. This leaves your career, and professional worth, damaged and stagnant.

9. Unrealistic expectations that never change

In a cartoon clip, an old yellow woman speaks to a younger yellow man as he bags her groceries. She says "I want everything in one bag, but I don't want the bag to be heavy."
[Image description: In a cartoon clip, an old yellow woman speaks to a younger yellow man as he bags her groceries. She says “I want everything in one bag, but I don’t want the bag to be heavy.”] Via Tenor
Emails come flying in the day after a project is assigned, demanding its submission. When the tables are turned, they won’t even bother responding to you. “It’ll be done when it’s done.”

10. A complete and total lack of etiquette

An old white woman with white hair says "Please bore someone else with your questions."
[Image description: An old white woman with white hair says “Please bore someone else with your questions.”] Via GIPHY
Actions speak louder than words, but sometimes words say enough to get you running out the door. I had a meeting once start off with a manager badmouthing his previous employees, going as far as insulting their upbringing. Such a show of zero accountability is quite telling of a person’s managerial skills.

11. Emotions steer their every decision

A blond man in a suit aggressively yells "Do you understand me?" as he points his finger.
[Image description: A blond man in a suit aggressively yells “Do you understand me?” as he jabs his finger.] Via Tenor
Any leadership role requires a calm temperament. A bad manager, on the other hand, is susceptible to knee-jerk emotional reactions. Not only does this spell trouble for their subordinates but also the business.

A bad manager, then, can take quite a toll on an employee as their shitty practices would be quick to turn any job into a cesspool of hate, not only messing up your personal life with its toxicity but also messing up your career growth.

Keep an eye out for these traits from the get-go to save yourself a world of trouble down the line.