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  • Writer's pictureDavid A. Schneider

Signs Of A Bad Boss

Updated: Aug 30, 2020


What could possibly be worse sign than a boss who does not know how to run the business?

Answer: A vicious boss who does not know how to run the business.



In the corporate world, having a bad boss is all too common.

Unfortunately there are many people out there with some kind of inner personal pain, hurt feelings, who have not received enough love when they were a child from their parents or similar scenarios.

And some of them are very smart and climb the career ladder very high and become just one of those bad bosses.

Such people often have very good social skills, they know how to manipulate, how to tear others down and how to present themselves in a good light.

Sure, all of this will help you in a corporate environment.



Studies have shown that every 1 out of 5 corporate executives can be declared a psychopath, from a psychological perspective in the sense that he has no condolence or does not care about the people around him.

That is the same ratio as with inmates of an average prison!

signs of a bad boss
The number of psychopaths among corporate executives is as high as in an average prison.

A reason for this shocking number might be that many traits of psychopaths like having no mercy with other human beings, or narcism are very helpful in moving up the corporate ladder in most cases.

Sad but true.


Some of these managers also tend to govern the business like a cult, forming it around their own personality.

Their view of the world is the right view of the world. Their words are the law.

As long as you are doing whatever you are told and accept their leadership, you will be fine.

But don’t try to think for yourself or question their leadership for a second, you will set yourself up for trouble!


Add to this already problematic behaviour that many employees will say yes to anything the bad boss wants from them, in order to be likeable in his eyes or because they fear to be fired. This type of “yes sayers” exists in every company and if there is a narcissistic boss he will very probably surround himself with a lot of them, saying yes to everything he wants and thereby strengthen his position.



You are less likely to criticize if you not only have to criticize your boss himself, but also a small army of people around him who will always be in total alignment with whatever he says or does.

The more of these yes-sayers the guy on top can find, the harder it will be to criticize or much less attack him. And of course, the yes-sayers will be the one most often recommended for promotions and taking on further responsibilities.


This tactic forms unconsciously a kind of peer pressure, after all who would like to stand alone against a crowd?

The FBI or CIA uses the same techniques in their interrogations, when there is 1 person to be questioned by the authorities against 3 or 4 officers in the room.

Just the mere presence of 4 officers against 1 creates subconscious pressure in the victim.



Jim Rohn put it this way: if you want to have the tallest house in town you have two options. Option one, which is the far easier one, is to burn down every house that is taller than yours.


And this is the path most of these bad managers chose.

Some bad bosses even take it one step further to keep the full control, they make use of an ancient principle that the ancient Romans already used: divide et impera.



How did ancient Rome in the beginning as a small state achieve to conquer most of the known world at that time, when there were a hundred times more other nations and cultures which they subdued, enslaved and used as soldiers for their armies?

Had they all united against Rome, they would simply have overrun them. Rome would not have stood a chance against the sheer mass of people against them.



So the ancient Romans were smart, and developed divide et impera, or in our language “divide and govern”.


It worked like this:

They made sure that one of their colonies was doing fantastic: roads and cities were built, baths and hygiene were introduced to the locals, hardly anyone had to serve in the military and no one was enslaved.


While their neighbouring colony had a totally different treatment: The houses and farms of the locals were burnt down or destroyed completely, all men had to serve in the military, the woman were often sold as slaves and raped by the Roman soldiers, those who remained in the cities had to pay more taxes than they earned, and the resources of the colony were exploited and sent to Rome while the locals were left with nothing.



By treating every colony fundamentally different, they could never unite against Rome.

Why Should they, if in one colony life was great while in others it was like living in hell?

signs of a bad boss

This tactic still works today, and it is used very effectively in corporate environments.

A boss with such intentions will probably treat one department nicely and with great care, while the other one will face budget cuts and tasks that seem impossible, only to be shouted at afterwards for not fulfilling the task.


Divide et impera can even be used for smaller groups like individual employees: a vicious boss might treat one person in the office like his own child, while the other one gets only shouted at and blamed if something goes wrong.

It not only destroys positive attitudes and atmospheres at the workplace, it also dramatically hinders good performance for the business.


Very often a vicious circle is formed when such a manager is in place that will destroy the long-term performance of the company, and cause every good employee to leave over time. If you find yourself in such a situation and want to move forward in your career, there is unfortunately little you can do about it except to look for a new job as quickly as you can.



Another common sign of a bad boss is that he takes praise for himself, while blaming others instantly as soon as everything goes wrong.

Jim Collin also writes in his books about this behaviour in his books, saying that a good boss will always look out of the window when something goes right, while looking in the mirror when something goes wrong.

In contrast, a bad boss will look in the mirror when things go right while looking out of the window when things go wrong.



Ultimately, one person in a high position can bring even the best and strongest companies down.

Likewise, one of these persons is also enough to block your own career or your advancement as a person.



Therefore if you just recognized many of these mentioned qualities in your own workplace, it might be time to pack your things and move on. For the sake of your mental health, your money, your career and ultimately our peace of mind.

When you work for a bad boss, there is usally not much room to grow.


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