Waking up the beast in your boss! 9 ways employees make a boss, bad!

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Have you noticed if your ever-supportive boss, an “epitome of a true leader” has lately been bulldozing her/his opinions on you, turned lousy and aloof? Before you decide to flee from the company, it is satiating to know the reasons for your boss’s change in behavior. Quite possibly it is because you just stirred up the beast in your boss and did not even realize when the beast woke up!

It is sad that an overwhelming number of stories published on bad bosses do not depict the actualities at work. Simply because they do not reflect the two sides of the story! The employee-angle!

Since forever, we’ve been ingraining our brains with the narrative of horrible bosses and ruined careers! But are all the bosses really bad? Is the beastly character described, natural or nurtured based on situations?

The interesting perspective is, learning how employees can also make a boss go from “inspiring” to “threatening”.

Hopefully your accidental or intentional goof-ups can be curbed if you discern the aftermath of your actions.

Undervaluing their mentorship:

employees make boss bad


It is “Know it all” behavior and acting too good for anything your boss says. You deny yourself of some valuable, career-oriented lessons. After all your boss is a few levels up in the ladder, and can proudly claim “been there, done that”. Your lack of interest discourages the mentor in your boss. Do not be surprised if your boss simply prefers to get the basic work done and ceases to care about your career prosperity.

Your demeaning behavior, undermining guidance, disregarding, questioning or ridiculing your manager’s mettle will offset the mentor-mentee relationship.

Not respecting their time and presence:

Every employee’s wish is to have an effective, approachable, communicative leader. But when you do have a boss who is approachable do you really value his/her presence and their time? Deeming their approachability as incapability becomes evident when you,

  • Don’t respect their time
  • Seek their involvement in mediating peer conflicts
  • Don’t speak when you have the opportunity
  • Take advantage of their nature
  • Use anonymity to thrash personal and professional deficiencies (for ex: in surveys, and skip-level meets)
  • Your approach is not modest or discreet
  • You always have hidden intentions

In response if your boss’s approach changes you consider them ineffective. You tend to relay in a “victimized” comfort zone, rather than being creative, and using the opportunity to grow professionally.

Not owning up to your own mistakes/ failures:

Look beyond “I didn’t know that..”, No one ever told me..”, “It’s not my fault..”. You’ll know that the joy in accountability, and the progress in career will be tremendous, when you stop placing the blame on your boss.

Remember when your team project was unsuccessful? Despite knowing the reason for the failure, your boss stood up, faced the criticism and vouched for your success on the next opportunity! If this is not the quality of a good leader, what else is? Having a boss who gives you directions and supports you 24/7 should not be taken as meek and incompetent. This supportive nature is not an endorsement to lose accountability and condone making more mistakes.

If your boss realizes that he/she stood up for something you don’t value and appreciate, they give up.

Treating a friendly boss as your friend:

employees make boss bad

Your boss’s motive in maintaining a congenial atmosphere is to mitigate office stress and enable open communication. If you consider this as a green signal to personal favors like leaving office early, arriving late, expecting favoritism, diluting authority, behaving as a pseudo boss etc., it raises several red flags.

Even if your boss is your real-life friend, they expect you to maintain that professional accord at work. They may crimp to express it, but eventually, if you fail to understand the gap, they begin to set too many non-negotiable rules.  The fear of insubordination, loss of trust and respect in the team haunts them, every time you disobey and take things for granted.

Bypassing the hierarchy:

employees make boss bad

The upsurge in making hierarchical structures flat is on the verge with small businesses and start-ups. However, in big companies, respecting the chain of command is a business etiquette, every employee is schooled to follow, for effective management. Each stratum has a designated role to perform and bypassing your boss simply is a derailing behavior. Why?

  • It is an outright disrespect to your boss’s role
  • You have just deluded the trust levels
  • This approach inhibits the flow of effective communication
  • It makes you appear disloyal

Unless the purpose of skipping the hierarchy is to report matters that cannot be discussed with your own boss, avoid doing it. If your boss’s manager directly communicates with you in his/her absence, update them, unless the topic is irrelevant. The ramifications of bypassing the hierarchy can orbit around hurt egos, cynicism, spying and professional jeopardy. All these can put your career at stake.  

Holding boss accountable for everything:

employees make boss bad

Considering your boss owns the business or Holding your boss responsible for the decisions taken at the highest level is naive. In reality they struggle to mediate between operational workforce, people above them and the several organizational policies they abide by and embrace. They hustle to manage, meet your expectations while working on achieving organizational objectives. Keeping everything in harmony is not an easy job.

In such a discourse, being unsupportive and lacking empathy causes dismay and dampens their working spirit.

Incoherently, this can make them withdraw from thriving for an employee-centric organization.

Disregarding inclusiveness:

employees make boss bad

Engaging in team meetings, brainstorming sessions, is a way to involve operational excellence in making decisions. Generally, if you disengage from this opportunity in a belief that “they don’t consider your opinions/ideas”, it makes the” inclusiveness” concept futile.

If your idea is pitch perfect, no one can deny it’s worth. Want to make your opinions heard? Then, work on your ideas and presentation skills too. If you can match the level of thinking of your management, you are ahead in your game.

 When you under-utilize your right to show your caliber, you may eventually be denied of it. That’s how the aim of these brainstorming sessions, and huddles are side-tracked and gradually avoided.

Your working style makes them micro-managers:

employees make boss bad

Do you constantly miss the deadlines?? Do you just slack off, misapprehend directions from your supervisors, need reminders to finish every task or sluggish in reporting business emergencies? Whatever the case may be, it makes your boss paranoid and your behavior calls for a close supervision of your work. Constantly monitoring your work makes you nervous and you inadvertently term it “micro-managing” or “being partial”. Indeed, it was your performance that escalated the situation and demanded the attention!

Effective bosses endure and hope for improvement. They don’t believe in ‘firing’ as a solution to every challenging employee. If you can prove to work independently and effectively, your boss will eventually develop trust and conviction.

Misunderstanding your boss:

If you are a victim of office gossip or the perpetrator and living in false impressions or fallacy, you misunderstand your boss and the work S/he does.

You could cause enrage, when you make false claims based on rumors and negative perceptions.

For ex: When a new project is assigned to suitable candidates or when attention is given to under-performers, you commonly mistake this for being biased.

Making false claims or misusing information can make your boss over-protective and less transparent, in fear of being misunderstood. So, rather than making delusional assumptions, it is better to have a straight talk to avoid confusion and chaos.


In conclusion, working in a positively reinforcing culture is equally important for your supervisor, as much of his/her job revolves around people and operations. Contrarily, thriving under constant malice, disloyalty and disrespect can be a downer for your boss too.

“Difficult situations prompt change, in people and their perceptions”. That’s how you see the difference in their approach, when you question their integrity or challenge their mettle!

Rather than viewing your boss as a person in power and position, learn and earn mutual respect. Realize that there is a human-side to your boss too!


What would you do differently if you are in your boss’s shoes? Please post your opinions in the comments.

Have you read: Never say these things to your boss!

Rajeshwari Ogirala

Rajeshwari is a writer, Biz Development Manager. Passionate about people and personal development. Believes in sharing her knowledge and instilling positive work culture in people.

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