Is your boss emotionally abusive or a terror to work with? There are all sorts of unreasonable bosses out there and you may dread going to work because you can’t stand being in the same space as them. Working for bad bosses makes your working life miserable and you find yourself losing your appetite and sleep whenever you’re around them.

If you find yourself working for an unreasonable boss, remember to stay calm and try to handle the situation in a professional way. You cannot control how these types of toxic bosses behave or react, but you’re in full control of your emotions and response.

You do have a reputation to keep after all and going head on with your boss, no matter how much you dislike them, will risk your chances of getting another job in the future - especially if the industry that you work in is a small one.

common qualities and bad boss characteristics

Bad bosses are managers or senior executives who have difficulty managing people and can't control their unprofessional remarks and aggressive behaviours.

They may exhibit behaviours such as being controlling, showing favouritism, poor communication and management skills, lack professionalism or make decisions without consulting with their teams. These horrible bosses may also fail to delegate responsibilities, neglect their duties or even behave inappropriately towards subordinates.

bad boss characteristics
bad boss characteristics

With a little patience and effort, you can make it through dealing with these different types of managers even in the most challenging situations. Here are the 5 most common types of difficult bosses from hell and the coping strategies for employees on how you can best manage such bad boss types for your sanity’s sake.

5 worst bosses to work for and their key traits

1. the tyrant boss who micromanages

This boss is always looking over your shoulder and wants to know every minute detail of what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. They may seem to nitpick everything you do and are inflexible to change things.

These tyrant bosses will text you all the time and expect you to reply immediately. Your work will ultimately get delayed because you spend all your time at work replying to them. They may even throw a tantrum when you are unable to finish your work on time, or do it the way they want to be done.

These types of terrible supervisors may not trust you to do your job or just like to be in total control. Either way, it’s frustrating and can make you feel like you’re not doing anything right.

how to deal with a tyrant boss who micromanages?

To deal with a tyrant boss, you must first understand their perspective and motive for their micromanaging. Are they trying to control every aspect of the project to ensure its success, or are they doing so due to their own insecurities?

A practical solution to this is to arrange a conversation with them. If it’s the former, then you can still have a productive conversation about how to work more efficiently together to achieve the common goal. If it’s the latter, then you may need to have a more difficult conversation about their concerns and find out what would help them trust you to do the job.

It’s important to be direct and cordial to maintain a good working relationship. Remember that you can always take charge of your own work. You just need to find a way to make your boss feel assured while doing so.

2. the indecisive boss

The second type of unreasonable boss is the one who is always changing their mind. They can never make up their mind about anything and their indecisiveness drives everyone up the wall.

One minute they want you to do one thing, but the next minute they could tell you to do something completely different. It’s almost like they can’t help themselves.

As a result, nothing ever gets done the way it’s supposed to, and everyone is always walking on eggshells and unsure how much they should actually commit to the work that they are doing.

how to deal with a boss who is always changing their mind?

Dealing with an indecisive boss can be frustrating and difficult. Try to be patient and understanding. Your boss may be under a lot of pressure and may not be able to make quick decisions. Offer your help and support to make some of the decisions for them. This will also show that you are an efficient and competent employee.

Most importantly, you will need to learn how to be agile, flexible and go with the flow.

3. the boss who takes all your credit at work

The third type of unreasonable boss is the one who takes credit for your work. This type of boss usually sits behind closed doors and only comes forward to grab credits without acknowledging the team effort. This can be especially annoying if you’ve put in a lot of extra effort on a project only to have your boss take all the credit.

The worst of all is that when things go south at work, it is highly likely that this kind of bad leader will throw you under the bus and let you bear all the consequences.

Not only does this behaviour makes you look like an incompetent employee, it may also hurt your personal brand and damage your chance of getting a promotion or a pay raise.

how to deal with a manager who takes credit?

To deal with a boss who takes credit for your work, you’ll need to be savvy. Keep track of everything you have done and document them so that you can have an open conversation with them about your contributions and how you would want to be recognised for your work.

If you’re sending emails, always make sure that other colleagues are copied in as well to make it difficult for your boss to claim credit without others knowing about it.

4. the boss who keeps yelling at work

The fourth type of unreasonable boss is the one who is always yelling. It’s like they think the volume of their voice is directly proportional to how important their message is. Newsflash, it’s not!

Emotionally abusive managers leave their colleagues powerless, burned out, drained and exhausted by their constant outbursts of anger.

All the yelling makes the workplace environment very unpleasant. Employees will eventually stop listening and start to disrespect them - both as a boss and an individual.

how to deal with a bad boss who keeps yelling?

It can be tough to know how to handle the situation when your boss is constantly yelling at you. When your boss yells at you, don't let your emotions take control of you and start yelling back. Calm yourself down first so you can think clearly and figure out how to respond appropriately.

This bad behaviour is indeed hard to tolerate. Learn to stand up and speak up for yourself - timing is key here. After things have calmed down, let them know how their behaviour made you feel and how as an employer, they have the responsibility to create a safe environment and treat everyone with respect.

5. the boss who is impossible to please

The boss who is impossible to please seems to have a never-ending list of things to nitpick. No matter what you do, it is just never good enough for this terrible boss. You can't help but wonder if they're secretly hoping that you'll make a mistake, just so they can blurt out their unfriendly remarks and have the satisfaction of seeing you squirm.

Trying to keep up with the moving goalpost can take a toll on your physical and mental health, as you’ll find yourself working overtime to over-deliver on projects just to cover all grounds. You’ll also feel extremely nervous and anxious every time you submit your work to them as you expect nothing but criticism and negativity from your boss.

how to deal with a boss who is impossible to please?

The best way to deal with a bad supervisor who is impossible to please is to set realistic expectations right from the start and stick to them. Meet with them before you start working on a project or task to align on their expectations and constantly remind them of what they should be expecting from you.

Another way is to try to see things from their perspective and find out why they are constantly dissatisfied. Could they be receiving pressure from their higher ups? Are they overworked too? Is the client the one who is impossible to please?

It can be frustrating, but if you can get to the root of the problem, it may help minimise the friction between the both of you and encourage greater collaboration to work towards a common goal.

plan an exit strategy for yourself

The thing about unreasonable bosses is that even if you heed our advice to have a conversation with them about their behaviour, they would probably still put the blame on you for no good reason.

Working for these bad bosses is not only exhausting and frustrating as they will never pay attention to your needs and well-being. Some boss personality types can put your overall mental well-being at risk. Over time, you may start to doubt your own capabilities and accept your fate that you’re just not a smart worker - even when that’s far from the truth.

how to prepare an exit strategy from a company
how to prepare an exit strategy from a company

If you find yourself working for someone with bad manager traits that you simply cannot stand and the coping strategies didn’t work for you, start planning an exit strategy! Start updating your resume and look for new job opportunities. You should also read employee reviews on Glassdoor to learn more about the work environment and management styles of companies you desire to work for, so that you can find a boss who you would love working with.

our specialist recruiters have insights on your future bosses

Our specialist recruiters work closely with HR professionals and hiring managers, who could be your future bosses. We apply the true-fit methodology in our talent recruitment process to measure the match on three dimensions - job fit, boss fit and company fit.

To ensure the perfect match, our consultants are trained to use resources and tools at their disposal to gain a deep understanding of the job requirements and expectations and the overall company culture.

Reach out to our recruiting consultants to find an employer that aligns with your job search expectations. Find out more about the industries and functions that we hire for or simply browse our job listings and apply today.

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