Today’s Motivation… Bad Bosses

AngerMany things can happen in the workplace. One of the most caustic is working under a bad boss. The reasons behind imperfect management can be varied—disrespectful, offensive or arrogant. They could even be a decent person, but have poor leadership skills.

Having a lousy boss doesn’t mean you cannot learn to be a better employee—and perhaps later on a better boss yourself. Here are several ways you can learn from a terrible boss—and improve your own future:

Lack of trust:

Trust is the first casualty when a boss is controlling and manipulative. A good supervisor, as well as a good leader, needs to build trust with subordinates and co-workers. This is one of the most powerful lessons learned by working with a bad boss.

Wasted effort:

Notice how much wasted effort is spent by an incompetent boss to make things happen the way they want. It can be so much easier — all that time spent on nit-picking and micromanaging. Look at the negative energy—yelling and screaming in some cases—to force people to act, instead of collaboration. See how others react, how people adapt to undermining success, and become eager to undermine the efforts of the boss. Imagine applying that power for the common good.


You learn valuable lessons through a bad boss. How do they make you feel—motivated or disheartened? Are you assertive? Do you increase your productivity or do you only do the least to get by?


A lousy boss will rarely change an awful decision—looking at change as a sign of weakness. Rigid attitudes are the hallmark of poor leadership—avoiding a change in attitude when presented with new and better information.


If there is only one point, see how the rest of the management staff views your boss. Are they not aware, or are they just “playing the game?” Is it part of a larger culture of manipulation, allowing incompetent employees to treat others that way—just to make those up the chain of command look better? An atmosphere of mutual respect links to higher productivity—and success.

Published by @philammann

Put. That coffee. Down. Writer/editor/whatever it takes. @margaretj13 is my (much) better half. Website: Email: Twitter: @PhilAmmann

3 thoughts on “Today’s Motivation… Bad Bosses

  1. How ironic. I just hung up the phone with my daughter who has an absolutely MANIC boss and I opened this post!!!

    I will spare you the details, but my advice to my daughter was to get out as soon as she can find another job.

    Life is too short to spend being belittled and degraded during most of your waking hours. Working should be a growing, learning, pleasing experience, not a time of dread.

    All of you crazy supervisors out there – – people work WITH you, not FOR you. You will get more accomplished and look better to your superiors if you remember that you assume the role of teacher and mentor, not ogre.

    There are definitely times when one must use negative reinforcement on the job, but negative reinforcement is far more effective when it is the exception, not the rule.

    Type X managers have gone the way of the dinosaur. May they rest in peace.

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