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The Top Ten Things Employees Hate about their Bosses

Updated on October 18, 2012
Is this boss loved or hated by his employees?
Is this boss loved or hated by his employees?


It is fairly well known that in many employee attitude surveys conducted over the past thirty years, including the most recent ones conducted, the boss, the supervisor or management is listed among the top five things that employees hate the most about their work lives. In fact, negative feelings about the boss are always at or near the top of the list. It should also come as no surprise that a “bad boss” is among the top three reasons employees give for volunteering to leave their organization.

Understanding exactly why so many employees in all kinds of organizations are stressed out by, frustrated by, sent into deep depression by and down right despise their bosses can best be arrived at by looking at the reasons that employees report for having less than loving attitudes about their superiors. The following are the ten most common reasons employees give for wishing their boss would retire, leave on permanent disability or just vanish off of the face of the earth. They are not listed with any order of priority:

1. Their bosses talk to them only about their mistakes or negative things: Spend days on end trying to produce the best product that is possible for any human being to produce. Give it to the boss and expect at least a minimal compliment. Instead, he looks it over carefully and says absolutely nothing until he finally comes across the slightest error or mistake. Then comes the shouting, the cursing, the insulting and the demoralizing embarrassment. Their bosses only know they are alive when they make a mistake or do something wrong.

2. Their bosses do not appreciate their efforts or their value: Their bosses seem to have no ability to form the words, “That was a great job”, or “We are proud of your accomplishments”, or even something as simple as “Thank you”.

3. Their bosses do not trust them: They do not trust them to handle important jobs without openly or sneakily looking over their shoulders. They do not trust them to be self-disciplined and act as adults without being carefully watched or checked on. Finally, they do not trust them to be loyal enough not to try to stab them in the back and try to take the boss’s job.

4. Their bosses do not know how to lead or supervise people: Bosses are usually technically skilled. This is how they were promoted into supervision-by being good workers. But when they are placed in charge of other workers they often bomb because being a worker and being a supervisor of workers are two completely different jobs.

5. Their bosses play favorites: They will have a circle of employees that they like. If you are in the circle, you are talked to, given attention and treated well. If you are outside the circle, as most employees are, you are treated as second-class citizens.

6. Their bosses cannot be trusted: They either play divide-and-conquer games in which they turn one employee against the other or they make promises to employees just to keep their loyalty and stab them in the back later.

7. Their bosses will not listen to them: They never consult with employees before making decisions. They never take their employees’ suggestions when they are given and they never accept the fact that many causes of problems at work are their fault.

8. Their bosses are not concerned with the employees’ career needs or plans: They are only interested in their agendas, which is to have the employees make them look good. They do not care about the employees’ needs and desires for their future.

9. Their bosses do not apply discipline fairly: They allow certain employees to get away with murder, while they will hang other employees for the slightest thing.

10. Their bosses are so afraid of complaints and grievances from employees that are protected by EEOC that they never apply discipline to any of them. Some bosses are so timid of getting accused of discrimination that they are too careful in handling employees in the protected classes and may compensate by being too hard on other employees.

These are the main issues of many employees against their bosses, but what about you? Which of these issues reflect your problems with your boss? You are invited to take the following survey.


Which of the following things do you hate about your boss?

See results


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    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Great list. One of my biggest peeves is that the boss only comes around when there is unpleasant news to be given.