10 Warning Signs Your New Boss May Be a Bad Boss

By Paul Michael on 28 March 2017 0 comments

A new boss can be a blessing or a curse. On the one hand, you could be in dire need of great leadership, and a new hire could turn everything around. But, this boss could also take you out of the frying pan and into the fire. Here are 10 clear warning signs that your new boss could be trouble. (See also: The 9 Types of Horrible Bosses)

1. A resume filled with job hopping

Before the potential new boss even walks into the interview room, there can be a huge red flag glaring at you on their resume. Of course, if you're not involved in the interview process, you won't see it. But these days, LinkedIn can be a huge help.

If you see a lot of jobs over the course of the last decade, lasting less than two years each, this is a potential bad sign. Sometimes this behavior is easy to explain away, such as bad luck from layoffs, headhunting, or ladder climbing. However, it can often be down to attitude and ability. Someone with five or six different companies on their resume in the space of a decade must explain why. If they say it was always due to poor working conditions, bad coworkers, or a toxic corporate environment, you could be in for a bumpy ride.

2. A bone-crushing handshake

Men are more likely to exhibit this behavior than women, but it applies across the board. A handshake should be firm, brief, and forgettable. If it's too limp, and clammy, that comes with its own issues. But the boss who shakes hands with a vice-like grip is telling you a lot without saying a word. This is meant to intimidate, showing dominance and superiority. In fact, some people say that this kind of handshake borders on physical assault. If the new boss shakes your hand and you need a painkiller afterward, you're dealing with someone who is way beyond alpha dog. (See also: 10 Body Language Mistakes That Sabotage Most Interviews)

3. They constantly steer the conversation back to themselves

There's a word for this — narcissism. The new boss may do everything in their power to hide it, but this kind of vanity finds a way to ooze to the surface.

At first, it's harmless, if not annoying. You mention your kids, and the next thing you know, you're listening to a half-hour diatribe on how awesome your new boss is as a parent. But, this behavior can soon deteriorate into stealing credit for work you have done. It's not that they think they are stealing anything, by the way. They simply believe that they are the center of attention, and everything good that happens in the company has to be because of them. Be warned — this kind of boss will suck your successes like a leech.

4. You can never get a definitive answer on anything

If you're faced with this kind of boss, you've got trouble. There are several reasons why they will avoid answering your questions, and none of them are good. First, they simply don't know the answers. There's nothing inherently wrong with that at first, this is a new environment and it takes time to learn. But a boss that will not admit to it has an ego problem. Second, they don't want to answer you honestly, and that means they're playing politics. Third, they are unsure of the parameters of the project, and want you to figure it out and potentially take the blame should it all go wrong. If you cannot get clear answers, you're being given a clear red flag.

5. They are way too nice

There's nice. There's "I'm new here, I'm trying" nice. And then there's "I'm way too friendly all the time and I'm hiding something" nice. The first two, no problem; especially the second, when the boss laughs at a bad joke you tell, or chipperly asks if anyone needs coffee. Those niceties fade after the first few weeks. It's the over-friendly boss you have to worry about.

These are the bosses who will smile, praise you constantly to your face, and act like your best friend. Meanwhile, they're berating you to upper management, and are sharpening the knives before they stab you in the back. An example of this comes from the Kevin Spacey movie "Swimming With Sharks." When he is first introduced to the new employee, he's the model of awesomeness. It doesn't take long for him to turn into the boss from hell.

6. Way too stressed, way too soon

Stress is common in the average workplace, and that can understandably escalate when first starting a new position. However, there is a big difference between anxiety brought on by obviously stressful situations, and falling to pieces over the smallest dilemmas. If your new boss is calling emergency meetings every hour, or pacing the floors biting his or her nails, you've got a worrywart on your hands. They will escalate every situation way beyond the usual level of importance, and will in turn make your life a living hell. You'll be jumping to attention for the most pedestrian of tasks, and will have to talk your new boss off the ledge (hopefully just a metaphorical one) on a weekly basis. Good luck with this one.

7. They are micromanaging from the get-go

A good boss knows when to step in, and when to let the employees do their jobs. When a new boss starts, they will want to get to know what you do, and how you do it. But they should be relying on you to do your job without their assistance.

If the new boss wants to be hands-on, and asks for daily (or even hourly) updates, you're dealing with a potential micromanager. These bosses create a bottleneck, with everything in the department having to go through them before it can proceed. It makes for a slow, painful workday, and they usually don't do the job as well as the individual employees. Autonomy is essential for a business to function efficiently, and micromanaging kills that process.

8. They berate their old company and the staff

When someone starts talking trash about his or her current job in an interview, be afraid. Be very afraid. While it is OK to have issues with the company, the issues should be discussed professionally, and with respect; and only if the subject is raised by the interviewer. If the trash-talking session comes without being prompted, and turns into a blame game, you've got a problem. This kind of boss will not be one to take responsibility for their actions, and is looking everywhere else for the cause of problems. And remember — if it's so easy for them to rebuke their current employer, how quickly will you become the subject of scorn?

9. They are inappropriate

After a month or two on the job, when the new boss is comfortable with the crew, you can expect a little relaxation and occasional off-color comment. But during the interview, and the first few weeks of employment, the new boss should be a model of professionalism. If they are spouting foul language and telling offensive jokes, imagine how bad things are going to get when they settle in? (See also: 10 Things You Should Never Say to Your Boss)

10. You just know it the second you meet

You can't quite put your finger on it, but the new boss just doesn't seem like a good fit. Maybe it's the way they conduct themselves, or walk around the office. Perhaps it's a turn of phrase they use, or an unusual glance in your direction. It could simply be that you cannot put your finger on it, but your gut is telling you this will not work.

Do not ignore these feelings. Your lizard brain is there for a reason, and it's telling you there is something wrong. Hopefully, it's a gut reaction that turns out to be incorrect. However, most of the time, people know in the first few minutes that this will be toxic. It's now up to you to do the best you can to deal with it, and hope that the new boss is not your manager for very long.

4
Average: 4 (6 votes)
Your rating: None
ShareThis

Disclaimer: The links and mentions on this site may be affiliate links. But they do not affect the actual opinions and recommendations of the authors.

Wise Bread is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.