7 Red flags to look out for in your boss

Is it time to hit the escape button?

21 November, 2023
7 Red flags to look out for in your boss

While we're often quick to pinpoint red flags in our romantic relationships, there's another crucial area where being cognizant of warning signs play a pivotal role—our professional lives. In the corporate world, the subtle (or overt) red flags in your manager or boss can change the trajectory of your career. Recognising these signals is not just about surviving the daily grind, it's also about safeguarding your career and mental well-being. 


Here, we have curated a list of red flags and warning signs you should keep an eye out for in your boss. 

They do not have a life outside of work 

When your boss's life seems to be confined to the office, it might be a red flag waving ominously. A boss with no discernible life beyond work may inadvertently signal a belief in a skewed work-life balance. This isn't just about their personal choices; it can trickle down, subtly nudging you to invest your entire self-worth in professional aspirations. The danger? It's a slippery slope, steering you away from a wholesome life where work is just a part of a balanced equation.

Complaints about other team members to you 

When your boss starts airing grievances about team members to you, it's more than just an innocent venting session. It might be a red flag signaling a lack of effective leadership. A true leader doesn't feed on workplace gossip; instead, it is their responsibility to guide and unite the team. Complaining about colleagues not only impacts team cohesion but also reflects poorly on the leader's ability to foster a positive work environment. 

Asks you to work on a ‘little something’ when you are on leave 

A healthy work environment acknowledges the importance of personal time and values the well-being of its employees. Your boss reaching out to you while you’re on a leave could indicate a lack of respect for your personal life and potential guilt-tripping into working during your time off. 

No one from the team is happy to see them 

If the entire team lacks enthusiasm or appears displeased upon your boss's arrival, it may be a bad sign. Team dynamics are often reflective of leadership, and a universal lack of joy or contentment may suggest issues with management or an unproductive work environment. Observing the team's response to your boss's presence can provide valuable insights into the overall morale and effectiveness of leadership within the workplace.

They don’t keep a check on your mental well-being 
While self-sufficiency is essential, a complete lack of concern may indicate a disconnect in leadership. A good boss recognises that reassurance and support can serve as powerful motivational tools, particularly during overwhelming times. The absence of such gestures might suggest a leadership style that lacks empathy or a boss who prioritises their needs over the well-being of the team. 

They employ fear as a tool of motivation 

Fear-based motivation can create a toxic work environment, fostering stress, anxiety, and demotivation among team members. A leader's role is to inspire and guide, not instill fear. This approach not only hampers creativity and productivity but can also lead to a negative impact on the overall morale of the team. 

One-on-one sessions with them solely revolve around providing status updates rather than focusing on your personal development

A boss who consistently sidelines personal growth discussions may indicate a lack of investment in the individual aspirations and skills enhancement of their team. This can potentially hinder career progression and job satisfaction among team members, signaling a need for a more holistic and supportive leadership approach.