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How to avoid working for a bad boss


Ask the Questions, Read the Signs

Everyone wants to work for a great boss; no one just chooses to work for someone who doesn’t provide any assistance or guidance. In my experience, I have found that there are five questions you can (and should) ask a potential employer that will reveal whether they are a “bad boss.” These are based on the five things employees want and should expect from a supervisor. Here they are:

5 Questions You Should Ask Potential Employers

  1. What are the five most important tasks that someone in this role needs to excel at?
  2. Can you share with me, in some detail, the characteristics or qualities of the two very best people who have ever been in this role?
  3. Can you tell me how communication works between you and the people in your group so that employees always feel engaged and informed?
  4. How would you describe your view on developing people for future success in their role and in the company? Also, can you give me some specific examples of people that you have been promoted?
  5. How does recognition ordinarily work within your team for a job well done?

Setting Employer Expectations

Just like the employer has certain expectations for their employees, the employee should expect certain things from their employers. Here are five things that every employee should want to see their employer to exhibit.

Five Things Employees Should Want and Expect from their Employers:

  1. Competent job instruction.
  2. A degree of independence in doing the job.
  3. To be informed in a timely manner about anything that impacts you, your co-workers or your company.
  4. Praise for a job well done.
  5. A leader – not a boss. (BOSS spelled backwards is double-SOB).

The first two questions will hopefully be answered with exquisite clarity by a great boss. A bad boss will not know how to provide competent instruction, and you will sense it immediately.

The last three questions will tell you exactly what kind of leader this person is. If they are a great leader, you will feel energized, excited and hopeful that you get the next step. If not, take a hard look at the person answering your questions – they are very likely not someone you should work for!