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3 Gigantic Signs You're a Cruel Boss and How to Change It

Let me set this straight. It’s not your employees; it’s YOU. The problem is with YOU, the boss!

I bet you swore to yourself that when the time comes where you’re already the boss, you will do things in a different manner. Let’s face it. We have so many things in mind that we want to do when we’re already the one managing people. And luckily, that time came in your life – you’re already the boss.

Of course, no one started their career wanting to be a monstrous boss. You perhaps even planned to reward the set of people who perform well or to rent a whole beach resort for your company’s founding anniversary.

But how can you even make all your plans possible when the phone rings every single minute, emails are popping now and then, and clients are threatening to cancel the deal with you? Can you still maintain your cool even when every single thing that’s happening in the workplace seems to push your buttons?

With all that’s going on, do you even have the energy and most importantly the time to think about implementing all of the plans you have for the company and think about how to be  a compassionate boss?

I know you would probably tell us this: “Imagine how hard it is to balance everything – the success of the company, the employees’ jobs, which includes those that complain about their jobs and those you want to fire, and retaining the clients?”

But if you agree with the things written above, congratulations, you just turned out to be the person you promised yourself you would never be.

A perfect job is not only about a competitive salary package or doing what you’re passionate about, but it also has to have a peaceful working environment and a boss that understands his employees.

However, not all companies have this overall complete package. Whether we admit it or not, this will affect our employees’ attitude towards work and may even make our employees want to quit their jobs.

So, in this article, we gathered three signs of being a horrible boss and how to correct it. Check this out and do a self-assessment afterward.

1. You’re scaring everyone (even the delivery boy from the courier).

You’ve seen these things in the movies or TV. You know, when everyone laughs so much at your joke that even you think it’s stupid. Also, do you notice that whenever you pass through the hallway, everyone stops talking and goes back to their cubicles even if they’re discussing the marketing plan they’ll present to you a little moment from now?

Stop being clueless! If this happens frequently, then you just turned out to be the horrible boss you had despised before you became a person who manages people.

What you have to do is to assure your employees that you’re a very approachable person. There are bad days, for sure, but make them understand that whenever you go through these days, they can still come freely inside your office if they need clarifications or have suggestions.

2. You noticed that the workers in the company are busier whenever you are around.

You’ll surely see this when you’re checking the CCTV. Some employees may be gathering in a circle and laughing, and when you go out to check them, they seem to go back to their desks and pretend that they’re busy. Sometimes, you also notice that they are already making huge decisions without consulting you first.

They don’t think you’re incompetent. Of course, you wouldn’t be a boss without your skills. They are just scared of asking questions since you’re a horrible boss. What do you expect? Do you expect that they would still approach you even if your mood swings are just as horrifying as you are?

What you can do is to try making small talk with your employees. Build relationships with them. If you have time, join them for lunch. Or better yet, treat your whole team to lunch and dinner. Show appreciation for their hard work. Show them that you value everything they’ve done for the entire team.

You can also stage a team building exercise where you can bond with your employees. A team building exercise is a good way to build trust within the team. Another way is to go into a huddle on Monday mornings and check in your employees. Ask them about their weekend activities. It’s a good way to prep them for the grind ahead. Or you could do it on Fridays, after a tiring week of work. Treat your employees to a dinner or night out to unwind and cool down.

By creating such opportunities for interaction, you’re creating a personal connection with them. This makes it easy for them to open up to you and see you as a friendly and approachable manager.

3. You’re threatening your employees, and you think it’s motivation.

Telling your employee that if you lose this client, you’ll fire him, or telling them that if any employee arrives late (for the first time) will merit a 3-day suspension without pay, is not a good way of motivating your employee. If you do these acts, then guess what, you just became “that” boss.

Motivation comes in different forms. It may be either a bonus, commission, paid vacation leave or even a commendation. One concrete example is to give them constant feedback, be it good or encouraging or critical. Either way, an employee will know which aspect of his work he or she needs to improve.

Acknowledging your employee’s achievements is also a potent moral-booster. Don’t hesitate to congratulate your employee whenever he or she does something good that benefits the whole team and the company. Let your employees know that you appreciate and value the things they have done for you, the team and the company.

Related reading: 5 ways to incentivise employees without burning a hole in your pocket

Don’t forget the power of communication. Good communication is everything. It’s the first step towards transparency and a harmonious work relationship with your employees. For instance, you can greet your employees every morning or bid them goodbye after work. It will show that you’re a boss who knows his or her way around people.

What’s best is to use the other forms of motivation just like those mentioned above. Choosing the latter will not only scare your employees. In some instances, it may also damage their passion for their job, and worse, they might quit. Losing people is never good.


Becoming a boss is never easy, and no one said it is. You’ve got a wide array of responsibilities, and you need to play different roles: a boss, a friend, a shock absorber, a HR personnel, and sometimes a guidance counselor.

Aside from that, you also have to think about the future of the company, the jobs of your employees, and the business of your clients. But instead of taking it as an opportunity to scold and scare everyone in the office, why not take it as a challenge to be the boss you’ve always dreamed of becoming?

Be the person who clears away tension in the workplace, not the one starting it.

Author Bio

This is a guest post submitted by Patrick Panuncillon, and edited by Zegal.

The views expressed here are of the author’s, and Zegal may not necessarily subscribe to them. You, too, are invited to share your point of view. Learn more about guest blogging for Zegal here.

Patrick PanuncillonAs an entrepreneur, Patrick Panuncillon has years of experience in SEO campaign management and he’s the heart and brain of LinkVista Digital Inc., a digital marketing and online solutions company in the Philippines. He also has an excellent track record in entrepreneurship. Patrick handled several campaigns for local and international companies. He also loves to help and guide young people to become effective leaders in their field.