8 Telltale Signs of a Bully Boss ...


8 Telltale Signs of a Bully Boss ...
8 Telltale Signs of a Bully Boss ...

Ever wonder if your boss is displaying the classic signs of a bully boss? If you answered yes, you’re not alone. There are tons of people who deal with brutal bosses but many of us might not be fully aware that these irrational behaviors are typical bully behaviors to be aware of. If you think you're being bullied by your boss or a co-worker, read through these 8 ways to tell if your boss is a bully.

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Temper Temper

One of the sure ways to tell if your boss is a bully is if he/she constantly loses his/her temper and blames it on you. Bullies often get angry for no good reason when dealing with subordinates, but have no issues controlling their emotions and keeping their cool in front of their equals or bosses. Bully bosses will usually seek out someone in a lower position to be angry with and to take out their frustrations on.


If you find yourself constantly on the receiving end of outbursts, pay attention to the patterns: are you always the scapegoat for projects gone awry or office mishaps? This can be deeply unsettling and may be designed to undermine your confidence. Remember, a supportive leader will offer constructive criticism and maintain composure, not resort to intimidation or derogatory remarks. It's important to distinguish between high-pressure situations that could cause occasional irritability and a consistent pattern of targeted, disproportionate anger.


Public Humiliation

Signs of a bully boss most definitely include picking on people in front of others and humiliating them. No matter what they say, the reason they do this is due to a problem they have with themselves and not with you. Bullies will seek out vulnerable people and take their insecurities out on them. I’m sure they’ll give you a million reasons why you’re worthy of that verbal tongue-lashing, but we all know you’re not and there is absolutely no excuse for that type of behavior, ever.


Engaging in public humiliation reflects a deep-seated need to assert dominance and control by undermining others' confidence. This toxic tactic is not only professionally inappropriate, but it also creates a culture of fear and stifles healthy communication. When a boss singles out an individual, it's not a reflection of performance but rather their own shortcomings. They might seem strong and in charge when they're putting someone down, but really, this behavior screams of weakness and insecurity. Remember, a truly effective leader uplifts their team, never resorting to degradation or shame as tools for motivation.


Stealing Your Shine

An easy way to tell if your boss is a bully is to think about whether they’ve ever tried to steal the spotlight from you. Have you ever worked tirelessly on a project only for your boss to act like it was subpar then take all the credit for it? Bullies love to take credit for the work of other people while trying to make you feel like your contributions are never good enough.


A manipulative boss may also belittle your ideas in meetings only to bring them up later as their own. This not only undermines your confidence but also hampers your professional growth. When you're constantly in the shadow of a higher-up who requires the limelight to validate their ego, your ambitions and hard work can be easily overshadowed. Remember, being in a position of leadership is about amplifying the success of the team, not single-handedly claiming the glory. If your boss isn't your biggest cheerleader, it's a red flag.


Left behind

If your boss has ever made you feel left out at work, that’s a red flag and a surefire sign of a bully boss! If you’ve ever been left out of a work lunch, important meeting or anything work related that you should’ve obviously been a part of, your boss could be purposely excluding you. On the other hand, if your boss has done this once or twice and shows obvious remorse, it’s most likely a mistake.


Exclusion in the workplace can take many forms, and it's important to keep an eye on patterns. Isolation doesn't just hurt on a personal level—it impacts your professional growth and networking within the company. What's worse, a bully boss might not only leave you out but could also be subtly encouraging others to do the same, further marginalizing you. Always document these instances and, if possible, seek support from HR or a trusted colleague. Remember, it's not just about the discomfort—it's about protecting your professional track and ensuring a healthy work environment.


Running Interference

One of the most common signs of a bully boss that’s a little less obvious is when your boss always comes off as too busy to sign off on your work or provide you with the info you need to finish your work. A very subtle way to sabotage someone is to purposely hinder someone from getting things done so that your work is often late or done incorrectly. Obviously, supervisors get extremely busy, but if yours is consistently MIA when you need guidance or gets in the way of getting things done, beware!


This behavior isn't only frustrating; it's professionally debilitating. If you're met with crickets every time you reach out or your requests for guidance vanish into a black hole, it's time to take note. The chronically "swamped" boss who never delegates could be subtly undermining your ability to meet deadlines or shine in your role. Remember, a supportive leader should enhance your performance, not throttle it. Keep an eye out for this pattern – it's a red flag that shouldn't be ignored.


You’re Constantly Worn out

We all get tired from work, but another way to tell if your boss is a bully is if you’re frequently pooped from the stress of work during the week that you can’t even enjoy your downtime! Forget that noise! Your nights and weekends are meant for you to relax, unwind and enjoy your time off, not dream up ways to put tacks on your boss’s chair and get even! Remember, taking on extra work isn’t necessarily bullying unless there’s a disparate amount of work being piled on your desk only. Bullying is more about verbal abuse, aggressive behavior and sabotage.


Expect the Worst

Another one of the convincing ways to tell if your boss is a bully is when your work experiences start getting so bad that you go in to work expecting the worst to happen. Have you come to expect arbitrary criticism and a constant barrage of verbal abuse? When your boss has made work such a horrid place that you wake up mentally preparing for a turdstorm, you’re definitely dealing with a workplace bully!


This vicious cycle of dread can dramatically affect your self-esteem and your overall mental health. If every project submission is met with snide remarks or unwarranted criticism, it's clear that the atmosphere is toxic. Remember, a good leader is supposed to inspire confidence, not incite fear. When the mere thought of interaction with your boss triggers anxiety, it's time to acknowledge the red flags. No job should ever corrode your peace of mind to such an extent that the Sunday Scaries turn into Everyday Nightmares.


Dreadful Existence

This way to tell if your boss is a bully is somewhat similar to being constantly worn out but aside from being tired, you just hate the thought of going to work. Your co-workers are cool and the work itself is alright, but the thing that you hate the most is interacting with your boss. Lots of people would change jobs if they could, but if your thoughts are consumed by the horror of going to work and facing your boss, you’re dealing with a bully!

Did any of these signs of a bully boss sound familiar to you? Unfortunately bullies exist almost everywhere but that doesn’t mean it’s okay. There are new laws that target workplace bullying in some areas so there is progress and people supporting you. If you need help, have questions or want more information on workplace bullying, check out workplacebullying.org

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