12 Obvious Signs Your Boss Feels Guilty But Can’t Help It

Written By Shahzaib Arshad

I’m sure you’ve been in this situation before. You’re sitting there, staring at your computer screen, when the boss walks into the room and asks, “What’s wrong?”

Though you say nothing to convince him deep down, you know things are not fine, and the boss knows this too.

12 Obvious Signs Your Boss Feels Guilty

He did something that’s making him feel guilty, but he can’t open up about it and apologize to you. After all, he’s the boss!

But still, he unknowingly shows some signs that prove him to be guilty. He wanders around the office with this guilt, and you can clearly spot it on his face.

So let’s take a look at some signs your boss feels guilty about.

1. You Get Loads And Loads Of Work:

Sometimes, when a boss feels guilty, the first thing they do is to give you an unreasonable amount of work.

By doing so, they are making up for their blunder and ensuring that you get your fair share of recognition for it.

A Guilty Boss Piles Up Your Desk With Work
You Get Loads And Loads Of Work

If your boss asks you to do extra work, you mustn’t accept unless absolutely necessary.

Also, if your boss is trying to make up for his mistakes, he won’t be able to say no if you try to take advantage of him.

2. The Boss Doesn’t Talk About The Performance:

One sign is they challenge employee performance, especially when it’s adequate.

This feeling of inadequacy can lead your boss to try talking about performance issues with you because he feels guilty.

He Avoids Talking About Your Performance
The Boss Doesnt Talk About The Performance

Instead, he might tell you how much he values you as an employee or a person to make you feel more comfortable.

Remember that this could simply be a way of distracting you or making you feel like everything is fine.

3. He Became Pals With Other Coworkers:

When someone does badly at work, one of the best ways to deal with the resulting guilt is to try and seem nice.

If your boss feels guilty for upsetting you or another employee, he’ll be overly nice and friendly toward other people. It is an effort to make them feel more comfortable around him.

Another thing that your boss may do while feeling guilty is try to create a more relaxed atmosphere at work.

Your Boss Becomes More Closer To Your Coworkers
He Became Pals With Other Coworkers

This can come in the form of inviting you out for drinks or offering you dinner occasionally. Again, keep your guard up because this may simply be a way for him to seduce information out of you or distract you.

4. The Boss Throws Vague Instructions – Won’t Lend A Helping Hand:

Your boss might start giving you vague instructions with no guidance or clarity. That’s because he feels guilty about having set such difficult tasks for you.

He’s avoiding coming off as an authority figure and as more approachable, it makes him feel better about himself.

When a boss feels guilty about his leadership abilities, he might begin to try and challenge you more on the tasks he gives to you.

This way, he can gauge your performance better and try to come off as a better leader.

5. Signs Your Boss Feels Guilty – Saying Sorry When She’s Angry:

When a boss apologizes for something he did, you might feel like it’s an act of contrition. But in reality, it could be because the boss feels guilty about upsetting you, and she’s making sure that she still has your respect.

Signs Your Boss Is Guilty
Signs Your Boss Feels Guilty – Saying Sorry When Shes Angry

Just remember that the apology is not for the thing she did; she may repeat his mistake again in the future.

However, if you accept her apology, then you have a much better chance of receiving a sincere one in the future.

6. Behaves Like You Aren’t Present:

One of the most effective ways to upset a worker is to ignore him. By not acknowledging your presence, they try to show you how little respect they think of you.

Your boss might be doing this because he feels guilty about having overlooked you in the past.

He wants to basically prove that he isn’t overlooking you any longer out of respect for you.

7. You Get To See Him In Office On Weekends:

If your boss is willing to work on a weekend, you might think that he’s a hard worker.

A Guilty Boss Will Be Working On Sundays
You Get To See Him In Office On Weekends

However, this may be because he feels guilty about spending more time at home than at the office. Now he wants to make up for it by working as much as possible.

This may also mean that he feels guilty about not seeing you as much as he should and wants to spend more time with you.

8. Signs Your Boss Feels Guilty – You Get Extra Long Lunch Breaks:

This could either be a very nice gesture or one that is meant to keep you more under his control.

When your boss offers you extra time off, he does so because he feels guilty about the difficult schedule you have.

The Boss Gives You More Time For Lunch Breaks
Signs Your Boss Feels Guilty – You Get Extra Long Lunch Breaks

And now your boss wants to ensure that you are able to balance everything already. This way, he can justify giving you more time off and feel better about himself.

9. Tries To Spend Some Dollars On You:

If a boss feels guilty about upsetting you or not showing you enough respect, he might be willing to spend some money to please you.

This could mean that he will buy you an expensive gift or even offer to pay for a nice vacation.

He might be doing this because he feels guilty about the amount of money you make and wants to help you feel better.

10. Less Tension And Anxiety In The Office:

When a boss feels guilty about something he’s done, he might try to make the office environment less tense than it usually is.

Signs Your Boss Is Guilty
Less Tension And Anxiety In The Office

This could mean that he will crack more jokes or display friendlier body language.

It all makes him feel better because he can see how much his negative actions have on others.

11. Signs Your Boss Feels Guilty- You Don’t Get Scolded Anymore:

If a boss shows you that he is less critical of your mistakes, it could be because he feels guilty about criticizing you the way that he has been.

Your Boss Has Stopped Pin Pointing Your Mistakes
Signs Your Boss Feels Guilty- You Dont Get Scolded Anymore

He may feel bad about shoving his opinions down your throat without really thinking about how they will affect you emotionally.

He’s being more understanding and not trying to force his ideas on you so much. He is trying to make up for his past mistakes.

12. Your Boss Asks You Out On A Date:

If your boss asks you out, it could be because he feels bad about the way that things are going between the two of you.

A Guilty Boss Will Cheer You Up Through A Date
Your Boss Asks You Out On A Date

He’s trying to improve this relationship. However, keep in mind that this doesn’t mean that your job is safe.

In fact, you have a higher chance of getting fired if your boss asks you out on dates instead of firing you outright.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Make Your Boss Feel Guilty?

You can carry your laptop wherever you go and keep multitasking to make your boss guilty. Also, cover your desk with to-do lists. You can also ask for an immediate leave from your boss to make him guilty.

What If Your Boss Is Unfair And Disrespectful?

If your boss is rude and disrespectful around you and your coworkers, you must find the reason behind it. But stay positive and focus on your work when you do so. If it doesn't help, you should approach HR.

What Are The Traits Of A Toxic Boss?

A toxic boss is always very boastful and arrogant. One most common characteristic belonging to such bosses is their autocratic nature. But still, they lack confidence when they are around the talented workforce. They will have unrealistic expectations.

How Do You Tell If Your Boss Feels Threatened By You?

First of all, you'll feel stuck working under a boss who you threaten. A bad boss will put obstacles in your way and stop your growth. So if you feel that your boss limits your upward mobility, then he might see you as a threat.


In the end, it’s important to remember that we all make mistakes. It doesn’t matter if you are a boss or an employee – no one is perfect, and everyone has bad days.

If you find yourself feeling angry about something someone else did, try taking ten deep breaths before reacting!

The other person may have apologized for what they did without even realizing how upset you were.

And as your work becomes more comfortable thanks to these changes in an office environment. I hope each of us will be able to give our best effort at work every day with less frustration and stress.”

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Last Updated on 3 months by Shahzaib Arshad

Shahzaib Arshad
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