17 Possible Reasons – Why Do Bosses Treat Employees Badly

Written By Shahzaib Arshad

Why do bosses treat employees badly? Sometimes it stems from a lack of communication or respect.

Other times, it might result from a bad boss feeling threatened by competent employees.

Why Do Bosses Treat Employees Badly – 17 Reasons

No matter the reason, it’s never okay for a boss to treat employees badly. If you’re dealing with a bad boss, you can do a lot to improve the situation.

But to do that, you need to be aware of all possible reasons. Here are all the reasons I could think of why bosses might treat employees badly.

1. They’re Trying To Get A Reaction:

There are a few reasons why a boss might try to get a reaction from their employees. Maybe they’re trying to see how much they can get away with.

Or maybe they’re trying to see how employees will react under pressure. How is that helpful to the business? It’s not.

Workplace very stressful - why do bosses treat employees badly

All it does is to breed mistrust and resentment. To get a reaction out of someone, bosses might try to:

– Yell or scream

Publicly humiliate employees

– Play favorites

– Make impossible demands

– Threaten employees with termination

And all these actions have one thing in common: they make the workplace very stressful.

2. They’re Jealous Of Their Employees:

It’s not uncommon for bosses to be jealous of their employees. After all, they usually got the job because they were the most qualified candidate.

But sometimes, bosses can’t help but feel like their employees are better than they are.

That feeling of insecurity can lead to all sorts of bad behavior, like:

– Micromanaging

Constantly second-guessing employees

– Taking credit for employees’ work

– Trying to make employees look bad

Usually, this behavior is a way for the boss to make themselves feel better. But it does nothing but make employees feel bad.

3. They’re Insecure:

A lot of the time, bad boss behavior stems from insecurity. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Insecurity is human.

But when it manifests in the workplace, it can be destructive. Insecure bosses might:

– Get threatened by strong employees

– Need constant validation

– Feel the need to be in control at all times

– Make everything about themselves

This behavior often leads to the boss taking all the credit for their employees’ hard work. And it can make it difficult for employees to feel like they’re doing a good job.

4. They Have A Bad Temper:

A bad temper is one of the most common reasons bosses treat employees badly. And it’s not hard to see why.

When you’re in a position of power, it’s easy to let your emotions get the best of you.

And when you have a bad temper, it’s even easier to lash out at those lower on the totem pole.

If your boss has a bad temper, they might:

– Yell or scream at employees

– Throw things

– Threaten employees

– Make impulsive decisions

This behavior can be really scary for employees. And it often leads to a lot of stress and anxiety.

5. They’re Unhappy With Their Job:

It’s not uncommon for bosses to be unhappy with their job. After all, they’re responsible for a lot of people.

And sometimes, that responsibility can be overwhelming. If your boss is unhappy with their job, they might:

– Take it out on their employees

Boss is unhappy - why do bosses treat employees badly

– Be short with their employees

– Make unreasonable demands

– Micromanage their employees

But do employees deserve to be badly treated because their boss is unhappy? Not.

This is one of the most unfair reasons for bad boss behavior.

6. They Are Narcissists:

Narcissism is a personality disorder characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance and a need for admiration.

And while not all bosses are narcissists, some are. If your boss is a narcissist, they might:

– Get obsessed with power

Be uninterested in other people’s opinions

– Feel the need to be the center of attention

– Be overly critical

– Be uncooperative

Narcissistic bosses make their employees’ lives a living hell. And they often create a toxic work environment.

7. They’re Control Freaks:

Some bosses are control freaks. They need to be in control of everything and everyone.

If your boss is a control freak, they try to micromanage their employees. They might also:

– Be inflexible

– Be unwilling to delegate

– Try to be perfectionist

But controlling everything means that bosses often miss out on the big picture. And it can make them difficult to work for.

8. They’re Selfish:

Selfishness is another common trait of bad bosses. And it often manifests in the form of greed.

If your boss is selfish, they might:

– Be stingy with raises or bonuses

– Hoard information

– Take credit for their employees’ work

– Make decisions that are solely based on their own needs

Selfish bosses only care about themselves. And they often don’t hesitate to step on their employees to get ahead.

9. They’re Incompetent:

Incompetence is another common reason for bad boss behavior. And it’s often the root cause of many other problems on this list.

Incompetency means that the boss thinks they know everything. But in reality, they have no idea what they’re doing.

If your boss is incompetent, they might:

– Make poor decisions

Be disorganized

– Be unable to delegate

And since incompetency is not affordable in any workplace, they fear termination. And in the disguise of this fear, they treat their employees badly.

10. They’re Just Plain Mean:

Some bosses are plain mean. They derive pleasure from making their employees’ lives miserable.

If your boss is mean, they might:

– Bully their employees

– Play mind games

Employees' lives miserable - why do bosses treat employees badly

– Make snide comments

– Spread rumors

– Gossip about their employees

Mean bosses are the worst. And they often make working life a nightmare for their employees.

11. Toxic Work Culture:

Sometimes it’s the culture that’s to blame for bad boss behavior. Bad behavior is often tolerated or even encouraged in a toxic work environment.

If you work in a toxic environment, you might:

– Be afraid to speak up

– Feel like you have to put up with bad behavior

– See other employees being badly treated

– Be afraid of retaliation

A toxic work environment can make it impossible to do your job. And it’s often the root cause of bad boss behavior.

12. They Abuse Their Power:

Some bosses are new at the power game. They’re not used to being in a position of authority. And they often abuse their power.

And while they think they’re being assertive, they’re being abusive. If your boss is abusing their power, they might:

– Yell at their employees

– Threaten their employees

– Make unrealistic demands

Publicly humiliate their employees

Abusing their power is a surefire way to make their employees hate them. And it’s often the reason for bad boss behavior.

13. Their Boss Treats Them Like This:

It’s a generational thing. Their bosses may not well treat your boss, and they’re just passing it down the totem pole. If your boss is being treated badly, they might:

– Be afraid of their boss

– Take their bad mood out on their employees

– Make unreasonable demands

– Be overly critical

When your boss is treated badly, it often trickles down to the employees. And that’s why it’s important to nip it in the bud.

14. Their Bosses In The Past Treated Them Badly:

Not current ones, but their bosses in the past have treated them badly. And they don’t have the empathy left for their employees now.

If your boss has been badly treated in the past, they might:

– Have a chip on their shoulder

– Be resentful of their employees

– Be quick to anger

– Hold grudges

When your boss has been badly treated, it often affects their current behavior. And that’s why it’s important to be aware of it.

15. They’re Going Through A Rough Patch:

Sometimes, bosses are just having a bad day. And that’s understandable. Everyone has bad days.

But when bosses take out their bad mood on their employees, it’s not okay. If your boss is having a bad day, they might:

– Be short with you

– Speak to you in a condescending tone

– Make unreasonable demands

– Dismiss your concerns

– Be unresponsive to your needs

16. They Hate The Team:

When a boss hates their team, it’s often because they’re not performing up to par. If your boss hates the team, they might:

– Over criticize them

Not  performing up to par

Play favorites

– Give them the silent treatment

– Set them up to fail

Hating the team is a surefire way to make the employees hate the boss. This cycle of negativity needs to be well addressed as soon as possible.

17. They Think Low Of Everyone Else:

That’s the most common reason for bad boss behavior. They think poorly of their employees and don’t think twice about treating them badly.

When you don’t think anyone else is good enough, it’s easy to be a bad boss. You might:

– Be condescending

– Talk down to your employees

– Make unreasonable demands

– Be unresponsive to their concerns

Bad bosses often think they’re the only ones who are good enough. Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list.

There are plenty of other reasons why bosses might treat their employees badly. But these are some of the most common ones.

What To Do If Boss Treats You Badly

If you’re being treated badly by your boss, it’s important to take action. Here are some things you can do:

1. Talk To Boss:

The first step is to talk to your boss. It’s possible that they’re not aware of their behavior. And if you don’t say anything, they’ll never know.

However, it is also possible that they are aware of their behavior and don’t care. In which case, you might need to take further action.

You can start by saying, “I’m not sure if you’re aware, but I feel like you’ve been treating me badly. 

Is there something going on that I don’t know about?” This will allow your boss to explain their behavior or even apologize.

2. Keep A Record:

If your boss consistently treats you badly, keeping a record is important. This will come in handy if you decide to take further action.

Keeping a record

Start by keeping a journal. Every time your boss does something that bothers you, write it down. Include the date, time, and what happened.

You can also keep emails, text messages, or other documentation to help prove your case.

3. Talk To HR:

If talking to your boss doesn’t work, the next step is to speak to HR. They will be able to investigate the situation and take appropriate action.

For instance, they might speak to your boss about their behavior. Or they might put together a formal complaint.

Either way, HR will be able to help you resolve the situation.

Final Word:

Why do bosses treat employees badly? Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to that question.

But hopefully, this article has shed some light on the matter. If your boss treats you badly, it’s important to speak up.

And if you witness bad boss behavior, it’s important to say something. We all have a responsibility to create a positive work environment.

Last Updated on 6 hours by Shahzaib Arshad

Shahzaib Arshad
Follow me

Leave a Comment