You might not be one of the lucky ones who found a good job and a good boss in your career... yet. Chances are you're currently in a good job with a bad boss or a bad job with a good boss — which I think is normal at some point in your life, especially if you're still in the early stages (or not) of your career. Truthfully, the concept of a "bad boss" is foreign to me; I've never really understood what it meant until I dive in the experience, face first. Guess I'm not included in the chosen ones.
Your Boss Is Not A Leader
While I understand that there is no definitive set of attributes of what makes up a not-so-great boss (it's different for everyone, I agree), here's some I picked up over the years while people-watching and chipping my nails:
The Professional Nagger
An employee gets a job because his/her skills and abilities were able to meet the qualifications for the role. A manager that dictates everything that an employee has to do (because that's how he/she does things) is already a red label in terms of personal development and growth. Last time you checked, you applied to be an employee, not a puppet, right?
There's Only "I" In The Team
How many times have you heard your boss say, "I"? A good boss should be one who leads the team where his employees can follow suit, but this does not mean his decisions are always right. The ideal boss conducts brainstorming sessions with his team to get input and suggestions to consider all the time. Two heads (or more) are always better than one.
We Got Thrown Under The Bus
This scenario is a classic: A project went bad and will eventually hit the fan. A bad manager will play the blame game and seek someone from the team to point his/her finger just to save face. A good boss will take full accountability on behalf of the team.
No Taps On The Back
A good boss is a good motivator. He/she commends his team for a job well-done, or even if a situation went bad, he/she's the first to lift their spirits up. A terrible boss would probably be a walking signage, reminding you to do your job... or else.
How many times have you heard words such as "promotion" or a "raise"? Then it all ends up forgotten and you're left with deafening silence. A good boss is always after his employees' growth, not piling up false promises.
Assumes You're Always "On Call"
A terrible manager does not know the concept of "weekends", "holidays" or "beyond working hours". Everyone needs their break.
You Don't Earn What You Sow
A good manager doesn't think twice about rewarding employees (i.e. performance bonuses and perks) who work hard and provide invaluable work to the company. Employees should be paid accordingly based on their performance and should be treated fairly because the truth is, they're the lifeblood of the business.
What To Do?
If your boss has a few of these unhealthy work traits, don't abandon ship yet. I've been a firm believer that communication and transparency are keys to a good working relationship, not only with your boss but to everyone you work with. I also do understand that there can be instances for some situations to get blown out of proportion — it happens. Don't feel bad about it. You're only human, after all. These situations do have its advantages, like for your boss to actually know that you have feelings, for one. Secondly, that you genuinely, passionately care about your job.
What I strongly suggest is you communicate your pain points to your boss. Do not beat around the bush; it doesn't work. Be direct and firm instead. Over the years, I've had superiors who told me that directness is valued a lot more than sugar-coating things. So that's what I've been doing since then. It takes courage to stand up for what you believe in, and trust me, you'll be respected far more than what you've expected. Never be afraid to voice out your opinions if you think that they're a. reasonable, b. will address your issues and c. be beneficial to the rest of the team moving forward. I'm not suggesting to bite your boss's' head off or be a rebel. There are limitations. Be diplomatic when you communicate your issues. But what if that won't work anymore? Then be my guest and flare up. Remember, though, that it could cost you something... or you might actually win something. Every boss is different. Some can be understanding while some will fight you because they have their own battles to win too.
Side Note: Hey, reader. I know I should be telling you all the right things (and positive ones) about everything, but I've always been real with what I write (and all things in general) and that will never change.