Signs that You Can’t Trust Your Boss

Are you questioning whether your boss is trustworthy? Let me share with you some of the common signs that you can’t trust your boss and maybe then you can answer your own question.

Welcome to the Going to Work Series – Article 2 – Signs that You Can’t Trust Your Boss. Everyone knows that working in a toxic environment is very stressful. What makes it even worse is when the cause of the toxicity is your boss. In this article I will point out common signs that your boss may be untrustworthy. If there are other signs that you’ve witnessed, feel free to share them with us by leaving a comment in the comment section below.

Availability (or lack thereof)

Is your boss rarely in the office? Or, when they are in the office, do they make themselves inaccessible? Constantly being unavailable to staff to answer questions or help with issues that may arise makes it difficult to trust them to “have your back” when or if the times get tough.

Micro-Managing

Does your boss micro-manage the staff? You might want to ask yourself why. They should be able to trust that you are doing the job you were hired to do without watching every move you make. It’s understandable that they want to know what is going on within their company but there is a fine line between spying and simply wanting to know what’s going on.

Gossip
Gossiping

Does your boss talk to you about your peers? If the answer is yes, chances are they talk about you to them as well. It is inappropriate for a boss to discuss an employee with another employee for the sake of gossip. If there’s something you need to know, for example, “Jane will be out unexpectedly for a few days, you will need to pick up her work”, it’s understandable that they would talk to you about it, however, if they say that Jane will be out because she’s had a nervous breakdown, that is simply gossip and should not be tolerated.

Give Credit Where Credit is Due

Does your boss take credit for your work? Do they throw you under the bus in order to make themselves look good? This type of behavior breeds resentment. They don’t realize (or care) that a trusted and valued leader looks better in the eyes of everyone when their employees succeed.

Making Decisions that are Only in their Best Interest

Things tend to work better when you work together as a team. However, if the boss is making decisions or changing rules mid-stream to suit their best interest then they are showing you that they are not truly a team player. This could also be a sign of psychopathic behavior (see the book Snakes in Suits by Paul Babiak, PH.D. and Robert D. Hare, PH.D.)

Signs of Insecurity

Insecurity is never a good thing, especially if it is the boss who is insecure. A boss with a low self-esteem may take their insecurities out on you. If your boss is overly boisterous it may be their way of masking their insecurity. Insecurity may be inflamed by competence in others if they perceive them as a threat. If your boss is more concerned about appearances than performance it is cause for concern.

Making an Example out of Staff

Does the boss tend to make an example out of employees in front of others? Do they embarrass people in staff meetings? Their role is to educate, not belittle. If this is happening to you, you should request a meeting with the boss in private and explain to them how that makes you feel and request that if they have an issue with something you’ve done, they discuss it with you privately.

Boss’ Pet

Does the boss have a pet? Is there someone in the office that constantly gets away with things that no one else would dream of doing? Or maybe there’s someone who always gets the “good” assignments and/or promotions when there are others that are more deserving. Not only does it cause distrust in your boss, but it can lead to resentment of the person who is perceived to be the “boss’ pet.”

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

Has your boss made decisions that affect the whole company without discussing them with anyone? For example, are they changing the entire format of how things are done within the company without any input from the staff? When they’re asked about the changes, do they avoid answering the questions? This could be a sign that they’re hiding something.

Flip-Flop

No, not the kind you wear on your feet. I’m talking about saying one thing and doing another. Has your boss ever told you that they would stand behind your decision but the moment someone pushes back, they change their mind and instruct you to change yours as well? Not only does this anger you, you also lose any respect or trust you may have had for your boss.

Document

If you truly suspect that your boss is untrustworthy, I strongly encourage you to document instances where they’ve exhibited questionable behavior. There may come a time when you will need that documentation to back you up. Don’t count of your memory, or the memory of others to recall every detail.

Conclusion

No workplace is perfect and I’m not saying that you should suspect your boss of being untrustworthy just because they are a boss. However, if you are seeing a few of these signs that you can’t trust your boss I would most definitely start paying closer attention. I would also consider looking for another job. Most people go to work and want to be left alone to do their job. They don’t want to constantly have to watch their back in order to earn a living.

As always, please feel free to share your opinion or leave comments below.

Stay tuned for next week’s article about Signs that you Can’t Trust Your Co-Workers. Until then, please be safe my friends.

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