Ten Things Only Terrible Bosses Say


Ten Things Only Bad Bosses Say

  1. I don’t make the rulesI just enforce them
  2. If you don’t want the job, I’ll find somebody who does
  3. Just make it happenand don’t screw it up
  4. That sounds like a personal problem
  5. If I wanted your opinion I’d ask for it
  6. You’re lucky to have a job
  7. I don’t want to hear about problemsnot unless you’ve got a solution
  8. We’ve always done it this way
  9. You can be replaced in a heartbeat
  10. Because I’m the bossthat’s why

I don’t make the rules  I just enforce them

Everyone understands that a manager doesn’t make all the company’s policies, but that doesn’t mean that he or she must blindly enforce rules that make no sense.

If you point out an inconsistency in a policy or a reason why your situation should represent an exception to the standard rules, it is your bosses’s job to bring that issue up to someone at a level to attend to it. If your manager won’t do that, it’s because he or she is afraid to make waves  and thus not someone who deserves your talents.

If you don’t want the job, I’ll find somebody who does

“If you don’t want the job, I’ll find someone who does” is the mantra of fearful managers everywhere. It means “Stop expecting me to rise to being human, because I cannot. I am stuck in fear and must try to keep you fearful as well  by threatening to fire you!”

Just make it happen  and don’t screw it up

When your boss lays an impossible goal on you and then doesn’t want to brainstorm about the best way to reach the goal, it means they only care about one thing. They care about getting in trouble from their own boss if the goal isn’t met  and that’s why your bad manager will try to frighten you into hitting the target rather than coaching you on how to do it.


That sounds like a personal problem

A lousy boss wills say “That sounds like a personal problem” when you mention that you have a perfectly reasonable conflict coming up between your work schedule and your personal life. A manager who doesn’t value your obligations outside of work is not someone you can afford to work for much longer!

You deserve a boss who knows that your life outside of work is at least as important as the work you perform in your job.

If I wanted your opinion I’d ask for it

Managers who are so fearful that they can’t stand to think one of their subordinates might have a good idea will not listen to your suggestions. Instead, they’ll tell you “If I wanted your opinion I would ask for it!” This is another favorite adage for an out-of-their-depth, incompetent manager who should not be responsible for leading other people  especially not you!

You’re lucky to have a job

When a lousy manager really gets freaked out by something you or someone else does or says, they will go for the jugular by saying “You’re lucky to have a job!” Of course, it is not true. You are not lucky to have a job.

You are capable and smart, so it’s not the least bit surprising that you have a job. A manager who can form their lips and tongue to tell a team member “You’re lucky to have a job” is a terribly insecure person who probably wonders how long they can hang onto their own position!

I don’t want to hear about problems  not unless you’ve got a solution

Maybe at one time back in the Industrial Age it made sense to tell employees “Don’t bring me problems  bring me solutions!” Now it is nonsensical and shows a manager’s lack of experience and judgment. If you knew the solution to a complex problem in your business, you would bring the solution to your manager along with news of the problem itself.

However, more and more these days good solutions involve group brainstorming and often several other departments and areas of expertise in addition to your own. It isn’t responsible to tell employees “Don’t bring me problems  only solutions!” unless you want your team members to keep quiet about looming problems that they don’t personally have ideal solutions for. Also, it’s lazy.

We’ve always done it this way

Just because an organization has always done something one way doesn’t mean it’s the best way to do it. Experimentation and re-evaluation of processes is a feature of every successful business. The real world is constantly changing. Processes have to change, too! If your manager tells you not to question the practices your organization follows, he or she is a terrible manager.

You can be replaced in a heartbeat

More fear-mongering from an insecure boss who might be afraid of getting singed by your growing flame!

Because I’m the boss  that’s why

When a bad boss has tried and failed to shut you up and shut you down, they will simply tell you that they are the boss and you are not, and therefore they are right and you are wrong. Run away from a person like this, as fast as your legs and your resume will carry you!


By Liz Ryan, CEO/founder of Human Workplace and author of Reinvention Roadmap.


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