Navigating the dynamics with a new boss can be challenging, so Style My Soul sought insights from seasoned professionals including Team Leads and CEOs to pinpoint red flags you shouldn’t overlook.
Beware of Blame Shifting
I think one of the biggest red flags in boss behavior is blaming someone for a mistake. This means several things. First, the boss does not care about the development of his subordinates because he is not focused on solving the problem, and therefore on the growth of his subordinates, but is focused on his position in the company and the impression he makes on his superiors. Second, this behavior means there is a high probability that in the event of a failure on a project, such a boss will be inclined to place all the blame on one of his subordinates, regardless of whether you work in a team or not. Third, such behavior increases toxicity in relationships within the team because employees often follow the example of their boss, which means that there will be no trusting relationships between colleagues, and it also contributes to the fact that employees begin to be afraid to take responsibility, which means the inevitable degradation of the entire team’s productivity. I strongly recommend not working in teams with such a leader. - Viktoria Dolzhenko, Team Lead, Itez
Notice One-Way Communication
One red flag that employees shouldn’t ignore when working with a new boss is the lack of meaningful communication. In today’s dynamic terrain, effective communication is vital in any work relationship, but when it becomes one-way, it raises concerns. Employees need to pay attention to whether their new boss engages in conversations beyond work-related topics or not. If the boss only communicates about tasks at hand, provides feedback without constructive suggestions for improvement, or seems disinterested in building a rapport, it shows their lack of interest in getting to know their workforce on a personal level and a lack of empathy. While it’s understandable that not every boss can instantly build a deep personal connection, a genuine effort to grasp the interests and aspirations of the team members is crucial for fostering a positive working relationship. Once identified, collaborative measures can be taken to address and mitigate this concern.
- Darsha Patel, Associate Consultant, NamanHR
In employment law cases, a common early red flag is a new boss showing a disregard for boundaries, both professional and personal. This often shows up as excessive after-hours communication, unreasonable demands on personal time, or disrespect for work-life balance. Such behavior can adversely affect employee well-being and may signal wider issues of poor management and potential legal concerns in the workplace. Recognizing and addressing these boundary issues from the outset can help prevent more serious problems later on.
- Jeremy Pasternak, Founding Attorney, The Law Offices of Jeremy Pasternak
Value Work-Life Balance
One red flag that employees shouldn’t ignore when working with a new boss is a lack of respect for work-life balance. While dedication and hard work are important, a boss who consistently disregards the boundaries between work and personal life can be a cause for concern. If your new boss frequently expects you to work long hours, consistently interrupts your time off, or shows a lack of understanding for personal commitments, it may indicate a potential disregard for employee well-being. This can lead to burnout, decreased job satisfaction, and a negative impact on your overall work-life balance. It’s crucial to prioritize your own well-being and set boundaries early on. Have open conversations with your boss about your expectations for work-life balance and gauge their response. A supportive and understanding boss will respect your boundaries and prioritize the well-being of their employees. - Connor Ondriska, Co-Founder and CEO, SpanishVIP
In any managerial relationship, micromanagement is a classic warning sign. If your new supervisor is overly interested in the specifics of your work, constantly checks on your progress, or does not trust you to make decisions, it can be suffocating. This behavior may indicate a lack of trust in your abilities and impede your professional development. In order to create an environment where everyone feels trusted and accountable, good leaders delegate responsibilities and encourage their team members to own them. It is important to address the matter if you feel constantly monitored and questioned.
- Cindi Keller, Communications Coordinator, The Criminal Defense Firm
Assess Team Turnover
Frequent turnover within a team is a notable red flag that raises concerns about the effectiveness of leadership within an organization. When employees are consistently departing at an alarming rate, it often suggests underlying issues with the boss’s management style, communication practices, or decision-making processes. This pattern can create a disruptive and unstable work environment, impacting team morale and overall productivity.
To navigate this red flag, employees should proactively seek to understand the reasons behind the high turnover. Assessing the stability and health of the work environment becomes crucial in determining whether the leadership is fostering a positive and sustainable workplace culture. By identifying the root causes of employee departures, individuals can gain insights into potential organizational challenges and make informed decisions about their professional engagement within the company.
- Brian C. Stewart, Litigation Attorney, Parker & McConkie