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Tough Manager or Tyrant? When the Boss Is a Bully, or Worse

FlourishAnyway is an industrial/organizational psychologist with applied experience in corporate human resources and consulting.

Aww, good morning, Sunshine!  What a way to break a person's spirit.

Aww, good morning, Sunshine! What a way to break a person's spirit.

Know the Difference: Tough Manager, Bully, or Illegal Harasser?

Managers can build you up or break your spirit. However, when it comes to bad ones, there are key differences between tough managers, bullies, and illegal harassers. If you think you work for one of them, it is important to be able to tell the difference so you can make the right choices for yourself.

The Tough Manager

A manager who is demanding in addressing an employee's legitimate performance issues is simply doing his job, provided that the feedback he offers is professional.

The tough manager wants to drive performance, but he (or she) comes across as overbearing in his approach. He may lament privately that the employee is unwilling to take sufficient personal responsibility for performance shortfalls.

However, this is a manager who has not effectively persuaded his employee of the legitimacy of that employee's performance gap, or he has neglected other key communication factors.

The tough manager wants to drive performance but may lack some skill.

The tough manager wants to drive performance but may lack some skill.

Got Skills?

When a manager is less skilled in providing negative performance feedback, an employee may trust neither the manager nor the message. The manager harms his credibility when he doesn't plan the conversation, issues overly general feedback, or shows frustration.

Additionally, the manager harms his credibility when he criticizes the employee publicly, waits too long to address a performance gap, or engages in a monologue with no employee buy-in. What results, then, is a pattern of increasingly tougher performance messages to get his initial point across. Both sides become irritated, and the relationship suffers.

A manager can harm his credibility when he doesn't plan his feedback conversation, issues overly general feedback, or shows a lot of frustration towards the employee.

A manager can harm his credibility when he doesn't plan his feedback conversation, issues overly general feedback, or shows a lot of frustration towards the employee.

Effective Feedback

Suppose a manager genuinely seeks to coach an employee to higher levels of performance. In that case, he should offer feedback that is reasonable, specific (i.e., supported by examples) and incorporates an active path for improvement.

Delivery should be respectful, private, and timely. Conversation must be two-way, so the employee has buy-in, and it should allow the employee an opportunity to voice his perspective and clarify his understanding.

When a tough manager delivers feedback fairly in this way, he communicates that he has the employee's best interests at heart.

Yelling is a big sign your boss is a bully.

Yelling is a big sign your boss is a bully.

The Bully Boss

The bully boss, in contrast, is a super-sized version of the schoolyard bully. Self-interested, he feels envious and threatened by an employee's competence or likability.

The bully boss seeks to undermine and destabilize the employee to regain control. He adopts a targeted pattern of psychological aggression, abusing his power through repeated efforts to intentionally threaten and demean his "target" (i.e., the employee who becomes the focus of his negative attention).1

Temper, temper. The Bully Boss uses fear, smoke, and mirrors to control his target.

Temper, temper. The Bully Boss uses fear, smoke, and mirrors to control his target.

Fear, Smoke, and Mirrors

Above all, the bully boss fears being exposed. Compare him to the wizard in The Wizard of Oz—that little, trembling man who hid behind a large curtain of flames, bellowing demands.2

Managing the target becomes a manipulative game of confidence and control for the bully boss. Intending to inflict harm, he uses aggressive tactics that are repeated, enduring, and increasing in severity.3 His approach may include:

  • setting unrealistic demands and deadlines; overwork
  • micromanaging the "what" and "how" of the target's job
  • displaying nonverbal hostility (e.g., stares, glares, eye rolls, refusal to make eye contact)
  • scapegoating
  • treating subordinates inconsistently
  • swearing and/or yelling at the target and
  • isolating the target socially, physically, or informationally.
Managing the target becomes a manipulative game of confidence and control for the Bully Boss.  It's all about power.

Managing the target becomes a manipulative game of confidence and control for the Bully Boss. It's all about power.

Around 26% of bullying is accounted for by 1% of the employee population, those who are Corporate Psychopaths.

— Journal of Business Ethics

Exploiting Power

The bully boss exploits the power that his management position provides him, knowing that he largely controls the terms and conditions of his target's employment. He understands that as a manager, he can make the target's job satisfying or pure hell, and he effectively leverages this to his advantage.

The manager can substantially impact many aspects of his subordinate's work: job assignments, availability of resources, access to training, vacation and time off, discipline, compensation, performance ratings, and promotions.

If it feels like this, you've got trouble. True power mongers exploit their role, knowing that as managers they control the terms and conditions of employees' work.

If it feels like this, you've got trouble. True power mongers exploit their role, knowing that as managers they control the terms and conditions of employees' work.

A Master at Manipulation

Being a master manipulator, the bully may have endeared himself to HR or other decision makers to whom his target may complain. He may deceive them into being accomplices by planting gossip in the organization that the employee is a performance issue, not a team player, or is otherwise an undesirable employee. In this way, the bully boss seeks to inoculate himself against potential complaints.

Additionally, he may recruit subordinates to support him in generating complaints against the employee.4 These employees may cooperate in the smear campaign against the target, either because they are naïve or they fear that if they do not, they could be next.

It is not unusual to see a bully boss with a history of previous targets. Without swift and decisive intervention by the company, the situation often degenerates at the expense of the target's mental and physical health and career.

Bullies and bad bosses can take all forms—young, old, male, or female.

Bullies and bad bosses can take all forms—young, old, male, or female.

Mental Health and Bully Behavior

Emerging research suggests linkages between psychopathology and such Bully Boss behavior. One study found that "around 26% of bullying is accounted for by 1% of the employee population, those who are Corporate Psychopaths."5

Psychopaths are distinguished by a syndrome of personality attributes: charm, charisma, fearlessness, ruthlessness, narcissism, persuasiveness, and a lack of conscience.6

While such attributes make psychopaths potentially treacherous to interact with, they also position them well for success in today's super-competitive business climate, according to Kevin Dutton, Ph.D., author of The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success.

Accordingly, the top professions that attract psychopaths are often those with high power and capacity for influence: CEO, lawyer, media (television/radio), salesperson, surgeon, journalist, police officer, clergyperson, chef, and civil servant.

Psychopath or not, a Bully Boss is probably low on empathy.

Psychopath or not, a Bully Boss is probably low on empathy.

All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men [or good women] do nothing.

— Edmund Burke

Not all bullies are psychopaths, of course. However, if you're dealing with a Bully Boss, chances are they run very low on empathy, the ability to understand and identify with another person's perspective, feelings, and challenges.

While bullying represents psychological abuse of an employee, simply being a Bully Boss is not against the law in the United States. Attempts to introduce anti-bullying employment legislation have thus far failed to materialize.7

Workplace bullying is still legal in every U.S. state.

Workplace bullying is still legal in every U.S. state.

Not Illegal Behavior . . . Yet

HR departments tend to be reluctant to label a manager a "bully" and take decisive action precisely because it is not illegal behavior. In addition, bullying is often a matter of perception. For example, one person's definition of scapegoating can be another's version of not taking personal accountability.

Unless a target is well supported by documentation and corroborating witnesses when he complains, bullying is all too easy to explain away as mere miscommunication, differences in personality or work style, or the subordinate's poor performance.

Complaints are more likely to be successful when targets reference a specific violation of company policy and have witnesses and documentation to support them. Targets who have encountered health-related effects sometimes also complain of intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Illegal harassment is hate based on demographics.  You don't have to put up with it.

Illegal harassment is hate based on demographics. You don't have to put up with it.

Nothing strengthens authority as much as silence.

— Leonardo da Vinci

The Illegal Harasser

Hate Based on Demographics

Whereas the bully boss is motivated by personal malice towards an employee (e.g., jealousy), The Illegal Harasser is motivated by the disdain of a given demographic category.

He may scorn the target because she is female or disabled, or African American, for example. These, however, are legally protected demographic or personal factors. If an employee complains of this type of bullying, an employer must take notice by investigating promptly and taking appropriate corrective action.

Discrimination and Harassment

By harassing an employee, such a boss is potentially engaging in employment discrimination, in violation of civil rights statutes, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), or Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).

Harassment is defined by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as "unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information."8

Specific state and sometimes local laws outline additional legally protected factors, so check the Equal Employment Opportunity laws in your particular area. (State equal employment opportunity commissions may be called the state Division on Civil Rights, the Department of Human Rights, or similar titles.)

Hey, eyes up  here, fella. Sexual harassment is against the law.

Hey, eyes up here, fella. Sexual harassment is against the law.

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), examples of illegally harassing behaviors that are based on one's sex, race, or other protected category include unwelcome

  • jokes, slurs, epithets, and name calling;
  • threats, intimidation, and physical assaults;
  • ridicule or mockery, insults or put-downs;
  • offensive objects or pictures; and
  • interference with work performance.
You don't have to tolerate illegal harassment or discrimination. Stand up for yourself.

You don't have to tolerate illegal harassment or discrimination. Stand up for yourself.

According to the EEOC, harassment becomes unlawful when an employee must

  1. put up with this offensive behavior to keep his job, or
  2. the harasser's conduct is so severe or persistent that it creates a work environment that a reasonable person would consider it intimidating, hostile, or abusive.

Minor and one-off comments or incidents of teasing are considered rude and unprofessional. However, they typically do not rise to the level of illegal harassment.

Anti-discrimination laws forbid harassment against individuals in retaliation for filing a charge of discrimination, participating in an investigation, proceeding, or lawsuit, or opposing employment practices that they reasonably believe are discriminatory.

Refer to the EEOC's website for more information on illegal workplace harassment (including sexual harassment), which can be committed by supervisors and others. Knowing the difference between the illegal harasser, bully boss, and tough manager is an important part of flourishing in the face of adversity.

Bullies are master manipulators.  If you find yourself stressed out by what you are experiencing at work, know that you are not alone.  Seek support outside of the workplace, such as from a licensed clinical psychologist.

Bullies are master manipulators. If you find yourself stressed out by what you are experiencing at work, know that you are not alone. Seek support outside of the workplace, such as from a licensed clinical psychologist.

Additional Reading on HR Issues in the Workplace

Questions about whether your boss is a bully, a tough boss or an illegal harasser?  Consult your HR professional or an attorney.

Questions about whether your boss is a bully, a tough boss or an illegal harasser? Consult your HR professional or an attorney.


1UK National Workplace Bullying Advice Line. "What is bullying? Types of bullying, bullies tactics, how bullies select their victims, the difference between bullying and harassment." Bully OnLine. Accessed October 19, 2012.

2Johnson, Whitney, "Bullying is a confidence game." July 13, 2012, (Accessed March 5, 2013).

3"Workplace Bullying and Disruptive Behavior." Labor & Industries (L&I), Washington State, April, 2011. Accessed March 4, 2013.

4"Bullying of Academics in Higher Education: Why Does [ACADEMIC] Mobbing Take Place?" Bullying of Academics in Higher Education. Last modified October 14, 2008.

5Boddy, Clive R. "Corporate Psychopaths, Bullying and Unfair Supervision in the Workplace." Journal of Business Ethics 100, no. 3 (2010): 367-379.

6Dutton, Kevin. The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success. New York: Scientific American/Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012.

7Namie, Gary. "The Healthy Workplace Bill - Workplace Bullying Legislation for the U.S." The Workplace Bullying Institute. Accessed March 4, 2013.

8Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. "Harassment." EEOC Home Page. Accessed March 4, 2013.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

Question: My boss sent me a few text messages threatening my life. Is this a form of harassment?

Answer: That is a threat of workplace violence, and it's extremely serious. Immediately contact your local police department. Safety first. Make sure you save those text messages. Also contact HR ASAP and ensure that they loop in your Company's Security department.

Question: Can I apply for unemployment if the company has retaliated against me?

Answer: It depends on how your employer has allegedly retaliated against you. If it has allegedly retaliated by discharging you or significantly reducing hours, then file for unemployment. There's really no downside to filing for unemployment other that getting denied.

Check the requirements in your state for filing, as requirements vary by state. If you go during a non-busy time, you may find that a counselor with the unemployment bureau can be very helpful in completing the claim. I'd do it that way rather than online.

© 2013 FlourishAnyway


FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on October 11, 2019:

Anonymous - It may be helpful for you to get a developmental 360-degree feedback assessment in consultation with an outside consultant so the results are certain not to impact your career and you can develop an action plan accordingly. Your point about communicating concerns about management style to the bully boss are well taken, but also be aware that the target has to be ready to receive the message. Not everyone is a listener, particularly when they don't have to hear negative information like this about themselves. I'm glad you're internalizing it and trying to change. Don't let it destroy you. Request much more information in a guided, productive way and listen.

Anonymous on October 10, 2019:

I found this because I did a search on ‘employees say I’m a bully’ I’m actually sick to my stomach over the things they say behind my back bc I didn’t realize I was being a bully I considered myself a ‘tough manager’. ive since learned that I lack empathy and I’m searching to figure out why and how to change that. I’ve been reading a lot about it and practicing. For those who have bully bosses, I hope you are trying to ‘manage or lead up’ to help them become aware.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 30, 2019:

Pecooper - Thanks. on May 30, 2019:

Read it

Kenneth Avery on June 20, 2017:

Dear FlourishAnyway,

I worked for 23 years for this one paper combined with another paper that went in business in 1979 and "this" editor (the one who used me so much) hired me there thinking that the other paper would have better working conditions.

How wrong I was.

This paper went bankrupt in 1988, but the editor somehow managed to land on his feet, naturally, and I depended on odd jobs and in two years, this very same editor hired me for the paper where I started and lo and behold, I still do not know why or what caused what once a warm soul and caring man, started talking down to me and others, abusing his power, and the owner of the paper would not do anything to remedy this.

But I can tell you that on THAT great day of reckoning, when all of our accounts will be settled by THE PERFECT JUDGE, I can only pray that "this" abusive person would see what he not only did to me but to others laying down the way.

Love you.


FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 20, 2017:

Paula, You sound like the Boss Lady everyone wants. That's so nice that your staff appreciated you in return like you described. I've had some great bosses, coworkers, and direct reports and some really, horribly, awful ones, too. I've even had more than one boss who was simply incompent and on their own management's radar for performance issues. Ugh. That wasn't easy being their direct report because they'd give poor quality advice or commands or request lots of help with their own work. Stuff does roll downhill. Glad you're retired now, and I'm glad I'm no longer in the corporate world.

Suzie from Carson City on June 20, 2017:

F.A......What? No list of songs about Bosses?? LOL OK, I see this is some serious stuff you bring us today~~and "Superb," I might add. So well-written as all of your work is. I thoroughly enjoyed this. Caused me to think back.

In my younger days, the only "bosses" (so-to-speak) were family, since I worked in the family business. Not a problem with anyone. They handed out the duties and I got to work!

Once I hit the big bad outside world, I was initially hired on as part of a management team. Although we all had to report to the Big Guy, of course, we were pretty much left to handle the front line, as well as keep watch over one another.

As I rose in rank and actually became the Boss Lady, .....well, let's boasting allowed? Did my staff like and respect me? No. They LOVED and respected me LOL. Every year for 6 yrs in a row, on Boss's Day, they: Came in an hr. early to decorate my office, brought in a fabulous buffet luncheon for all of us, to include cake & ice cream. I got a beautiful card signed by each and every one with a lovely comment and they pitched in to give me flowers & candy. Is that SWEET or what? Bunch of little brown-nosers, wouldn't you say?? LOL. I have those cards and I cherish them. After 12 yrs in retirement, many of them still touch base with me.

I was not "easy" on them at work, by any stretch but I was fair and precise. They never had to wonder what I meant or what I expected of them. I lucked out with a group of mature, hard-working and professional people.

I've heard some tales from friends of mine about the Bosses from Hell. Between you and me, F.A.....why on earth do people need to be that way? Seriously. If your employees are so awful, you must be a brute, maybe you chose the wrong people, didn't train them well or just don't appreciate their value. In any event, The more of a hard A$$ you are, the less they'll TRY.....or I could be wrong.

As for berating an employee in public? Huge No NO. Isn't this why the Boss has a private office?.....Really Great article! Thanks...Paula

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 20, 2017:

Kenneth, I'm sorry for just replying, as you left your comment 9 days ago, but somehow it was mistakenly marked as spam. I'm glad I saw this now. I'm sorry about your bad experience, but do know that you're not alone. I'm convinced that good or bad, people do get what they have coming to them. Sometimes it just takes longer than we expect and comes in a surprising form. I wish you peace and health in all aspects of your life.

Kenneth Avery on June 10, 2017:

Hello, again, Flourish,

Just touched on this hub once more to gain more insight on just how accurate you were in collecting your data.

Tamara touched on a noun "bullying" that touched my nerve as I surveyed my 23 years with the same weekly newspaper, all but a four-year stint when the editor and I worked for this company, and as much as I respect the current editor, I can frame your hub as a bully for in many instances, he would lay off a certain project (some not company-related) and NOT ask if I would help him, but inasmuch as TELL me.

(e.g. his wife was seeking a local position with our county court system) and my boss started on Friday afternoon telling me that I was going to cover so and so avenues, etc., and I was literally stunned because bullying far outdoes this term.

Although I agree with Tamara, would call it "abuse of power."

And the deal was: he was in tight with our publisher who was a friend with me before this guy came along, and no matter what my boss might have said if I had disapproved of this not being job-related and had me fired.

I know this would have happened.

But in time, I studied over these abuses until I learned one thing: if someone knows something is wrong and does anyway, the results will not good. But if the person is mentally-challenged, (which he wasn't), the Almighty would overlook this shortcoming.

He just did as he pleased and got away with it.

Thanks for letting me vent.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 10, 2017:

Tamara Wilhite - That sounds like a terrible place to work. I hope you didn't stick around long.

Tamara Wilhite from Fort Worth, Texas on June 10, 2017:

Bullying can be the result of someone acting in accordance with their conscience, bulldozing over everyone else's rights. For example, the SJW HR manager who redefines the company's trust and respect policy to say "you cannot express any opinion contrary to SJW values" and then punishes people who do anything or say anything contrary to that approved checklist of beliefs.

Making matters worse are when they sit everyone in groups and ask you to express your opinions, and then bully you if you disagree because clearly you're uneducated, irrational, and we just want to help.

If you did anything but endorse these far left views, you were punished by HR. It was bullying, but they thought it was positive, they thought it was moral. They are the ceaseless busybodies CS Lewis warned us are worse than the average tyrants.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on March 18, 2015:

Pawpawwrites - I couldn't agree with you more! I sure hope they get what's coming to them some day.

Jim from Kansas on March 17, 2015:

I've worked for a couple of bully bosses, and it can be stressful beyond belief. It always amazed me that they could even be in the position they were in and be so unprofessional.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on December 12, 2014:

Elizabeth Lesar - Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment.

Elizabeth Lesar from New York, NY on December 11, 2014:

Great article.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on November 15, 2014:

Kenneth - That is amazingly kind. Thanks so much.

Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on November 14, 2014:


Just breezing by to say hi to you and encourage you to keep up the fine hubs.

Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Your Friend,


FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on November 14, 2014:

poetryman6969 - Good for you for knowing when to bow out. Some people just aren't worth the hassle. It's best to leave them with some little surprises they'll discover long after you're gone, or so I have heard.

poetryman6969 on November 14, 2014:

I had a childish, idiot for a boss at one time. His second in command was a gun toting Nazi. I left that place.

Kenneth Avery on April 27, 2014:

Hi, Flourish,

You are welcome. I told the truth. And loved this hub. Keep up the great work.



FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 27, 2014:

Faith - Thanks for voting, tweeting and more. You're such a sweet lady. Power certainly can corrupt those who hold it.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 27, 2014:

Kenneth - Thankfully you got out before it did a lot of damage! Thanks for reading and commenting on your own experience.

Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on April 27, 2014:

I worked (years ago) for a corporate bully. Other employees and I were expected to do his personal errands on company time and other off company things he was supposed to do and we were as if we were hostages for if we got behind in our own work, he was ranting and raving at us for being slow. We couldn't go to his boss because they were close buddies and need I say more. I am so glad that Our Merciful God delivered me from this place I called "Hades Cellar."

Faith Reaper from southern USA on April 27, 2014:

Hi Flourish,

Great insight here as to those in positions of power and those who abuse that power, when they think they can get away with it. It will eventually came back around to them, hopefully, but I know sadly often times before many lives are damaged, except their own! This is very helpful and I see you have written a follow-up, which is great. I am going to read it now!

Voted up +++ , tweeting, pinning and sharing for all those out there that need to read this useful hub here on sad and unfortunate realities.


FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 11, 2014:

Suzanne - Yes, spoken like you know one. And sometimes they are female, too.

Suzanne Day from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on April 11, 2014:

Nothing like running into the path of a corporate psychopath to make you want to hide in your cubicle! These people can make your life hell and unfortunately upper management seem to love them for some reason (probably because they are fearless - interpreted as "confident" and force people to do stuff out out of fear). Voted useful and up!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 28, 2014:

Victoria - They're everywhere, aren't they?!?

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on February 28, 2014:

ologsinquito - That's very nice of you to do. Have a great weekend.

Victoria Van Ness from Fountain, CO on February 28, 2014:

Unfortunately, I have had many of these tyrants for bosses. In fact, my last boss asked me to falsify grades on standardized tests so she could get more money from the district. lol Great article! Good job!

ologsinquito from USA on February 28, 2014:

I've always liked this article and I'm sharing it now, because we have new people on the site.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on October 19, 2013:

ologsinquito - Thanks for reading, commenting and pinning. Bullies typically persist in their habits unless they encounter a psychologically significant learning event. Even then, it is easier to cast blame elsewhere.

ologsinquito from USA on October 19, 2013:

I like how you pointed out that bosses who behave badly have probably done so in the past, and will continue to do so in the future. Anyway, this is a great article, and I'm going to pin it.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 27, 2013:

Mel, that is very unfortunate. The "Corporate Psychopaths" book was fascinating to me because I recognized so many of the behaviors among "superstars" who repeatedly got promoted. I found that every day presented a choice about whether to join them at their games or to refuse to engage in ugly shenanigans. Thanks for stopping by.

Mel Carriere from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on May 26, 2013:

I have worked for corporate psychopaths such as the ones you describe here and in my organization in particular these are the people that get promoted most rapidly. There seems to be a pervading corporate culture that supports this behavior as an effective management technique. However, results speak for themselves, and the proof is that my company loses billions every year. Where I work, when the corporate bullies get in trouble they are merely shifted around, or even kicked upstairs. They are never fired, even when they do things that are illegal. Thanks for your work.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 23, 2013:

sgbrown - So glad you stood up for yourself and the higher ups saw your perspective! Power can certainly corrupt, and in this case it seems like it went to that fellow's head. Thanks for stopping by!

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on May 22, 2013:

I think most of us have had some type of "bully boss" before. There are so many people out there who cannot handle power and have no business being a boss in the first place. Luckily, my "bully boss" was during a temporary job of mine and therefore I was not too worried about keeping that job. I stood up for myself, and when he brought his boss into the picture, he was the one that lost his job, not me. Great information here! Voted up, useful and sharing! :)

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 15, 2013:

DREAM ON - Thank you for the read. Good bosses are a treasure. I still remember the best ones I've had and count some of them as my friends now.

DREAM ON on May 14, 2013:

What an interesting hub unfortunately many of my bosses in the past fall into a few catagories.I am lucky that the tough bosses have moved on and found another stomping ground. My good bosses outweigh the bad ones.Good advice

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on May 12, 2013:

Sorry you are stuck dealing with a passive aggressive boss, Careermommy. There are jerks in every workplace, but it is especially difficult when they control financial rewards, recognition, the ability to take time off, etc. I wish the best for you in dealing with your boss. Thanks for the read.

Tirralan Watkins from Los Angeles, CA on May 12, 2013:

FlourishAnyway, this is an excellent hub. I'm definitely sharing it. My boss is the passive aggressive, tough boss. He demands more and more, not great with communicating the strengths of an employee. Very well done.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 24, 2013:

I wish your relative the best, Insightful Tiger! Thanks for stopping by.

Insightful Tiger on April 24, 2013:

Sharing this one with a relative that needs it, thanks!!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 18, 2013:

I'm sorry for what you are going through, khmazz. Good luck in finding a better situation, if you have not done so already. Not all bosses are jerks. There are some really great ones out there as well as horrible ones.

Kristen Mazzola from South Florida on April 18, 2013:

I am currently dealing with my boss and management staff, I find that it is so sad how unprofessional people with power can be. Needless to say I will be handing in my two weeks actually tomorrow! And I cannot wait! Great hub! So many people need to be able to identify a "bad boss" and stand up for themselves!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 06, 2013:

At least you addressed it rather than suffering in silence! Thanks for the read and comment, Jen.

Jennifer Bird from Michigan on April 06, 2013:

Great hub! I worked for a bully boss last summer. She constantly glared and scowled at her employees while muttering about how stupid and incompetent we all were. She also expected way too much. She did back off on me a little after I had a talk with her, but I still got out of there as soon as I could (it's kind of a shame, because I really enjoyed the job otherwise).

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on March 27, 2013:

Good for you, Kasman! Bullies seem to know who they can push around and just how much. They find a weakness and exploit it. In the end, everyone gets what's coming to them ... sometimes it just takes longer. Thanks for your comment and for stopping by.

Kas from Bartlett, Tennessee on March 27, 2013:

I've had versions of each boss before personally. The bully bosses I've taken to task though. I don't care who you are, you don't have the right to treat me like crap. I will end up calling you out at some point. I have a lot of patience, but lines at times are crossed. Good article, voting up!