15 Clear Signs You Can’t Trust Your Boss

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Trust is the foundation of any successful relationship, which also holds true in the workplace. A trustworthy boss can distinguish between a thriving, motivated team and a perpetually on-edge staff.

But how do you know if your boss is someone you can’t trust? Here are 15 clear signs that should raise some red flags.

They Take Credit for Your Work

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Nothing says “red flag” quite like a boss who loves the spotlight but forgets to mention the team that got them there.

If your boss regularly takes credit for your hard work without giving you the recognition you deserve, it’s a sign they might not have your best interests at heart.

They’re Frequently Dishonest

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Have you caught your boss in one too many lies? When a boss isn’t transparent, such as fibbing about company finances or dodging direct questions, they can create a toxic work environment. Trust is built on honesty; if it is lacking, so is your foundation.

They Micromanage Everything

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A boss who constantly breathes down your neck and nitpicks every detail isn’t showing trust in your abilities. Micromanagement often stems from a lack of trust, and it’s a surefire way to kill team morale.

They Play Favorites

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Does your boss have a clear favorite in the office? Favoritism can breed resentment and create a divided team.

If promotions and opportunities always seem to go to the same select few, it might be time to reconsider the dynamics.

They Never Keep Promises

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From promising raises that never materialize to offering career development opportunities that vanish into thin air, a boss who doesn’t keep their word can be incredibly frustrating. Consistently broken promises are a big sign of unreliability.

They’re Unapproachable

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A good boss should be approachable and open to feedback. If your boss has an unending list of excuses to avoid meetings or discussions, it could mean they’re not interested in fostering a healthy, communicative work environment.

They Gossip About Other Employees

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If your boss is dishing out the latest office gossip, beware. A manager who talks about other employees behind their back is likely doing the same about you. “This is a strong indication that they talk about all of you to all of you,” explains psychologist Nikki Martinez, PsyD. Plus, it’s just plain unprofessional.

They Overpromise and Underdeliver

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Ambition is great, but if your boss constantly sets unrealistic expectations and fails to deliver, it can lead to disappointment and frustration. A trustworthy boss knows how to set achievable goals and meet them.

They Don’t Defend Their Team

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A boss who leaves their team hanging out to dry, especially when things go wrong, is not one to be trusted. Good leaders stand by their team and take responsibility when necessary.

They Lack Transparency

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Transparency builds trust. If your boss keeps you in the dark about important decisions or changes within the company, it can create uncertainty and mistrust.

They’re Consistently Inconsistent

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One day, they’re your best friend; the next, they’re the office tyrant. Consistency is key to building trust. If your boss’s behavior is erratic, it can be difficult to know where you stand.

They Don’t Value Your Time

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Your boss disrespects your time by constantly scheduling last-minute meetings, expecting you to be available 24/7, and undermining your work-life balance.

They Avoid Accountability

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Blaming others for their mistakes and never admitting they’re wrong is a red flag. A trustworthy boss takes accountability and learns from their errors.

They’re Secretive

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Secrecy breeds suspicion. If your boss is overly secretive about company matters or their actions, it can make you question their motives and reliability.

They Don’t Support Professional Growth

A good boss invests in their employees’ growth. If your boss shows no interest in your professional development or denies opportunities for advancement, it’s a sign they might not have your best interests at heart.

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