Good managers are easy to spot. They say things like “Great job!” and “How are you doing?” all the time, because they know how to interact with their teammates and how to listen to them. They know that encouraging their teammates is the most important part of a manager’s job.

Lousy managers are a different story.

Some poorly-equipped managers will act friendly toward you one day and blast you the next. A poor manager’s behavior can be hard to predict.

That’s one of the reasons it’s so stressful working for a bad manager. You never know what to expect!

Still, you can spot a bad manager by listening for the obnoxious things they will say when they’re angry or stressed — things that no decent manager would allow to pass through their lips, no matter how upset or tired they might be.

Here are things only lousy managers say. Have you run into any of these nasty manager’s remarks before?

You can’t go home until this is finished.

If you are paid a salary instead of an hourly wage, that is supposed to mean that you have discretion over your schedule. If you receive a salary, you get to decide when to go home (theoretically, that is — if you work for someone who would say this, don’t test the theory, but start a stealth job search instead)!

That sounds like a personal problem.

This is what lousy managers say when you have obligations at home that conflict with your manager’s ideas about what a work day and work week should look like. Any manager who says this to you is telling you that you mean nothing to them — so why should you care about hitting their goals?

If you don’t want your job, I’ll find someone who does.

This is the classic threat poor managers make to keep employees in line. The minute you hear this, it’s time to get your resume up to date.

I’m not going to tell you again.

Only lousy managers make threats. You are not a little kid in school. Everybody gets exasperated at times, but that’s no excuse to talk down to your teammates.

That’s just the policy — you’ll have to deal with it.

Good managers will say, “I know this policy doesn’t make a lot of sense and I apologize, but this time we have to go along with it and then I will bring it up with my boss and HR and we can start a conversation about re-writing the policy in a more logical way. I appreciate your raising the issue and I also appreciate your understanding that I can’t change the policy just because you and I don’t agree with it. Can we meet halfway?”

If I wanted your opinion, I’d ask for it.

This brush-off is something only a fearful, hostile person could say. Life is long, but it’s too short to spend any more time working for a brute who could utter these words!

Do you recognize this behavior in your management? Are you guilty of saying some of these lines yourself? Read more toxic sayings only bad managers say from Liz Ryan‘s fascinating article from Forbes Magazine here

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