Get To Work: With Suzy Welch

Suzy Welch: 3 signs it's time to quit a bad boss

Suzy Welch: 3 ways to know when to quit your bad boss

If you've got a boss who's a nitpicker, micromanager, or complainer, you're not alone.

"We've all suffered through a bad boss for good reasons," bestselling management author and CNBC contributor Suzy Welch tells CNBC Make It, often because "you love your co-workers, you believe in your product or the money is great."

But she says regardless of your rationalizations, there are three clear indications that "the time for excuses has expired" and you need to leave your bad boss behind.

CNBC Contributor Suzy Welch

1. Your boss's behavior reflects the company culture

Welch says that "if you realize your boss is not an outlier in your company's culture, but actually more of a poster child for it," it's time to go.

Maybe your boss is a screamer or someone who withholds useful information. If the leadership at your company is OK with that behavior, or demonstrates it too, "that's the day you know your strife is not about a mismatch with your boss, it's about a mismatch with your values."

And that, Welch says, isn't fixable.

2. You're bored

Not every job will be your dream job. But if you aren't learning or growing, Welch says now is the time to quit.

"Sometimes a bad boss can and should be endured, because you're learning so much in your role," she says. "But if there's no intellectual and professional growth going on, why are you suffering?"

Yes, "work is supposed to be hard, but it's not supposed to be a martyrdom."

3. You're facing challenges in your personal life

Finally, Welch says, if you're going through serious challenges in your personal life, like a divorce or a family member's illness, you don't want to be wasting energy on a bad boss.

"I know from my own life that such experiences drain you — heart, body and soul," she says. "The truth is, you can only take so much. If your life outside of work is under siege, it's very likely time to quit the boss if that relationship is yet another battlefield."

Fortunately, Welch says, the world is filled with good bosses as well, and once you get one, you should never forget to thank them for their work and leadership.

"But if these three signs feel uncomfortably real to you," she emphasizes, "don't look away. It's time — get away now."

Suzy Welch is the co-founder of the Jack Welch Management Institute and a noted business journalist, TV commentator and public speaker. Think you need Suzy to fix your career? Email her at

Video by Claire Nolan

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