In a movie released this summer, three friends conspire to murder their awful bosses when they realize they are standing in the way of their happiness and career futures. The movie’s premise is that the characters decide to “do away with” their bosses. Now, I have not seen the movie, but I have seen some horrible bosses. I will discuss some I have seen and heard about.
Back in 2009 I posted the following on my blog:
Nearly one-quarter of U.S. employees (24 percent) would fire their bosses if given the chance. And as many as 51 percent of actively disengaged workers would get rid of their leaders if they could. These findings were gleaned from a Gallup Management Journal (GMJ) survey of U.S. employees.
The “In Your Face” Boss
These bosses are like military drill sergeants—constantly in your face about how you messed up. I had a boss like this. He would actually review some drawings that I was working on and crumple my work right in front of me, then throw it in the trash. He would then look at me and say “Nice try.” He gave very little feedback on what the exact problem was with my work. He would make statements such as, “You should know what was wrong” or “If you can’t tell what was wrong with that, you may not be working here very long.” I was left with no indication of what I needed to work on or what needed to be fixed.
The “Not on My Watch” Boss
Some bosses will not permit any change, even a positive one, they did not initiate. Or, worse, they will take your idea and make it theirs. I have seen many bosses fail to give credit for ideas to those who generated them. There must be some fear in their minds that the subordinate will look better and they will somehow be lessened in the minds of those who appreciate initiative.
The “Take my Failures” Boss
Some bosses do not have the stomach for failure. When they sense something is not going to work out, they pass it on to a subordinate to manage. This prevents them from appearing to have failed. The unfortunate subordinate, who has little choice but to accept the failing projects, is saddled with them going forward. Some bosses may just keep the projects that they perceive as winners and unknowingly pass on the troubled issues to others. Of course, sometimes when the boss has passed on what he thinks is a loser and it becomes a winner, he attempts to steal the success from others.
The “I Will Do That for You” Boss
Opposed to the Take my Failures boss is the one who takes everything on their own shoulders. They refuse to delegate anything. It seems as if they are not only failing to delegate, but are actually taking over areas that are not theirs. I have seen bosses who take on communication efforts for progress and solutions. They want to be the one telling others what has been achieved or making sure that all input travels through them. When you mention that you need a piece of info and are seeking to talk to someone, they step in and say that they will do it for you. They seem to protect the flow of information in and out of the team so that they are, in effect, the clearinghouse of all knowledge.
The “Insulting” Boss
Some bosses tend to overuse negative incentives. This type of boss uses insults as a motivational technique. You may hear statements such as, “I thought you knew what you were doing” or “What we need around here is a real _________” (fill in your title). When there is glory to be received by completing a task, they are all over it. When there are political gains to be made by stepping into the information stream, they will do that. They seem to have a problem empowering others.
The “Tyrant” Boss
“My way or the highway” could be the wording that is behind many of the edicts that this type of boss puts forward. They seem to constantly make modifications to processes and procedures—if for no other reason than to show everyone that they are the boss. There are even times when they demand that you perform in a specific manner without giving any reasons (or adequate reasons). They just seem to always want it done their way.
The “It Was Your Fault” Boss
This kind of boss takes all the glory and passes on all the blame. They are quick to yell at you for making a mistake, but always seem to overlook their own shortcomings. When someone is not happy with an outcome or a bump in the road, they tend to make it look as if you should have seen it coming and prevented it. When praise is given, they tend to forget who actually did the work. They might not take the credit, but they also won’t offer up your name as the person who got it done.
Do any of these “horrible bosses” sound familiar? Or worse, are you working for any of these people right now? Let me know and let us all know via a post in the CAD Management Forums.