Anybody who has spent any time at all in the working world probably has at least one “horrible boss” story they can tell. There was even a hit movie comedy devoted to the concept (as well as an upcoming sequel).
Not all bosses are created equal. In fact, very few possess the skills and abilities to supervise, motivate and coach other people to optimal personal and professional succession a consistent bases.
The problem is that most people who are lousy bosses don’t even realize that their employees hate them until they suddenly walk off the job or offer a “scorch and burn” exit interview with Human Resources on their final day on the job.
Horrible bosses tend to fall into a number of predictable categories. Here are some of the worst types of bosses. Some of them might already be familiar to you:
1. The Screamer – Other than a boot camp recruit or an NFL rookie prospect, hardly anybody responds well to being screamed at and insulted. Yet many clueless bosses believe volume, put-downs and humiliation are exactly the motivational tools their charges need for optimal performance. In most cases, however, this type of behavior is counterproductive and is more likely to result in high turnover than high profits.
2. The Micro-Manager – This type of boss wants to control every aspect of how you do your job, down to the smallest details. They don’t trust their employees to make even the most minor decisions on their own and will demand that everything be passed through them first. The problem with this approach is that in complex organizations, there are simply too many decisions to be made to pass through one single gatekeeper. So the result is lower productivity, unmotivated employees, and increased stress overall.
3. The “Round-the-Clock” Boss – This type of boss doesn’t bat an eye at calling you at home late at night or on the weekend to talk about something work-related. They are so work-obsessed that they don’t recognize boundaries and resent it when their employees try to enforce them.
4. The Second-Guesser – Some bosses will give you all the leeway you need to make any decision you want … then second-guess your judgment if everything doesn’t go exactly right. These types of bosses often want to bask in the limelight of success without willing to risk making mistakes on their own.
5. The “Fun” Boss – Like Michael Scott at Dunder-Mifflin on TV’s “The Office”, this type of boss wants work to be all fun, all the time. Unfortunately, this usually isn’t the most productive approach if you want your company to be profitable, which is why it’s called a “workplace” not a “play place”.
6. The Absentee Boss – Sometimes not having your boss looking over your shoulder all the time is worse than seeing him or her too often. Bosses who can never be reached or are always out of the office can make it more difficult for you to succeed at your job. While you may enjoy the freedom, it can cost you dearly in productivity.
7. The Underqualified Boss – In some cases, your boss will know far less about the operation of your business than his or her employees. Not only will this undermine their respect, but it can lead to uniformed and ill-advised decision making.
8. The Bus Schedule Boss – This type of boss always has the bus schedule in his pocket so that he or she is constantly ready to throw you under it if necessary. Quick to blame but slow to reward or recognize achievement, this type of supervisor may be the worst type ever.
9. The Old-Timer – There’s a reason most companies have mandatory retirement. Bosses who have been on the job practically since the turn of the century (not this one, the last one) are often reluctant to try new things, terrified of new technologies, and are often perfectly satisfied with the status quo. While they may have something to teach you, it’s unlikely they can provide the kind of motivation you need to excel.
10. The Never Satisfied Boss – Regardless of what you accomplish, it’s never going to be enough to make this type of boss happy. Exceeding expectations only means that the bar has to be set higher next time. And while this can result in great overall results, it can be frustrating and demotivating to employees.