Whether we are talking about terrible managers from the popular sitcom The Office, the pointy-haired inept manager in Dilbert, or Bill Lumbergh from Office Space, horrible bosses have been portrayed in entertainment for years. It’s not so fun when we experience them in real life. Horrible bosses are the ones who nitpick and yell, who are disengaged and inattentive, and who make their employees and coworkers feel unappreciated and disrespected. Bad managers not only affect everyone around them, but the organization as a whole. Mismanaging employees can lead to a loss in productivity, a decrease in morale, and can increase turnover rates.

There are many kinds of bad bosses. There is no black and white with regards to what defines a good manager or a bad manager; however, the detrimental effects they can have on their employees range from the emotional to the physical. What are the worst kinds of bosses to have? How do you determine what kind of bad boss you are dealing with? Here are a few of the most common types of horrible bosses:

The Micromanager – Probably the most common of all bad managers, the micromanager boss has an extreme desire for control. They need to be involved with every project, they strive for perfection in themselves and their employees, and expect nothing less than the best. Everything has to be done the way they want it, and there is rarely any room for suggestions or recommendations, which can be demoralizing and can make employees feel disrespected and undervalued.

The Bully – The bully boss uses intimidation and humiliation to keep their employees on task. Much like the micro-manager, the bully uses an “it’s my way or the highway” approach to work, but they abuse their authority to get their way, and have no issues belittling their employees in public to prove their point. Bullies can appear to be successful because they tend to be high energy and highly motivated, but their productivity is typically at the expense of others.

The Best Friend – The BFF boss has no concept of boundaries and treats their employees like their best friend. Their bad day is everyone’s bad day, their good day is cause for everyone to celebrate with them. Their personal life is unfolded to their subordinates in inappropriate ways that do not foster an appropriate working relationship, which can result in blurred lines with regards to who is the manager and who is the employee. This often leads to a decrease in productivity and respect, and confusion as to who possesses which roles. 

Let’s say you have a bad boss within your organization and have identified them as one of the above offenders. Or, you have identified some of these behaviors in yourself. Now what? How do you change a bad boss? Are bad bosses fixable? Tune in next week as we begin to discuss how to work through bad managerial habits to create respected and approachable managers.