What IS a bad boss?
Thursday, May. 10, 2012 at 12:00am
People write me all the time with a variety of questions, but seldom do I get one as stunning in its concision as the query lobbed in by a reader to my mailbox at firstname.lastname@example.org. "Hey, Stan," he or she writes, "How can you tell when your Boss is a bad one?" Well, Simple One, let me count a few of the ways:
- You can tell by the knot you get in your gut whenever you have to deal with him. You never know which person is going to show up – the nice, benevolent manager or the insane, angry hophead.
- You can tell by the feeling you get when you have to get dressed every morning, the sensation that life wasn’t meant to be like this, that nobody knows what the day ahead will hold, and not in a good way, either.
- You can tell because on days when he is supposed to be there, leading the way, guiding his people with a firm and gentle hand, he is nowhere to be found. Yet on days when everybody is executing the plan with distinction, there he is, standing in the middle of everything, gumming up the works, micro-managing, driving everybody crazy.
- You can tell because her word is not to be trusted, she lies when it suits her, and worst of all, she believes her lies once they are uttered.
- You can tell because he is never wrong. Sometimes he may be “misinformed,” or “misled by others,” but he is never, ever, wrong. Those who think he might be in error, ever, had better keep that opinion to themselves.
- All credit goes to him, all blame goes to others.
- Her only loyalty is to herself. More times than you can count, you have seen her sell people down the river who used to be her favorites. If there is trouble, she’s the first one to throw her colleagues and subordinates overboard into the shark-infested waters. Strangely, she is also the first person to question other people’s loyalty.
- Work hours are hard to predict. There are long stretches of unmanaged, vague, pointless activity or inactivity, followed by short bursts of frenzy. Weekends are not safe. Vacations are not honored. Your time is not your own.
- His door is closed most of the time, particularly after lunch.
- The main topic of conversation is what an annoying, hurtful, scary, irrational nutbag the boss is. Wherever people gather, that’s what they talk about. And when they go, they die unmourned, except perhaps by the one person at the office who did his or her bidding.
That’s just ten. How many others can YOU think of, my friends?