Written and submitted by Firestorm.
There are a lot of different types of bosses. Some good, some bad. Tragically, the good ones rarely get talked about. The bad ones? People don’t shut up about. The Worst ones? Cause Mental Health Crisis’s amongst their employees. I’m here to bitch, rant and complain about bad boss archetypes I have encountered in my multi-decade career as an unfortunate employee. We have:
This moron cannot delegate, breathes down your neck, double and triple checks your work, and generally spends so much time harping on other people’s work that they rarely get their own shit done. Naturally, when things go right they stand in the SPOTLIGHT to take all the credit, but are a total GHOST when things go wrong – because it is someone else’s fault.
This asshole is the extreme polar opposite of the Micromanager. The Ghost is NEVER EVER THERE. There is no guidance (disguised as “delegation”) and they leave their staff to run whole projects without assistance or support, and only appear at the last minute to either: – Steal the SPOTLIGHT and take the credit for the work or to criticize the work, get angry, and make other people accountable. Generally, they do the later because nobody knew what the fuck they were supposed to do.
This one loves to be the center of attention. First to volunteer their unit/team/department for some inane drivel of limited value. They bask in the attention, and then VANISH like a GHOST when there is actual work to be done – or worse yet, Micromanage the fuck out of it to the point everyone is double and triple checking what needs to be done, there is no time to do anything at all. Somehow, no matter how little there is, these assholes always magically appear to take the credit.
The Political Officer
This fuckwit is still in high school. They gather their closest allies and “in-groups” in to social meetings outside of work via WhatsApp groups that have a secret handshake and decoder ring. When projects come along, the biggest sycophants get the best opportunities.
The so-called “Inner Circle” members are the ones who get assignments or growth opportunities. Naturally, The Political Officer will also work to remove anyone who dares to stand up against them.
Needless to say, when one of the Inner Circle fails to deliver or otherwise screws up, boss becomes a GHOST or MICROMANAGER. The determining criteria is how much of a POSITIVE SPOTLIGHT they can positively steal.
Common Characteristics of these 4 Archetypes
Darwinism was actually perfected in the office environment because it allowed for the removal of idiots/morons/incompetent idiots from operations. Unfortunately, the removal mechanism was promotion. So once too many are promoted, things derail, quickly. Unfortunately, Darwinism also allowed these archetypes to evolve defensive strategies and survival tactics that keep employees off balance and more importantly available as scapegoats. A few of these traits are unveiled below:
Display Incompetence Openly
The Micromanager won’t shut the fuck up. The Ghost won’t speak the fuck up. The Spotlight won’t speak anything of fucking substance. The Political Officer won’t stop talking in fucking code, double-talk and riddles. It’s very common for these bosses to talk a lot. They throw buzzwords and bandy industry catchphrases that they picked up somewhere. They ACT like they know but in reality, have less vision than Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles combined.
You can NEVER get a clear directive/direction/order. You get “The High Concept” or the “Long Term View.” Anything that is as recent. They sound good when they talk and generally love the sound of their own voice. One assholes answer to every question about a project was, “The Client Wants to Make Money.” I personally feel that boss did not know what the client wanted, the client didn’t know what they wanted either. Other common generic catchphrases include: “you get my meaning?” or “understand or not?”
Don’t be fooled. These assholes are not checking if you do understand what is going on. This is covering their ass. Something WILL go wrong, they come back around to this and say, “You said you understood! How could YOU fuck up like this?”
Zero Accountability & False Promises
They can’t communicate verbally, they generally cannot communicate in writing either. You send an email, you won’t get a reply until forever. Send a WhatsApp and it is marked as read, but they don’t reply. Try and call them, their number cannot be reached at the moment. If they decide to descend from their Ivory-Intellectual-Tower anything they communicate will be lacking in substance and quality and will most likely leave your more confused, wishing you’d never asked in the first place. And they always have their ass covered when something goes wrong.
In line with these fucktards being creditable for everything that goes right, and you being responsible for everything that goes wrong, false promises will regularly be made to get employees to take on a job/project and/or additional responsibility. Targets will change, timelines will alter, budgets will disappear. Objectives/goal posts will shift when they are about to be or have been achieved. The boss, essentially has their asshole where they mouth should be and well… talks a lot of shit.
Accountability & Throwing You Under a Bus
This one is at two extremes. There are the bosses that will happily throw subordinates and employees under the bus in a heartbeat to protect their own ass. Then there are those that will pretend to protect their employees in the public setting, before becoming Judge, Jury and Executioner in the privacy of the office. They are quick to point fingers and assign blame for everything that goes wrong. But in either case, you’re fucked because somewhere along the way, you became “Accountable” for whatever it is…. Even if you have never heard of it, worked on it, and sometimes are not even AWARE said project exists.
Feedback Happens to Other People
Some bosses only want positive feedback. They don’t listen when subordinates tell them that there is a problem, or that there is a solution to a problem. They treat negative feedback as a personal attack. They treat seeking clarification as an attack on their competence. These bosses demand that employees must always public support their actions – including clapping, cheering and shit like this. I actually had a boss who wanted us to clap and cheer every time he walked in to the office. Talk about inflated…everything. When bosses stop listening to employees, employees stop giving feedback, stop giving a crap and just “do the job and go home.”
Shout, scream and throw a temper tantrum
These bosses have low emotional intelligence and do not see employees as human beings. There is no empathy for the subordinates. They insult, are incredibly rude and disrespectful. People get injured and fall sick. These are the bosses that don’t approve the sick leave. These are the bosses that cancel your leave and say “suck it up.”
They make employees cry and fear them over stupid trivial things all the time. I’ve had two bosses like this. In this first case, I tendered notice the moment I got a new job and left that place to collapse. In the second case, the boss reduced three of my team members to tears, including the intern on her first day. If I had not walked out, things would have gotten physically violent.
The Sum of the Damage
Bad bosses, regardless of archetype make coming to work hell. They view themselves as entitled individuals who do not give clear direction or feedback. Employees are demotivated and the turnover rate is incredibly high.
These bosses might have been good at a job, but they were clearly promoted based on how they did in that job, not whether or not they were suited to be in that management position that they now infect. Bad bosses create unhealthy, toxic work environments that are physically and emotionally draining, and mentally damaging.
Good bosses are rare, and even rarer than common sense these days. Employees don’t leave companies. They leave bad bosses. Employees are not going to be loyal unless they like their boss, and the likeable boss in the one who will support, inspire, motivate and help their employees grow, making work experiences memorable and positive.
It is the people that make companies successful. All those strategies and business plans and visions and missions rely on engaged, motivated individuals who are as hard to find as a Good boss. Bad bosses…. My personal theory is that they reproduce by Binary Fission – like Bacteria.
Liked this rant? Read another: BATTLE OF THE BOSSES
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Cover photo courtesy of Achievers.