• Wed, Sep 4 - 12:45 pm ET

5 Types Of Terrible Bosses (Are You One Of Them?)

This boss sucks. Don't be this boss. (Office Space).

This boss sucks. Don’t be this boss. (Office Space).

Maybe you notice your employees seem unhappy, or that there’s a rapid turn-around rate. Maybe your employees don’t take you seriously enough. Are they just incompetent morons who should be lucky to even have a job (ps: not something you should ever say), or could you be the culprit?

5. The histrionic boss. You know, you’re always rushing, busy and under pressure–so you yell (literally yell) at your staff because…apparently that makes all the difference? Raising your voice, getting angry and using dramatics won’t help. Try asking for help and explaining your needs in a calm way. People respond to kindness and rational.

4. The micro-manger. Be honest. Is this you? Look, sometimes you just like things to get done the way you want them to get done, and that’s fine–but in order to inspire leadership and encourage job skill, sometimes you have to trust your staff to do work without you breathing over their shoulder.

When you let go and trust someone, they feel accountable to themselves–which is almost tantamount to being accountable to you. Doing a good job is a pride point for most people. If you won’t let the training wheels off, you’ll never see (and they might not see) their true potential. Hold your horses!

3. The hands-off boss. You may either have a great team who doesn’t need much guidance (if so, congrats!) or you might be dealing with lazy folk who half-ass their work. Either way, it is your job to manage your team. Even good employees need encouragement; if they’re doing a good job, speak to them about it: point out their qualities and discuss rewards and duties. If they’re not working to potential or affecting the office as a whole, it is your job to step in and create a plan that focuses on their growth. Sometimes, you might need to let someone go. There’s a definitive grey zone between being a control freak and being totally hands-off. You want to find a healthy middle ground.

2. The fear-inducing boss. Come on, don’t be that person. Are you scheduling meetings to “discuss something” vague and ominous three days in advance? Are you saying, “I need to talk to you later,” without providing an explanation? What you’re doing is leaving your employee wondering, waiting and (if they’re anything like me) obsessing over what it could be that you want to discuss. Instead, try sending a meeting reminder via email that includes the discussion topic, or simply asking your employee to meet with you at four to go over a few spreadsheet errors. Really, it makes all the difference in how people view and respect you. Fear does not equal loyalty. Fear-based workplaces do not equal retention, either.

1. The friend boss. Are you drinking with assistant right now? You may want to stop. Depending on the type of office, this is definitely circumstantial to the workplace, but most employees are a bit reluctant to be friends with their boss. Sure, you might want to connect with them on Facebook or have a few drinks after work, but blurring the lines can be a dangerous thing. If you become too friendly with your employee, you might start to lose a sense of work-life balance or ask them to do extra work out of friendly obligation. That’s just not fair.

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  • CrazyFor Kate

    How about the Inconsistent Boss? Mine is either extremely nitpicky and downright rude, or very laid-back and supportive, and you never know what you’ll get when you deal with her. It’s a real headache!