More (and perhaps more and more) on bad bosses

The theme of bad bosses is popping up a lot these days in the popular media, and the trend appears likely to continue.

Five types of bad bosses

For example, Amy Levin-Epstein, writing for CBS MoneyWatch (link here), identifies five types of bad bosses:

“The Vague One”

“The Micromanager”

“The Bully”

“The Narcissist”

“The BFF”

I’ll quarrel a bit with her categories and suggest that narcissistic bosses often are among the worst bullies.

More importantly, I’ll once again take issue with the common practice of offering one-size-fits-all advice on handling bad bosses. Each situation is different, and a miscalculation can have serious consequences. It’s not something easily reduced to a line or two in an advice column.

Coming to a theatre near you

In early July, the movie “Horrible Bosses” will be opening at theatres across the country. You can click the link to the trailer above. Here’s what the blog ReallyBadBoss is saying about it (link here):

Hollywood is banking on the fact that zillions of Americans hate their bad bosses enough to fork over the $10+ price of admission to see Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day plot the ultimate demise of their respective bosses played by Kevin Spacey – a white color [sic] schmuck -, Jennifer Aniston  – a sexual predator – and Colin Farrell – a drug addicted, fiercely-combed-over pig.

With this type of movie, I think we’re looking at either a smash success or a soon-to-be-forgotten flop. If “Horrible Bosses” strikes the right chord with moviegoers’ experiences of work, it could join “The Devil Wears Prada,” “Office Space,” and “Nine to Five” on the list of leading cinematic portrayals of the joys of working in offices.


Related posts

Getting back at a bad boss

Website of the Week: eBossWatch

Most Bosses Think They’re Great (and How They COULD Be)

7 responses

  1. I read Amy Levin-Epstein’s brief “how to” article and echo your concerns.

    “The first step to beating a bully is doing good work that you can stand behind, and then standing your ground.”

    “Identify what they want, what they value, and take action.”

    I can imagine those who’ve experienced being the target of an abusive boss reading those statements and thinking: “Gosh, if only I’d thought of that!!”

    Thanks, David.

    • My thoughts as well. The truth is that you can never satisfy a bully; they keep changing the goalposts on you. Such an article just increases the power that the bully exercises over employees by encouraging the employee to play the bully’s game. That isn’t any help and can further injure the employee’s self image when they continually fail.

      • Great minds thinkin’ alike here! If it was that easy, we wouldn’t have this epidemic of abuse!

  2. I don’t know what “BFF” means however, there’s another type of bad boss I call the “manipuvisor”. The type is one who is hired into a position for which he/she is clearly unqualified for with the express purpose of being “pimped” by upper management. For example, an individual is hired into an IT position as “Operations Manager”. The new hires degree is in “divinity”. His work experience is cabling and wiring. He has no experience in mainframe, programming or network computing systems.

    He also has little or no education, training and experience with the software packages necessary to the position, yet he was “qualified” by upper management.
    Lastly, he had NO management training whatsoever. He certainly was incompetent in the area of employee rights. So why was this individual qualified for an IT management position?

    Because this type is the perfect “fall guy” to be used as conduit for discrimination, harassment and retaliation against an employee who was successfully defending his workplace rights against the employer.

    He consistently made blunder after blunder putting the employer behind the “eightball”. This phenomenon apparently works “well” in local government settings where the employer can hide behind “sovereign immunity” from lawsuits.

    Upper management operating through this “manipuvisor” made him the “sacrificial lamb” when the employee in question proved to the EEOC his workplace rights were being violated.

  3. That pretty much sums up the type of boss(es) I had. I was an exceptional employee and I did stand behind my work and my rights for as long as I could. Unfortunately, I lost the battle. They were heartless and I could not believe the length they would go to in order to eliminate me and what I stood for. Part of the problem is that they enjoy the power play…. clearly an abuse of power.

  4. I find that Dilbert seems more documentary than cartoon commentary and that I can’t think of movies as anything more than documetary presentations of the workplace rather than comedic exaggeration.

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