Leadership

Three bosses you don't want to have

There are actually more than three kinds of bosses you don’t want to have, of course. But here are some of the bosses who exercise behavior that may fall under the radar.

There are actually more than three kinds of bosses you don't want to have, of course. But in this blog I leave out some of the obvious ones, like crazy bosses, bosses who throw things, and bosses who dress in Italian renaissance clothing and make you call him Machiavelli.

Here are some of the bosses who exercise behavior that may fall under the radar. You know your boss is bad if ...

He's too busy managing up to effectively manage a team

I will admit these are tough times economically, and everyone is acutely aware that no job is permanent. But some people, middle managers especially, are so concerned with pleasing upper management that they sacrifice the morale of their teams in the process. They spend most of their time and productivity figuring out how to keep their jobs instead of actually doing them.

It's tough to be a middle manager. Many times you have to ask your team to do something they don't want to do to meet a business need expressed by upper management. The problem comes up when a manager folds every time something like this happens. Employees will always work harder for a boss who understands their day-to-day routines and who is willing to keep the duties from becoming too harsh.

She is MIA

While rank does have its privileges, some folks take the idea too far. I once worked for a woman who would come in late, leave early, run errands in the middle of the day, etc. If you had a question, you had to e-mail her and schedule a time to address it. It was a definite impediment to communication.

This kind of behavior can also be bad for morale because if employees sense that their boss's priorities lie somewhere else completely -- and they will sense this -- they won't feel motivated to do their best work.

He will throw you under the bus in a New York minute

As a team member, you should feel that you can make some mistakes without being publicly burned at the stake by your boss. Your boss might readily discuss a mistake with you behind closed doors, but he should never air those mistakes in public.

Particularly hideous is the boss who will shove blame onto you for his mistake. If you have one of those, you should run away. Fast.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

46 comments
Zertz7
Zertz7

Should bosses actually 'do' something?

Sysadmin/Babysitter
Sysadmin/Babysitter

This guy was promoted to boss because he was a GREAT salesman. He is STILL a great salesman & a lousy boss. He is still doing what he was doing as a salesman, and devoting NO tome to management. He is never there for the employees, as he is ALWAYS on sales calls.

Vallah
Vallah

I had a boss that had all three of these wonderful attributes, unfortunately. And I hear she continues to rise through the ranks. Go figure!

raybailey
raybailey

I had three bosses in two years. The first was a temp. Useless. Knew nothing about IT and brought me up on review becuase I criticized a coowrker for leaving the "God" password stuck on the udnerside of the server keyboard. #2 was busy playing politics. He would take me to lunch and warn that this or that vice president was out to get me, and he was there to "help" me...He was fired after having a screaming match with the VP in the HQ lobby. #3) was passive. I'd go in to talk to him, and he never gave any feedback. Would just sit there and stare at me. He hired four new techs under me...all 25 year old good looking girls. I knew my days were numbered. Fortunate for me, I had some heart trouble which lead to a medical out... and a severance package for me... Run if you have to! Do Not Stay too long when they get bad... or you get a string of them in a row!

don.gulledge
don.gulledge

I got the (I#E*D*D MBA that fits every detail you've said right now. So, don't talk about him any more. He might find out.

hhilde99
hhilde99

My boss is definitely in that list. He is clearly focused on sports (coaching his son's teams) all year. Communication is word of mouth even when an update is ready to go out I hear it from co-workers as to when I'm supposed to do it. The only way to communicate with him is e-mail. Which you have to send about 10 times because "it's at home". And he thinks he understands technology but that couldn't be further from the truth as evident by the tasks he has me do. There are MANY other reasons he's a boss you don't want to work for.

rhomp2002
rhomp2002

I had one on a consulting contract like the first and second combined. I could not wait for that contract to end. I never could track him down to get answers to my questions or get him to call someone I needed his support to get info from. He was so busy a@@kissing that he was never in his office. Terrible situation. Nicest guy in the world away from the office but a total zero while in it.

LarryD4
LarryD4

Mine is all three piled in to one person.. It is what it is...

LocoLobo
LocoLobo

How do you avoid these bosses? Or better yet how do you work with them? Met all three, worked for at least two. Running away isn't always an option.

Dixbert
Dixbert

Three bosses? This is 1 person in the company I last worked at!!!!

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