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Readers Respond: What Makes a Bad Boss - Bad?

Responses: 255

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Equity in Procedures/Policies

My former boss (l left after 20 yrs.) had different rules for different employees, though rules are clearly spelled out in a personnell manual as we are directed in our standards to be accredited. Hiring is frozen, yet some departments can hire and the jobs are not even posted according to our EEOC plan, placing some employees' friends in the jobs. One person can do one thing and it is ok and another do the exact same thing and it is not ok. The manager never goes downstairs to speak to the staff, to learn about their family or just see how things are going in their lives. The organization serves people with disabilities with a great mission. But, if you want your people to carry out their mission, their morale needs to be high and management starts from the top...and first do no harm. Also, this manager is doing things to lookout for herself which is embezzling through the back door, while asking staff to work two jobs, etc. Where is her sacrifice?
—Guest Pat

Egor

I am a manager for this jerk who expects me to treat all 60 of his employees with dignity and respect which I try to do unless they give me a reason not to. However, it's ok for him to scream at me in front of these same employees as well as customers. I have had it but in this economy and being in the midwest, jobs are not there to just find, so I find myself putting up with his disrespect towards me. So not fair! Can't tell you how many times I wish he gets a bad case of hemorrhoids and can't sit for a week.
—Guest Denise

Bad Boss

My boss is a stupid guy. He doesn't know the word sorry. He is always right.
—Guest Marcos

Humiliation

I work with a teacher, a kindergarten teacher. She is hostile, even with the kids, many times, but she thinks she is doing the right thing... Every kid has to bring a treat a day and so do I, I like to make the kids content, and it is my obligation to make them happy and comfortable every time the teacher needs a break. But, EVERY TIME I am ready to offer the candies, chocolate, or cake, before the recess - the time is not the right time. She always says, "Not now, grandma..." Today, I waited until the end of the class, and when I said that I have the candies, again she replied, "not now," and I had to put the chocolates back in my bag. This made me cry so much. I am old but not stupid. I am thinking about abandoning the school. I am crying all of the time. She is rude, hostile and also she lies. I am very sad, and don't know what to do. I am very sad, very much. Grandma Zi.
—Zizi40

Bad Boss

Mine is the worst- stupid and unethical, This guy is an Executive Director and he has a PhD, the ones obtained online. His management style is very poor. He makes poor decisions and he has a stupid girlfriend in the same office who is just a primary leave. That stupid girl is working as an accounts clerk with no qualifications and she is at the table of the executive director as she is the one making decisions.
—Guest Jane

Mystery Boss to TMI Guy

When I first started my job, I got to sit in on an employee encounter session. We had an extremely high turnover and were trying to get to the bottom of it. The president of the company was leaning over and demanding to know what everyone's opinions were. People started squirming. Finally, through pieced together, awkwardly phrased half sentences, the problem seemed to be that people had no confidence in the president. His door was almost always locked, people never saw him during the day and he never talked to anyone at all. His desk was always spotless and he didn't ever seem to have any papers on it. People were concerned that he wasn't actually doing anything at all. Two weeks later, our email boxes became FLOODED with long rambly emails from him. He'd forward every email he received and would put "witty" or "inspirational" comments on it. Finally, he made a long missive about the great new anti-psychotic he was just prescribed. A week later, he resigned. Turnover is low now.
—Guest escapee

Employees don't leave ...

Their jobs... They leave their supervisors! Now is a great time to be your own boss and hire a Virtual Assistant to handle the small stuff!
—Guest Jennifer Rai

Bad Bosses...why do they even exist.

You all are so right, can't believe one can be so cruel. Lovely to read your comments, it so happens. My boss is horrible, terrible...worst word you can think of...mean, pushy, lies about employees, bitchy, uses filthy language gives rude remarks, never encouraging, never appreciating,never happy (with your work). Belittling others is her hobby and in all seems to be 'having no spine' at all, I get panic attacks, I so hate her.
—Guest so right

I Had Also Experienced It

It was my first appointment with the municipal council in Dar, Tanzania as a Ward Executive Officer. The HR Officer was a stupid guy, who always boasted to try manning everybody at work, especially us, the newcomers. We were 10 graduates employed at that time. He would bark at us like a dog to a passerby, not ready to listen to our requests and kept himself distant from us. What we came to understand was that, he was just a diploma holder as his highest academic level, while we were degree holders. He was suffering from an inferiority complex. He would dare to spat names on us likely to terrify us and make us not depend on his whereabouts. We quit, one after another, and he was also demoted to a distant aggrarian post, as his bosses were fed up with his untolerable conduct.
—Guest Wambura

Statistically

There was study approximately 20 years ago that surveyed executives and a large percentage felt like frauds and that they did not have the qualifications for their jobs.
—lookingforlogic

Why Doesn't Executive Mgmt Intervene?

In the past, I had a work experience with an absolutely terrible boss at middle management level. He not only lacked the communication, leadership, team-building, etc. skills required of a good manager, but also lacked basic competency in the job itself. Subordinates and co-workers of my boss all observed/recognized this, but those actually having the authority to do something about it, did nothing. Could they not see it? Just didn't care? Was my boss somehow skilled at cover-up in front of his superiors? I got out and moved on to another workplace, but I was always puzzled by this and now I'm reading in other posts that this seems to be a relatively common occurence.
—Guest Puzzled

My worst boss

My ex-boss (I just quit) is a power and control freak with short male syndrome. He is also the master at "damned if you do and damned if you don't." He jumps on any mistake, however small, day after day, and systematically tears down your confidence, then complains that you have no confidence! When I do something well, he scans it intensely to see if he can find anything wrong, and when he can't, he tells me I should have done it the way he told me NOT to do it last week. He constantly changes the rules to keep his employees off-balance. He NEVER admits to his mistakes, which he makes all the time. When I would try to explain my reasons for doing a job the way I did, hoping he would at least understand my reasoning, he would tell me I am "too defensive" and it has to stop. So then I started just acknowledging my mistake or difference in opinion, and offering no "excuses." Then he got really angry and complained that I "had nothing to say for myself." It was a no-win situation.
—CandaceR

What makes a Bad Boss - Bad?

This has a lot to do with the individual personility, a Boss is expected to inspire, motivate, guide, and instuct employees to improve their workplace performance, not verbally abuse, harass or exploit the employees. What makes a Bad Boss - Bad? If the individual is not at peace with himself/herself and lacks the ability to promote one's own personal growth and motivation. Does not feel comfortable within one's own skin. In order to do good, one must feel good. There are issues in the individual's personal life, that the individual lacks the coping mechanism to fix, so the indiviual brings the problem to work, and takes it out on the employees. Sometimes the individual has an addiction, pyschological, or psychiatric problem. Instead of seeking professional help, dampen the effects of the individual's frustration on the employees in the workplace unintentionally. A Bad Boss hurts the employees and the Company, some times Upper, Upper Management feel uncomfortable to approach a Bad Boss
—jacwal

Boss Favored His Love Interest

My boss was very "involved" with one of my coworkers while he was her supervisor. She probably spent about 20 hours a week in his office talking with him at his desk. The other direct reports got minimal attention and he rarely knew what was happening in our depts. She got the top performance evaluation, bonus and raise. Pretty good for someone who showed up to work barely by 10 am, took two hour lunches and left by 6 pm. Oh and did I mention she talked to him on her cell phone if he was out? The straw that broke the camel's back was that my boss rarely took the time to find out from me what was happening in my department but rather took this chick's spin on things (in which she undermined me). So over the course of the last couple years, they each quietly divorced their spouses, he moved on to another position, and now they're a couple. The damage is done ... her coworkers cannot stand her and he has marred his career with a stupid move.
—Guest pushelle

Bad Bosses are Toddlers in Disguise

Susan Heathfield has asked a terrific Q. My take in my work is that bad bosses and children in their terrible twos have trouble modulating their power. As seen by these posts, the traits I've researched are all apparent - including self centeredness, fantasy world, lying, bullying, mood swings, helplessness and fickle. And they can be dealt with assuming you're not in an abusive or intolerable environment. You can empower yourself by using pos./neg. reinforcement w/good and bad behavior as a parent would w/an unruly child - diplomatically of course. You can be the voice of reason. If there's something in it for your boss, you have the best chance of changing behavior. You have valuable skills sets that are hard to instantly replace b/c you've been trained. It's also management's responsibility to mitigate bad boss behavior; it's critical to corporate survival! You can google "tame your tot" for more along these lines. Again, great question!
—Guest Lynn Taylor_Author
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