7 Types Of Horrible Bosses + How To Handle Them

7 Types Of Horrible Bosses + How To Handle Them Hero Image

Do you want to know the single most important factor as to why people quit their jobs? Go ahead and give it a guess ...

When I ask this question, I typically get the following answers: more money, a shorter commute, a greater sense of work-life balance. But in actuality, most people cite bad bosses/supervisors in their exit interviews. And let's face it: we’ve all had to deal with a horrible boss at one point in our career or another.

Most intolerable bosses seem to fit into the following categories, all of which I've given funny creature names: the Rat, the Hog, the Badger, the Fox, the Tasmanian Devil, the Chameleon and the Squirrel.

Recognize any? Let’s examine each:

1. The Rat

ADVERTISEMENT

This boss-type tends to be tyrannical, rather than a community-oriented leader. The Rat, like all rats, is generally out for his/her own good. This boss sniffs around, looks for self-serving opportunities, and plays fast and loose with the rules. No one feels comfortable around him/her.

How To Handle It:

Report unethical or possible illegal behavior to the Chief Ethics Officer or through your company’s anonymous 24 hour ethics hotline. You might also bring it to the attention of HR – as long as you can trust that the matter will be handled in confidence.

2. The Hog

The Hog takes all the credit for your work and great ideas. You feel as though you can’t express your opinion because it will be stolen because your boss is a 10 watt lightbulb, incompetent, incapable and makes everyone around him/her feel dumb or inferior.

How To Handle It:

Don’t be afraid to share your ideas, because shutting your mouth won't make it any better or easier to get through your days. But also, be sure not to counter the “hog” by tooting your own horn.

Keep being a good contributor and be supportive of your boss. Most people who matter know the real score. Eventually you’ll be recognized for your behind the scenes contribution.

3. The Badger

This micromanager is so busy standing over you that nothing ever gets done. He/she is too busy making sure your minute tasks are achieved that big picture results are never seen. You want to burrow through a tunnel to escape.

How To Handle It:

Badgers micromanage for various reasons; some are control freaks, others either don’t trust or have confidence in certain individuals. Schedule a meeting with your boss to determine the reason. Obviously you must be careful regarding your approach. Be prepared by having a specific example (where you believe you were being micromanaged). Ask what you can do differently to gain (your bosses confidence).

4. The Fox

We are never safe from sly, sly, Mr. Fox. This boss' cunning and manipulation is unmatched, and he/she appears to be one step ahead at all times, loving the politics. The Fox separates you from the herd, playing favorites.

How To Handle It:

Don’t play into their hands. Avoid engaging in gossip or responding to questions that are obviously aimed at garnering information that can be used as ammo.

5. Tasmanian Devil

Perhaps some remember Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Prada. This boss is a bully who leads through intimidation. Enough said.

How To Handle It:

Many organizations have a zero tolerance policy against this type of boss. Bully bosses should be reported to HR. If your company’s culture has such a policy and are serious about backing it up, chances are good they will be severely reprimanded or terminated. This is happening with increasing frequency. If your company turns a blind eye to bullies, and you’ve exhausted other avenues (HR, Ethics Officer, and so on), best not to confront the boss.

6. The Chameleon

The Chameleon makes promises and deals with individuals but then bends with the wind. Often acting like a jellyfish with no backbone, she will leave you high and dry. The Chameleon tries to please everyone but winds up pleasing no one.

How To Handle It:

Try to pin your boss down with specifics. Get whatever it is they are promising in writing if possible and save e-mail threads. They’re less likely to back down if you can pin down specifics.

7. The Squirrel

A Squirrel boss can't make up their mind, and lives by being indecisive. By the time they decide, it’s too late; they get run over. Too often, they leave employees in limbo leading to frustration.

How to Handle It:

Be persistent and keep pushing for a decision. Arm yourself with facts/data, supporting the case for action along with the repercussions for inaction or delayed decision-making.

Overall, in times of economic uncertainty, where bosses everywhere remind employees of how lucky they are to have a job, few are willing to stand up to such “animals” or quit a steady paycheck. But with your sanity and career on the line, it’s important to muster up the confidence and courage and stand up for yourself.

Remember to be professional and keep your emotions in check. And what's the worst case scenario? You move on to bigger and better things leaving the horrible boss in the dust!



Photo Credit: Stocksy


Explore More