Unless you were handed the keys to your very own company on a silver platter (or perhaps, you never worked for anyone and painstakingly built your own enterprise from the ground up), you probably worked under a supervisor, manager, department head, vice president, president, or CEO that simply didn’t rub you the right way (don’t think dirty thoughts, you).
This is practically a constant in the corporate rat race; people that by virtue of their personality, habits, or nature, are deemed offensive or unlikeable by their subordinates. With so many personality types and behavioral quirks, this isn’t really avoidable: we understand that not everybody can get along with everyone else.
Regardless, for shits and giggles, I’ve decided to detail the various categories of “bad” bosses based on mine and my friends’ and colleagues’ experiences. Do take note that some exemplary specimens of terribad bosses can actually fall under more than one categorization.
This is the typical terror-of-the-office kind of boss. He or she is characterized by a perpetual scowl or look of disdain on their features. They seem to thrive on any and every chance to inspire fear in their subordinates, and make use of every opportunity to become enraged with them, albeit with dramatic audiovisual effects.
The motivation behind this stereotype’s tyranny can stem from many an experiential background. They could have been raised by equally tyrannical parents, were bullied, or are simply jealous and resentful of their younger, more talented subordinates.
A fictional example of this kind of bad boss is J. Jonah Jameson of the Spider-Man comic book and animation series.
In just about every god-given day, you will find this species of manager hovering over their direct subordinates, and if they have extra time, they will not hesitate in directly overseeing the people under their subordinates.
No small detail is ever left to the judgement of his or her direct reports; it is the Micromanager’s show, and only with this manager’s divine hand can it be implemented to his or her’s exact specifications. Your opinions, style, personal touch, and creativity are irrelevant, and you cannot be trusted to do anything by yourself.
These bosses were usually put into place by the higher powers for their excessive brown-nosing, unquestioning loyalty, familial relation, or at the request of one of the board members. They either do not know what they’re doing, or they are epically bad at it.
In most cases, they make up for this incompetence by blaming their underlings, feigning extensive knowledge on a subject (often unknowingly embarrassing themselves in the process) and making said underlings do the heavy lifting. A kinder variant of this stereotype will keep his or her competent workers well-rewarded for their consistent coverup of their boss’ lack of skills and knowledge.
Yet another fictional exemplar for this kind of boss would be the Pointy-haired Boss in the Dilbert series of web comics and cartoons. The Office U.S. TV series’ Michael Scott, played by Steve Carell, also embodies this stereotype (but he’s one of the exemplary ones, as he qualifies for at least another one of the categories below).
There are individuals that are particularly detached from the consensual reality. It becomes unfortunate if they are put in-charge of other people. The Deluded kind of boss sees the world very differently from just about everyone else, and not in a very good way. People who are way too engaged with supernatural practices, recreational drugs, or mind-altering cults are typical examples.
Leslie Knope, Amy Poehler’s character in Parks and Recreation, fits the bill. Though she is not exactly a bad person, she has this mindset that nobody else in the office seems to jibe with.
This boss simply talks out of his or her arse. You can never get a straight answer out of them, and they are masters of evasion when it comes to blame or responsibility. This kind of bad boss may just be the most dangerous of the lot, as they will not hesitate in offering one of their people as a sacrificial lamb to save their own skin.
Created and expertly portrayed by Ricky Gervais, David Brent is probably one of them best examples of this terrible boss type.
These bosses are cold, unfeeling, unsympathetic, and humorless individuals who were probably born without hearts. They share no empathy with their fellow human beings, and are not moved by displays of affection (thus immune to brown-nosers). The only thing they understand is logic, and the corporate bottom line.
Though I have encountered one such boss in real life, I do not know of any in the fictional realms, possibly because these kinds of bosses are also insufferably boring, and don’t make for good television. My closest approximation is if you take the human part out of Spock, you’ll get a Robot of a boss.