Angie said, “the worst boss I ever had was an ego-centric, know it all who constantly criticized and never did a constructive thing….”  Her partner in the exercise said, “really Angie? Was it really that bad? ALL the time?”  Angie thought about it for a moment and said, “probably not, but we were all so upset about the havoc she wreaked on us and our projects, that the damage she did seemed way more than it was. In the end it amounted to the same thing – even little obstacles when they come from the boss can seem monumental.”

Have you ever had a really terrible boss? One who was a bully? or who only cared about himself or her own career? Ever had a boss who was a coward or simply lazy?  How about that boss that tells you how to do your job when really you have it handled just fine?

Bad bosses in action are really no laughing matter (until you’ve got a new one and are reminiscing over a beer with friends).  Bad bosses cause un-measured stress in the work place and are a major cause of business failure or simply underperformance!

The thing is that your boss’s boss may not even understand how much of a problem that bad-apple – or under-trained leader – is creating!  Here are nine key tell-tale signs of a boss that needs to improve or be moved to another role (gentle right?).

  1. CONTROLLING:  This is the micromanager – One who is wound tight and attends to everyone else’s details – unfortunately leaving the team feeling unappreciated and disempowered
  2. PUFFED UP: This is the behavior of the Ego-Maniac -This boss is arrogant, shows off and is generally insecure – needing constant affirmation. This boss generally can’t acknowledge a weakness or admit a mistake.
  3. SHRINKS BACK:  This is the cowardly butt-kisser – This boss is afraid of conflict and accountability. He/She often blames  others and leaves important issues unresolved for fear of the conflict that may ensue.
  4. SLICK SAL:  The plagiarizer – This boss  takes credit for other people’s work and ideas, passing it off as his own (especially to his or her boss)
  5. EYORE:  The energy sink – This one casts a pall of doom-and-gloom in every situation
  6. CRITIC:  Similar to Eyore – This boss criticizes everyone else’s work, points out every mistake and is unable to provide constructive feedback
  7. INCOMPETENT: This is the boss who hedges and fails to take action – Sometimes a person is promoted beyond his or her capabilities, and really has no idea how to do the new job assigned and is without training or coaching.  You see this person has usually lost all respect of subordinates and co-workers
  8. BEST BUDDY: The overly-friendly pal – This boss inappropriately wants to be your best bud and crosses lines and boundaries in a misguided attempt and building rapport
  9. POOR COMMUNICATOR:  The boss who leads none – This boss may be the worst of the bunch – because without clear and effective communication, there cannot be any leadership.

Each of these keys are indicators that the organization needs help.  I have worked with teams who are treading water, unable to move forward on important corporate goals, because the leadership is unskilled and unprepared in one or more of the above nine areas.  When the leadership gets right – the group produces!

The game to play now is – see how to turn each of the above nine keys into a constructive quality to aim for.

Do you agree with the list?

What keys would you add?

Can you share any good stories that exemplify these nine or their opposites?

To your continued success!


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