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50 Traits of Not-so-good Bosses


Every week we put in lot of effort to give you some research ready, resourceful HR articles. But this week we’ve taken a lighter look at ‘management’ to give you some funny food for thought.

In your career you will at least once come across this specie called the “bad boss”. The ones who have already faced them will know what I’m talking about. The one’s who haven’t, BEWARE! These bad bosses will make you question your existence every moment and give you nightmares. In the context of this article, let’s assume that your boss is a he.

For the employees who wish to know the qualifiers of bad bosses, and for the bosses who wouldn’t mind a reality check, read on:

1. The Dictator (Read: Adolf Hitler in the corporate world with a suit and tie): He walks around barking orders and expects everyone to follow suit. Anyone who dares to contradict is frowned upon like their birth was such a big mistake. He is the dacoit who manages by inducing fear among the villagers.

2. The “no… but… however…” (Read: You’re wrong, I’m right): His words start with these negative qualifiers and end with “The boss is always right”.

3. The Panicker (Read: Omg omg omg… My business is doomed): He has panic attacks for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If a prospect doesn’t answer his call, he feels the whole universe is conspiring against his business.

4. The Preacher (Read: Son, that’s how you get ahead in life, life is but, a journey with thorns and hurdles and… zzz ): Every time you are summoned to his cabin, you know you are in for a moral science class.

5. The “born to win” (Read: Mama told me not to waste my time, she said spread your wings my little butterfly): He has this overwhelming need to win at all costs and in every circumstance by hook or crook. He will even compete with you on tying the shoelaces first.

6. The Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow (Read: I really wanted to keep you, but they made me sack you. If only my decision could be the final one… *sigh*): He will make you believe how he is your well-wisher but is really the one pulling the strings. He’ll play agony aunt but is the exact same person who’ll cause that agony in the first place.

7. The Mr. Know It All (Read: Tell me something new): He just needs to show people how smart he is. The air around him screams “ENCYCLOPEDIA”.

8. The Blame-gamer (Read: It is not my fault): He will deflect every wrong-doing on others and attribute present failures to past events. Won’t take a scratch on himself… ever!

9. The Sidetracker (Read: “Alright now, I got this work due tomorrow, but I just got this out-of-the-box idea for the project due next month. I think I’ll work on that first”): His mind shoots in all directions at the same time, with no successful hit at any one target. He tends to be impulsive and reckless.

10. The Withholder (Read: I know it, but I won’t tell you): He will not share any kind of information with you. He is like that factory owner who keeps food stocked and doesn’t distribute it till people are famished. He is always on the lookout for an advantage over others.

11. The Ambiguous Instructor (Read: I want you to do this, this, this and I have no idea what I’m talking about): He will keep giving ambiguous instructions on vague tasks just to ensure that no one sits idle and keeps working.

12. The Bad Mouth (Read: The mouth that is bad): He will demean you in front of everyone and throttle your self-respect.

13. The Sly Mouth (Read: I will be doomed if this deal doesn’t work out, but I’m going to behave like everything is just so fine): He will sugar-coat problems and will not be straight-forward while talking or giving warnings. If he creates a mishap, he will very cunningly try to cover it.

14. The ADD (Read: Attention deficit disorder): He will pretend like he’s listening to you but is actually running many errands in his brain. He exhibits a very short attention span (no, it’s not their medical condition generally) and will keep asking you to repeat the same thing over again.

15. The Snail (Read: My POA is to complete this same task over the week and the next week as well): If you give them a two page document to go through and check in after an hour, they’ll still be on the first page. They cannot multi-task and are mostly found confused.

16. The Selfie (Read: The only words in my dictionary are I, me, and myself): He is arrogant and behaves like he is such a blessing to the world. His nose is always held high with a placard saying “I’m better than you… you little thing”.

17. The Egoistic (Read: I will not show them my shortcomings, I am a model of perfection): He will let his ego write cheques, but in reality, he can’t cash it. He is too haughty to show his weak points. He thrives on the misconception that he has reached that position merely because he is such a charmer.

18. The “My way or the highway-er” (Read: We all should work as a team and do it my way): He will always get things done the way he wants it. All opinions and ideas are meaningless and will go unheard. He is of the belief that since he pays you, you are bound to follow him blindly.

19. The Grown-up Kid (Read: The inmates of a reality TV show ): He looks just like any ordinary adult but behaves like a problem child, throwing tantrums, demanding things, nagging, basically making everyone’s life miserable.

20. The Chauvinist/Feminist (Read: He has every right to get an increment as opposed to her. After all he’s the MAN of the house): They can be of two types but both are discriminators. He plays favorites and will give you allowances based on your chromosome type.

21. The Shallow Empathizer (Read: We’re going to have to delay your salary due to financial crisis, but I’m still going to buy that new BMW): He will make you believe how delaying your salary for a month will give the company a boost for 100 years. You may feel he is your soul mate but he just wants to get that assignment done from you.

22. The “No-complaint’ Guy (Read: I am too busy to attend to your grievances): If you go to him with a complaint or a negative feedback he will direct you to the HR Department and will never consider it his responsibility to attend to employee issues.

23. The Poker Stick (Read: We’ve always followed the same protocol and we plan to do so till eternity): He follows the same age-old traditions over and over. He is rigid about procedures and staunchly opposes anyone going against them. Talking of innovation would be like abusing him.

24. The High Expecter (Read: I will not provide you with the required resources, but you still have to come out with flying colors): His expectations from you never cease. Even if you end up working 24 hours, 365 days, he will still have some expectations from you. He will not give you the necessary instructions and communicate expectations clearly, but will expect you to do nothing less than an excellent job.

25. The Parrot: (Read: I want you to sendmthmail and then do fnshtherportfst): He talks fast and unclearly. He expects you to understand his banter all in a go. Part of what he talks is rocket-science and the rest indecipherable. And you cannot risk asking him again because you then get a bumper sticker of being “inattentive.”

26. The Bespectacled Spectator (Read: I got my eyes on you): He will have a keen eye on your every movement, every action and will look out for just a reason to catch you red-handed like you were a criminal left on bail.

27. The Judgementalist (Read: I don’t think he can make this presentation, I’ve seen how bad he is at feeding his dog): He roams with a rate card in his pocket and almost everyone is on the scale of 1 (1 being lowest of course). If you want to be rated a little higher, you need to have something as meager as a letter from God. Your every action is printed in his brain like one giant conspiracy.

28. The Pessimist (Read: Let me tell you why that won’t work): Even before trying, he will already have a feeling that things won’t work, and thus, never gives it a shot. The probability of something good coming out of an assignment is always, always zero

29. The One Man Army (Read: I can only trust myself): He will not delegate important tasks to employees because he feels it is only him who is capable of doing the work efficiently and correctly. Everyone else is just too careless and will make mistakes.

30. The Clever Decision-maker (Read: I have it all sorted, but I will just ask you as a formality): He makes all decisions but just to involve you for namesake, will ask for your feedback and input, as if it mattered. You wait for your suggestion/feedback to be implemented but eventually find out you were fooled into believing so.

31. The “Hands-off” Guy (Read: The school authorities who take children for picnic but do not take any responsibility of their belongings): He will not express regret or take any responsibility for things gone wrong. He will never admit his faults and will disown the team members in times of crisis.

32. The I-told-you-so (Read: Instead of finding a solution to the problem, I will just emphasize on how right I was): Every time there is some issue or mishap, he will always tell you how he had already peeked into the future and warned you in encrypted codes and gestures how it would not work out. And now whatever has happened is none of his business.

33. The Credit Grabber (Read: The misbehaved rackets who will dodge every compliment coming in your court): He overestimates his contribution and will not hesitate taking credit for work he has not done. He is like the uninvited shareholder of your victory.

34. The Policy Maker (Read: Someone has dressed inappropriately? I will write a two-page document on “how to dress well” and paste it on the walls): For every problem or issue that arises in the organization, he will pass a rule and display it in the corridor. He will not confront the trouble-makers but simply, sit at his desk and issue new policy statements.

35. The Miser (Read: You can work for extra hours and I will grant you words of flattery on a piece of paper): He will not pay you for your overtime, but instead lure you by giving you extra stars which have absolutely no value whatsoever.

36. The Loud Mouth (Read: The politicians of the corporate world): He will make big promises and brag about the company and make you believe how they are the best people to work with. He’ll make promises that he or his organization has no plans of fulfilling.

37. The Under-estimator (Read: You? What can you do?): You start to get the feeling of worthlessness around him. He does not consider you worthy of any task and even if he does hand you a task, it comes as such a big favor done to a good-for-nothing creature like you. No matter what you do, you are always the underperformer.

38. The Late-comer (Read: I’m late for the meeting by JUST 4 hours): He will arrange for a meeting at 10 in the morning but always get caught up in some miraculously God-sent traffic or get hit by a natural calamity which clears only after ages and thus makes him late.

39. The Grumpy-faced (Read: Smiling? What on earth is that?): You’ll never find him smiling or happy. He is always irritated or annoyed with something or someone. You fear approaching him because you cannot deny the possibility of being hit by a flower vase.

40. The Narcissist (Read: There can be just one of my kind): You will find his office stacked with trophies and accolades won by him over the years and every other guest is treated with a cup of self-flattery.

41. The Softie (Read: My employee just became a father, hand me a tissue): He is the emotional and vulnerable types. You just have to shed some tears and *boom* your work is done.

42. The Bad Listener (Read: Huh? Sorry? You were saying?): He will never let you finish your sentence, not because he completes your sentences, but because he cannot wait to start his own.

43. The Ignorant (Read: *A farewell to Mr. Rajesh who has worked for 10 years* Rajesh? Who?): He has a big misconception about himself and the world. He is always lost in his own world and aloof about his employees until he receives a resignation letter from them.

44. The Procrastinator (Read: I need go through all these legal documents, but let me first refresh my mind with a football match): He will keep on piling documents that are to be gone through and eventually just sign them without reading.

45. The VAS (Read: You know what I think… blah blah blah): He just needs to add his words of wisdom in everything. He cannot fight the urge to add value to every discussion. Silence is like an eclipse to him, comes rarely and is extremely short-lived.

46. The Destroyer (Read: Every word that comes from your mouth will be bombarded with an AK47): He will make destructive comments on every thought and idea. Sarcasm, jibes, barbs, and cutting remarks are as voluntary as breathing for him.

47. The Ungrateful (Read: I spit out diamonds every time I speak): He will never utter a word of praise or express gratitude in any form. He is almost incapable of giving recognition and appraisals.

48. The Habit Slaves (Read: You see, it’s a habit and habits die hard, so you have no option but to bear with it): He will make excuses for his annoying behavior and actions and use it as a permanent fixture to get excused.

49. The Self-server (Read: The boy who climbs the tree and leaves his friend prey to the bear): They are bosses who are just plain, selfish! He will want to climb up the corporate ladder without caring much for his staff’s well-being.

50. The Tunnel-visioned (Read: The horse with blinders): He has little or no vision. He is more concerned with survival than with growth of the organization. He is pretty satisfied with status quo.

Does your boss remind you of Cruella De Vil from 101 Dalmatians? Well then, you know what you’re dealing with.
Psst… which trait does your boss exhibit 😉
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