Me and My Bad Bosses

In my ten year tenure in the professional world, I have had the wonderful opportunity of working with some truly inspirational leaders. However on the downside, I have also had my fair share of some really bad bosses who should really change their job pronto and make this society and the office a better place to live in. I have come up with my own categorization of bad bosses based on my “amazing” experiences with them and here they are:

Category 1: Incompetent and Careless — This person is not passionate about what he does and is already pretty sure he is not in here for the long haul. Doesn’t understand half of his roles and responsibilities and doesn’t give a damn about the people reporting to him as well. Promises the world to everyone who approaches him and scoots out of the company the minute he gets a better offer elsewhere.

PS: Forget about being a manager, at least be a decent human being and do not make promises that you cannot keep. For heaven’s sake at least act like you are a responsible individual and stop taking office stationary for your kids.

Category 2: Incompetent and extra careful — This person is extremely passionate about everything he does but unfortunately has the wrong impression that he is always right. Due to the fact that he is incompetent starts having insecurity issues with people reporting to him. He starts to forget that he is the boss and instead compares himself to his direct reports, starts getting envious if his team members are doing well and believes that his team is always trying to hoodwink him. Forgets the basic principle that a manager needs to find his success in his team’s success. He usually has one or two sycophants on his team and considers the rest of the team as his enemy. Needless to say all the promotions and interesting projects goes to the ass kissers who will one day become the exact replica of their boss.

PS: Get a life!! Stop behaving like your team comprises of aliens from outer space that are out there to get you. Open a dictionary and look up ‘Trust’ because if you cannot trust your own team, you as a manager are doomed.

Category 3: Mediocre chauvinists — Perhaps one of the worst kinds to deal with for a working woman. These are men who enter the workforce thinking that women can never match up to men. Due to these baseless assumptions, women end up getting all the mundane and redundant work on the team. When confronted by a woman, their bloated as a balloon egos cannot deal with it and get vengeful instead of actually trying to see the point the person is making. Not very talented themselves, they refuse to see talent and potential in a woman and sometimes openly comment about women not being committed to their jobs because they have families to take care of.

PS: Wake up and look around you… your mother, wife, sister and daughter are all women. What makes the women in your life different from the women on your team? Will you console your daughter when she comes to confide in you about work issues by telling her that she needs to just suck it up because she is a woman and talent and intelligence are just wasteful attributes for a woman?

Category 4: Overly competent and untrusting — This is generally the kind that gets pushed into management because the company doesn’t have an alternative career path for technically competent people and get stuck not knowing how to manage people. I truly believe that people management is an art that some people are just born with. You can train a lot of people by having them attend well known people management sessions like ‘Crucial Conversations’ or DDI trainings like ‘Resolving Conflict’ or ‘Measuring Success’ etc but most people are just bad at dealing with people. There is a fine balance of empathy, emotional quotient and competence that makes a good manager and when you lack either one, something just goes wrong. Managers in this category decide to take on this path due to the lack of an alternative career path and also because of sheer peer pressure considering everyone they know is now a lead or a manager and end up making their life and their team’s life miserable. Some of the classic behaviors include,

  • Not designating work to their team and instead doing it all by themselves. In rare cases when they have to designate work, they ensure they sit with you all through and babysit you till the job is done. In other words, it is essentially them doing the work and you doing all the typing (oh and yes, some words are also spelled in case you didn’t know the spelling).
  • Keeping the team members away from important meetings related to new projects which again results in them doing all the work by themselves.
  • Least bothered about anything related to dealing with people like holding periodic one on one meetings or resolving conflicts brought to them by their team members.
  • Wary of passing on knowledge to their team members with the fear that they are making themselves dispensable in the organization.
  • Viewing their success as an individual entity as opposed to seeing their success in their team’s success.
  • Selfish and truly believe they are immortal because when people talk about a contingency plan that may arise due to their absence for whatever reason, they just dodge the topic. This is probably because they feel they are immortal and will never get sick or get into an accident or any event that may cause them to not come in to work or they are just plain SELFISH and don’t care about the organization or any contingency plan to ensure things move smoothly.

PS: The whole world does not revolve around you and we do not exist in your life to make you look good since manager’s need direct reports and we are just that. Stop treating me like I’m fresh out of the womb and cannot do anything unless you tell me in painful detail how it needs to be done, for instance how to save and attach a file. You are perhaps just a couple of years older to me and perhaps if you just gave me the chance, I can prove it to you that I know more than just coming dressed to the office and staring at my laptop all day long without anything significant or fulfilling to do since you have usurped anything that remotely spells ‘Significant’. I’m not your personal assistant to do things that you are not interested in doing, so stop stealing my work and get a move on.

I’m currently dealing with category 4 and by far this seems to be the worst category and trumps over the rest. I’ve always had a problem with bosses that micromanage but never in my life did I think I would have a problem with someone who let me be. It is outright scary when you realize you don’t have much work to do because there is someone out there who has usurped it completely. It’s all the more scary when this person is your boss, the same person who needs to be designating the work to you and taking care of your career growth. I have had a problem with micromanagers all my life till now, at least they gave you a certain importance by entrusting work to you, sure they make life harder but they make you accountable. With category 4, you just start feeling like an orphan at work because you know at the end of the day nobody has your interests in mind. I pray and hope to god that someday I’m not writing about category 5 because gosh I’m tired of bad bosses.

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Originally published at on March 21, 2016.

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