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7 Kinds Of Toxic Bosses You Need To Avoid

7 Kinds Of Toxic Bosses You Need To Avoid

Sometimes you find yourself in an office setting with a boss that is less than ideal. Taking into account human nature, at some point managers or bosses are going to make mistakes or treat you somewhat unkindly. However, when that behavior creeps to a different level, and you end up with a toxic boss, you will of course need tools to be able to spot them. For that reason, I have compiled this list of the 10 different kind of toxic bosses.

1. The Tyrant

Usually the easiest to spot, the tyrant is the type of toxic boss who is concern with only their own ego. The tyrant makes every decision in a manner that will only benefit themselves. The tyrant is Machiavellian in nature. Anyone who challenges the status quo is seen as an up-riser and is squashed. This person doesn’t build team moral; rather, they divide and conquer, make seemingly arbitrary decisions, and take every chance to remind you that they are in charge.

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2. The Inappropriate Buddy

Growing up, everyone had a buddy with a dad or uncle who was always “just trying to be one of the guys.” This parental figure would talk to you about members of the opposite sex, about going out and having fun, or about school as if they were there with you. The innappropriate buddy is the workplace version of the same thing. This toxic boss will use their place of authority to make sure you are their friend. Whether or not they mean to, they create workplace division and will inevitably dig up some office gossip that will prove detrimental to someone. 

3. The Promoted-Too-Fast

This person has less than a year’s worth of experience over you, but that did not stop the company from moving this achiever up the corporate ladder too soon. Arguably the worst type of toxic boss to have, this person will be in charge of people with more experience. They will resent every effort those workers make to do their jobs. Constantly in over there head, there is no saving this person – they are doomed. The panic in their eyes says they know it.

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4. The Swoop-In

This toxic boss is usually fairly disengaged in work, which makes it mostly bearable for a good portion of the time. You get to kick back and hold yourself to their nondefined standards. However, when someone higher above the swoop-in comes calling about progress, this boss will show up, misunderstand the situation, make illogical demands of you, and leave. It’s so not terrible, as long as they don’t hold you to those demands once their supervisors find something more interesting.

5. The Innovator

When you first meet them, the innovator seems like an amazing boss to work for. They have all the brilliant ideas. They want you to expand your creativity in executing those ideas. The fault of the innovator is two-fold: they never stop innovating long enough for you to see the ideas to execution, and they have no idea what the end product of their idea would look like.

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6. The Robot

The defining feature of the robot is that they don’t seem to have a need for sleep. Or food. Or social contact, for that matter. This person has memorized all of the benchmarks their department is required to meet. They are relentless in driving you towards just one more ounce of productivity. They don’t even feel a certain way about making you work a billion hours to hit a specific goal. Basically, if they can work 14 hour days every day for eight years, then why can’t you?

7. The Micromanager

When working for a micromanager, you may constantly feel as though you should just give them your work and tell them to do it for you. A micromanager will never be happy with the format of the spreadsheet you used, or the color ink you wrote a note in. They will spend extra time trying to teach you things that you already know, all the while missing meetings and deadlines of their own because what you are doing just needs to be done correctly, dammit. 

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Featured photo credit: John Angry/Oboyah Za3lan via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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