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10 Scariest Bosses: A Survival Guide

We explored multiple surveys and studies about bad bosses to assemble this rogue's gallery of the most reviled types of managers. Check out our 10 scariest bosses (complete with their own Halloween costumes), and consider our advice for how to deal with them.
The Ghost
The Politician
Dorothy And Toto
The Werewolf
Charlie Brown
Royalty
The Devil
The Vampire
The Zombie
The Clown
Conclusion
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Being trapped in a job with a bad boss can be a horror story. You might find yourself wishing you could battle zombies or vampires instead of going to work each day. You might long for close enounters with ghosts rather than endless meetings with a soul-sucking, credit-stealing manager.

We explored multiple surveys and studies about bad bosses to assemble this rogue's gallery of the most reviled types of managers. Our sources include LaSalle Network, Gallup, and Harris Poll on behalf of Interact. To keep you from complete despair, we also used those studies -- as well as guidance from leadership experts -- to come up with ideas for how you might turn things around if you happen to work for one of these devils.

How important is this? According to LaSalle's survey of more than 1,100 workers, 87% of respondents said they have had a bad boss, and 51% said they had quit a job to get away from a bad boss. Likewise, more than half (54%) of the 7,200 adults responding to a Gallup poll said they had quit a job to get away from a manager.

[ Stop! Don't take that new job until you get these questions answered. ]

Even worse, a Workfront study that polled 2,000 adults -- 610 of whom were employed full time -- found that 65% of respondents believe bad bosses can have the most negative impact on work/life balance.

Here are some steps you can take to help your situation, no matter what kind of a bad boss you have:

  • Report them. More than half (55%) of respondents to the LaSalle survey who said they had a bad boss never reported it to leadership.
  • Talk to the boss. Only 27% of respondents to the Gallup poll said they strongly agree with the statement "I feel I can talk with my manager about non-work-related issues," and only 37% strongly agreed that they could talk with their manager about anything. But a little communication goes a long way. Those respondents who felt they could talk openly with their bosses also had the highest levels of engagement in their jobs.
  • Try to transfer within the company. According to LaSalle, 83% of respondents who had a bad boss would have happily transferred within their company if it was possible. Usually, it is the manager we’re angry with, not the company.

Check out our 10 scariest bosses (complete with their own Halloween costumes), and consider our advice for how to deal with them.

After you've read through the list, share your boss horror stories in the comments section below.

 
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