10 Scariest Bosses: A Survival Guide - InformationWeek

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10/30/2015
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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.
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(Image: andrewgenn/istock)

(Image: andrewgenn/istock)

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.

David has been writing on business and technology for over 10 years and was most recently Managing Editor at Enterpriseefficiency.com. Before that he was an Assistant Editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, where he covered a wide range of business topics including IT, ... View Full Bio

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Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
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11/2/2015 | 3:25:16 PM
The trouble with metrics...
In the digital age of business, it's going to be very hard not to be ruled by metrics. To a great extent everyone must pay attention to them. But the argument against them is right, they stifle the ability to do things in a way they haven't been done before. Chances are some employees should be allowed to be good at metric-based goals and those inclined should be allowed to push into new areas, at the risk of failing as they do so. When a failure occurs, most often punishment ensues from those who are only metric-oriented, and that's where the rubber meets the road with metrics. How much can they tolerate a setback?
impactnow
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impactnow,
User Rank: Author
10/31/2015 | 11:38:14 PM
Re: Distance
Working remotely is not for everyone, but for some its the best option to avoid long commutes and little work life balance. It depends on your stage in life and your personality.
Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Author
10/31/2015 | 5:36:45 AM
Re: Distance
A bad boss is still way better than a bad client.

At least you can fire the client, though.
impactnow
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impactnow,
User Rank: Author
10/30/2015 | 7:02:27 PM
Scary but true

There is an old saying people don't leave companies they leave managers, it is the truth. I too have had bad bosses like most people in the workforce but I have also had fantastic bosses that I would have walked over fiery coals for! Companies need to understand that the smartest person is not necessarily the best manager. Some individuals are better suited to thinking roles not managing roles.

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