Do this, not that. You’re one minute late. You’re doing it wrong. Your work doesn’t meet the standards. Are you familiar with these friendly reminders?
We’ve all had a difficult boss or two in our careers. If you’re dealing with one right now, here’s a list of the top 10 horrible bosses that we think are out there and a few tips on how to best manage them. Here’s to hoping that you don’t encounter all ten of them in this lifetime.
Have you ever lived under a microscope? Well this is how everyday will feel like with the scientist. He’s a micro-manager and he will never be satisfied. He’ll constantly test you and will eventually push all the wrong buttons just to see how you react – he might even correct your reaction. Even the way you staple your documents will be questioned. He’ll constantly seek to re-arrange and adjust the way you work which might make you feel incompetent.
How to deal with the scientist: Let him know what your plans are at the start of every week. He loves knowing what’s going to happen and how you’ll work on them. Make him feel that his way is right and then offer your ideas. If this doesn’t satisfy him, it might help to be honest that you work best with a little space.
The Powder Puff
You’re breaking your back with work and yet you find yourself reporting to someone who’s clueless more than half the time. Sure she looks good, but there’s nothing there but air. The powder puff will leave you questioning how she got her job in the first place. Maybe she’s well connected; maybe she got lucky. Don’t think about it, you’ll only strain yourself.
How to deal with the powder puff: Notes. Notes. Notes. Take as many notes as you can, and send her email reminders if you have to. Unfortunately with the powder puff, you’ll have to take over the driver’s seat and just run the show. Don’t worry; your hard work will pay off in the future.
Too friendly? Almost touchy? Did he really say that? The rhino will always leave you questioning if you’re just a little paranoid or if he actually made a pass at you. The rhino seems to have mastered walking the tightrope of office harassment. He – because more often that not, this is a male superior – knows the sleaziest of lines but is careful enough not to get caught.
How to deal with the rhino: Just be as professional as possible. Have an imaginary ruler with you and keep your distance. If you could, avoid office happy hour drinks. That’s the rhino’s favorite hunting ground and he’ll probably make another pass at you then. If it does get out of hand, talk to your office’s HR.
One minute you’re wonder boy, the next you don’t even deserve to exist. Chimeras can become really difficult bosses to deal with. You’ll go through their roller coaster of emotions and it will always be their show. Their brilliance has turned most of them into divas. And a lot of them are screamers, so you’ve got to grow thicker skin, if you want to survive. They can be great mentors on good days and leave you wanting to run on bad ones.
How to deal with the chimera: Know your work inside and out. Have everything on record and check everything twice. The last thing you want is to be caught off guard. The chimera is the first person to praise you for a job well done, and could also be the first one to throw you under the bus.
The M.I.A. is never there. You’ll be left to fend for yourself until the next big meeting when he has to show up. He’ll be there to show upper management what a wonderful job he’s been doing or will cause a scene to prove to people that’s he’s involved. But as soon as that’s over, don’t count on him to hang around to check on you or your progress report. Don’t count on a promotion either; if you have an M.I.A. for a boss, he might even forget to evaluate you.
How to deal with the M.I.A.: Keep doing your work well and create a support group of colleagues. If you’re looking for mentorship, ask help from other bosses so you could learn. Make sure other people are aware of what you’re doing and don’t be shy about the things you’ve accomplished.
You’ll probably get work emails as early as Sunday morning if you have a workaholic for a boss. The workaholic is the first one in the office and the last one to leave. He’ll have lunch at his table and would multitask as much as he can. It will probably feel like he’s demanding the same performance from you, which can be a lot pressure.
How to deal with the workaholic: Don’t worry about it too much. Just because he thinks that life revolves around work, doesn’t mean you have to adapt the same frame of mind. Just do your job and make sure all of your deliverables are in order. Acknowledge the emails he sent, so that he knows that you’re on top of things. It also helps to be honest about how you feel. Oh and have your lunch break as you please, you’re entitled to that.
The Con Artist
Much like the powder puff, the con artist doesn’t really know anything. The difference? He’s good at maneuvering his way through all of it. He’ll always come up with a good save and he thinks quickly on his toes. Watch out though, he’ll probably take credit for the hard work you’ve put in.
How to deal with the con artist: Have everything on record. The con artist, more often than not, will try to take credit for the work you’ve done. Make sure other colleagues are aware of your tasks and how well you’ve been doing. It also helps if your meetings are within earshot of other officemates.
The Ancient boss can be very closed-minded, very old school. He’ll impose the things he’s used to and won’t welcome your opinion. He’ll play hardball and will question your out-of-the-box thinking. Submitting your ideas to an ancient can leave you frustrated and uninspired.
How to deal with the ancient: Ancients are tough creatures but they’re not unbreakable. Don’t lose hope. If you truly believe that your ideas are better than theirs, or that it would do your work good, be honest about it. Show them proof, numbers, and the efficiency of what you’re proposing. You never know, you might actually be the one that ushers them into this century.
The Party Boy
The party boy has all the energy in the world for partying and living the good life. He’ll stick around long enough to pass his work onto you and show people that he’s done something. He’ll make you feel that he’s the nicest boss ever, but don’t let the charm fool you.
How to deal with the party boy: Have a detailed account of all the things he’s asked you to do. On some days, have the courage to turn the work down. Or better yet, ask for his help; tell him that you’re loaded and that you need him. Ask him to teach you what he knows. Make him feel that you are his responsibility and that whatever output you come up with is reflective of him.
Everyone loves the underdog, except this one. The underdog can be a very envious creature. She’s probably lived out most of her life and achieved very little, while you, on the other hand, still have a bright future ahead. She had a rough time getting to where she is so she won’t make your journey any easier. She’s very frugal with praise and can easily spot the littlest of your flaws.
How to deal with the underdog: Work smart. Try to be two steps ahead. If your boss says the deadline is in two days, finish it a day early. Don’t let her negativity dampen your sunshine. Make sure all your deliverables are above standard. Also, try to get the attention of the other bosses and impress them.
At the end of the day, no matter how horrible your current boss may be if you do your job well, you’ll achieve great things. Just make sure you don’t end up becoming a horrible boss someday too.