Friday, July 1, 2011

Horrible Bosses

I will try and post author Nancy L. Clark's great article titled Horrible Bosses later next week. Her book 18 Holes for Leadership is written as the definitive solution for a horrible boss to learn, well, not to be so horrible. I've had a handful of horrible bosses over the years. So, I thought I would do a spinoff of Nancy's article and describe some of my worst supervisors and why they were so awful. I'm sure many of you can related.

One-line Cave Woman aka Non-Communicator Candy -- twice now I've worked with people who cannot answer a question in any meaningful way. When you ask them something, they give you pat answers and most of the time those answers consist of "yes" or "no." I once had a boss who was away six months and during this long absence, she didn't stay in touch and when she did respond those monosyllables were her words of choice. 

Finger-Pointer Fanny -- remember when we were little and our parent's pointed a finger at us as an emphatic warning about something? Well, in my last year of employment I worked with a finger-pointing, over-the-counter pill popper whose menacing and crooked (not kidding) finger would come out to chastise those around her. I remember spending an inordinate amount of time staring at that crooked finger, wondering why it was crooked. Let's keep it simple. Pointing your finger at your staff is demoralizing.

Yells a lot Linda -- again, another parental habit often involves yelling. Yelling to get your way with full-grown adults is not an effective management tool. The volume of your voice to the ratio of work to be completed doesn't equate. No one likes to be yelled at, including children. If your go-to leadership style involves your ability to raise your voice, perhaps you would be better off taking an anger management class.

Drugged-Out Diane -- another thing sure to land you in the middle of a lawsuit is to take prescriptions drugs, send out masses of email all night long because you have insomnia, and then admit that maybe your email was inaccurate -- you were on valium (true story). All I'm going to say is, if you need valium to function perhaps it's time for a little R&R preferably on the other side of the globe where they don't have email and you're forced to stay offline until you're "offline" on those drugs. 

Email Elaine -- ever worked for someone who sends you millions of emails ... per minute. Another terrible trait of someone who doesn't know the phone still works. Email Elaine is trigger happy with the send button. She can't help herself. It's like that button when the mouse gets a treat for tapping it. If you happen to work for Email Elaine who can't actually engage in mouth-to-mouth communication, it's very likely your entire existence consists of sitting at your desk, trying desperately to answer her emails lest she yell at you.


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