Horrible bosses and how to deal with them

It's Monday morning. You're back at your desk. But instead of feeling happy and productive, your very soul is battered and disheartened as you hear the sound of your boss entering the office.

Image licensed via Adobe Stock

Image licensed via Adobe Stock

Although there are lots of fantastic leaders in the world, there are some that make you want to crawl back under your duvet and hide. However, don't despair! There are ways to tackle horrible bosses – even the challenging ones. Here's a list of the most common types of awful bosses and some useful advice on how to handle each one.

The Micro-manager

They breathe down your neck. Listen to every phone call you make and give feedback. They insist that you CC them into every email, and tell you where you're always going wrong. After a while, you start to lose confidence and doubt your abilities.

The Solution

Micromanaging has nothing to do with the quality of your work – it’s about your boss. They have a serious problem with handing over control and allowing you to get on with your work. In which case, feed the micromanager with what they want, before they ask for it. Every Monday morning, talk to your boss and tell them what you have planned for the week and then give them 'progress' updates as you go along. Reassure them by demonstrating that you're in control and the work is being carried out. Prove yourself. If that doesn't work – talk to your boss. Let them know that you feel they're monitoring your work too closely and you work more effectively with more breathing space.

The Bully

They're intimidating. They shout at you and other staff. They don't seem to listen to ideas. They're a scary presence in the office, and they use their aggression to make themselves heard. Quite frankly, they're a bully.

The Solution

Even though a bully can be scary, don't cower and avoid confrontation, speak up! Stand up to them, and you might find that they back down and listen to you – even respect you. Remain calm and ask them not to yell or interrupt. Ask them if they can explain the problem. By staying professional, you might also calm the situation. If all else fails, stay out of their way, do a good job and always be on time.

The Workaholic

They're the first person in the office and the last to leave. They eat their lunch at their desk, and they never seem to look up from their keyboard. It's not unusual for the Workaholic to send you emails on Saturday mornings. It leaves you feeling guilty about leaving the office on time and enjoying your weekends.

The Solution

Just because your boss thinks work should take over everything else, it doesn't mean you should too. Remember, the law is on your side, and you are entitled to leave the office on time and relax outside of work. Don't feel bad for doing what you're entitled to do. Just switch off email alerts outside working hours, always take your designated lunch break and leave the office when you want to. You're not going to get in trouble for it. Just make sure you work very hard when you're at your desk.

The Neglector

With the Neglector boss, it's like you don't exist to them. They never seem to be there. This missing-in-action boss – who provides absolutely no direction – means that you're left playing the guessing game. But you don't want to 'check-in' with them because you'd feel that was 'sucking up'.

The Solution

With the Neglector, you've got to boost your visibility. Don't worry about being seen as the teacher's pet. You've got to make yourself heard and inform your boss of your progress and updates. Because if you don't, he or she will never find out! Don't assume that bosses will know about your achievements, so let them know to boost your chances of promotion.

The Politician

A coward in every way, the Politician boss is someone who always puts their needs before anyone else. They might act like your best friend, but they'll stab you in the back if they feel they have to. Expect broken promises, stolen ideas and manipulative whispers with the Politician.

The Solution

An easy one to resolve – the best way to protect yourself against the Politician is to communicate everything in writing. That means you have official written evidence to back you up in future. For example, any documents or proposals that need signing off. And if your boss tries to finalise an agreement verbally, follow it up with an email confirmation. Even better, CC at least one other person in the company.

The Egomaniac

They love the fact that they're your boss. Their ego is so big; it could travel around the world and back again. They love to be the centre of attention. They always have to be right. And if they're not? The toys will most definitely be thrown out of the pram.

The Solution

Of all the horrible bosses, this one is the easiest to tackle. All you have to do is stroke their ego. Allow them to be the centre of attention and give them the impression that you hang on their every word. Say their first name often, as psychologists conclude it's the sweetest sound in the world to them. Feed the ego, and the ego will leave you alone.

The Bitter Lemon

Of all the horrible bosses, this has to be the worst. Especially for young people who are just starting their careers. You see, the Bitter Lemon is the boss who never entirely made it. They're bitter in every sense of the word. They never achieved all their dreams, so why should you? Expect cynical remarks and sarcasm. Forget about promotion – the chances are very slim. They're jealous that you've got your whole life ahead of you and they'll make damn sure that you don't go anywhere fast.

The Solution

Keep in mind that it's their problem, not yours. Get your head down, work hard and get that crucial experience under your belt. Don't let their remarks get you down and always remember this – unlike them; you are going places and will be a success. This job is just a stepping stone, and you'll soon be moving on to the next opportunity.


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