Micro Management

Tox ic Bosses

Joan Schramm asked:

When people gather around the water cooler, there’s always one favorite topic: toxic bosses. You know, the ones who make life in the office unbearable? Here are some of the more common varieties you’ll find.

1. The Screamer. You can’t miss this guy. He never stops to consider his audience or who might be listening when he starts one of his rants. He’ll dress down a subordinate in the middle of the hall; he’ll scream at the supplier on the phone; he’ll holler to his secretary from inside his office instead of using the intercom. Nothing’s private and no one is exempt from his temper.

2. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. A variation on The Screamer, only without the consistency. With this boss, you never know whether you’re going to be praised for something or get your head handed to you. It’s hard to plan for both flowers and brickbats at the same time.

3. The Micro-Manager. A very common genus, the Micro-Manager is so unsure of herself that she can’t afford to trust other people’s work. She makes you explain reports line by line, then sends you back to re-do them. She demands twice-daily updates on your projects. She won’t let you make a single decision without her input. It’s like being in kindergarten but without nap-time.

4. The Invisible Woman. You never see her, which might be ok except when you need a question answered or someone to back you up on a sensitive project. This boss thinks that if she hides, nothing bad will ever happen. Of course, nothing good will ever happen either, but she thinks that the status quo is just fine.

5. The Gossiper. No one has more inside info than this guy does, and he isn’t shy about sharing it. He’ll tell you why the guy in shipping got fired and how the woman in payroll really messed up. He knows all the skeletons and where the bodies are buried. Conversations with him might be interesting, except for that little worry about what he might be telling people about you.

6. The Idiot. He just doesn’t get it. He either has the IQ of a turnip or he only sees things in black and white. He doesn’t understand complex ideas, nuances or more than two options. Make sure you spell things out completely, using only the facts (no assumptions), and use small words.

Do you recognize anyone? Probably – toxic bosses are everywhere and, unfortunately, we’ve all got a story to share.

If you have a toxic boss who’s making your life miserable, you may want to consider a new job. To get you started, check out my free mini-course, “Your Perfect Job – 3 Steps to Jump-start Your Search”. Sign up at

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