WNA Blog

Wed 20 Jun 2018

The 6 Bad Boss Types

Business Consulting & Coaching
It can be confusing to work out what your Boss does that drives you crazy. This can be because their behaviour is unpredictable and, depending on their mood, you ‘never know what you are going to get.’ Six types of difficult or ‘bad’ bosses have been identified.



  1. The Always Angry Boss  This Boss is always unpleasant to be around. They are often unpredictable.  Calm one moment, they explode the next!  Working with them feels like you are always walking on egg-shells.  When will the next outburst occur?
  2.  The Completely Clueless Boss  This kind of Boss has no idea what they are doing, or how to do it, but are very good at pretending they do. They are known for making their people do the work, then, taking credit for a job well done, when projects are completed on time by their competent people.  They are poorly regarded by their troops and fob their way through each day.
  3.  The Ever Critical Boss  No matter what you or your team does, nothing is good enough for this Boss. Your work is never good enough, your team does not perform well enough and nobody is doing what they are supposed to.  This Boss is this only person who does a good job (in their mind)!
  4. The I’m nice to your face, but talk about you behind your back’ Boss  Many people believe this is the worst kind of bad boss. They present one thing to you, but do or say another.  You cannot trust them to be loyal to you or stand by the team in challenging and difficult times. Many Organisations lose valuable employees because of this type of Boss.  You often find them high up the corporate ladder.
  5. The Totally Disorganised Boss  Always late, can’t find things, blames others when things go wrong, or goals are not achieved (because they are not organised), this Boss is a nightmare! They often don’t achieve their targets and blame their people for being ‘under-performers.’
  6. The Smiling Assassin Boss  Similar to the ‘I’m nice to your face’ Boss, this character delights in delivering bad news, dividing the troops, maintains power and control by slashing and burning. Distrusted and feared by their people, these bosses lose good people on a regular basis.

The ‘bad’ boss checklist

  • They never greet their people (or only do so occasionally)
  • They get angry quickly and shout and scream
  • They are unpredictable. One moment they are calm, the next fiery
  • They get their people to do what they are not prepared to do themselves
  • They criticise their people publically
  • They talk about their people to other managers or staff
  • The growl a lot ….. at you!
  • They don’t play fair. Different rules for different people!

What you can do

It can be very difficult dealing with a difficult or ‘bad’ boss.  Many people find it extremely challenging and upsetting, particularly if the boss is a person who does not listen or show interest in their people.  And human capital walks out the door.

As an Organisation

  • Make sure you have a zero tolerance, anti-bullying policy within the Organisation;
  • If you are a leader, learn to listen to your people and ask them how they view your behaviour;
  • If you run the Company and recognise ‘bad’ bosses in your midst, don’t leave them in a leadership role to lose more valuable staff. Either provide coaching and help them to grow in areas of leadership, or encourage them to find a career elsewhere;
  • Perform down-up reviews at all levels within your Company, where people down the line are able to assess the performance of those above them;
  • Ensure policies and procedures are clear Organisation-wide, about how bullying and inappropriate behaviour will be dealt with.

As an Individual

  • Meet your goals and perform your role well;
  • Don’t be beaten down by your ‘bad’ boss. You are valuable to the Organisation;
  • Write your thoughts and feelings down;
  • Act professionally at all times;
  • Find a positive mentor in the Organisation who can be there to guide you;
  • Approach your boss calmly and be assertive. Explain the impact of their behaviour on you and that you would like to resolve issues;
  • Keep a journal of incidents;
  • Stay in control and act professionally at all times. Even if your boss does not behave well, it does not mean that you don’t too;
  • Keep abreast of other openings within the Organisation and outside of it;
  • Network;
  • Don’t go and talk to your boss’ boss – unless it’s the last resort;
  • No role or job is worth ongoing stress, unhappiness or depression. Find another job, where people will value you and want you to be part of their team.


Because we spend so much time at work, it is critical that we enjoy what we do and the people with whom we work.

Working under a bad boss can have a significant impact on our health, and whilst there are various avenues to pursue to attempt to resolve challenging behaviours with our boss, the time may come where we need to walk away from the role and Organisation, in search for greater peace and ultimately, sanity.

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