The bad boss

Not all bosses are created equal. Anyone who has ever had a bad boss knows this all too well.

We have discovered that good bosses listen well, empower their people, mentor, teach, coach, inspire innovation and creativity and have fun. It is the flip side of these positive behaviors that we explore now.

As no one is perfect, we hope these insights will inform and enlighten you to explore the full productivity of your workplace and workmates.

Here they are, five bad bosses:
1. The talker – a boss who allows no space for employees to speak or learn through conversation. 
This boss is often thought of as a bigmouth, braggart, gossiper, and/or lecturer. They talk and talk and talk and never listen. They interrupt others and are overly self-involved with their thoughts and expressions. Talkers listen only to themselves and disregard anything offered by their subordinates. Resenting their employees’ input, they stifle creativity and productivity while cultivating widespread discontent in their team. Talkers make bad bosses because they miss out on opportunities both for their own development and for that of their employees.
2. The disenfranchiser – a boss who restrains and suppresses employees from maximizing their true potential. 
This kind of boss is dominating and oppressive, restricting and subduing employees. The disenfranchiser squashes employees’ inspirations and aspirations, offering no reason other than their position at the top.
Employees are stifled, bored, and miserable. Disenfranchisers are bad bosses because they deprive their employees of basic needs and future aspirations.
3. The disconnector – a boss who closes off and renounces employees while destroying their confidence.
This boss isolates and obstructs employees’ activities. The disconnector obstructs communication and rejects suggestions. They sit in their office, apart from their team, coming out only to break up projects and partnerships. Disconnectors are bad bosses because they remove essential communication channels and are demeaning towards their employees.  
4. The square dude (or dudette) – a boss that is behind the times, straight-laced, and struggles to lead and inspire. 
This boss struggles to keep up with contemporary culture, whether it is “cool” or not. Instead of quelling misunderstandings, they contribute to strife and friction. The square dude (or dudette) sticks to old ways out of ignorance or contempt for new ways. They force these old ways upon their employees and scoff when they are met with resistance. The square dude (or dudette) is a bad boss by being out of touch with the times, stagnating in old ways and unnecessarily forcing these ways upon their employees.
5. The destroyer – a boss who saps the strength and motivation out of employees. 
This boss is perhaps the ultimate bad boss – not just rejecting employees’ needs and dreams, but utterly crushing them. All requests for support and guidance are met with sarcasm and disrespect. The destroyer rivals its naval and starship counterparts on human-to-human terms.
Nobody intends to be a bad boss, but we all slip up sometimes. If you think you may have lapsed into one of the above descriptions, think about it and look at our previous blog about “the good boss”.


Jim & Matt Finkelstein

Jim Finkelstein is a student and leader of people in business. With 34+ years of consulting and corporate experience, he has specialized in business and people strategy, motivation and reward, and organizational assessment, development, communications and transformation. Finkelstein has worked for diverse industries, from health care to high tech. He has built programs and provided services to boards of directors, senior executives, management and employees.

Finkelstein received his MBA in Organization Behavior and Development from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (1976) and a BA in Psychology and Economics from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut (1974).

His experience includes being a partner in a Big Five firm, a CEO of a professional services firm, a corporate executive for Fortune 500 companies, and an entrepreneur with his current company, FutureSense®, Inc. He has experienced business from every possible angle and through every possible change.

Matt Finkelstein, Jim’s son, is a part-time consultant at FutureSense and farm manager for the Four Elements Farm, Atascadero, California.