You’ve got liars, thieves and those bad bosses who intentionally, purposely spend their days thinking of ways to torture their employees. You might be wondering what could possibly be worse than that? How about a bad boss who doesn’t know she’s bad. Or a nice guy who’s really bad at managing people. In my experience these can be some of the worst kind of bad boss. Case in point, my former HR Manager.
At first glance, Mary was friendly, helpful and knowledgeable about all things HR – until I was actually working with her on a daily basis. It took only a few months to realize that Mary was woefully unprepared for the rigors of real HR Management. Yes she knew the laws and had the required posters displayed in the break room, but when it came to real HR Management – managing people, issues and the day to day operation of human resources, Mary was in way over her head.
A succession of blatantly bad hires and mental breakdowns in front of staff and employees and her carefully constructed cover was blown – at least to those of us who had to work with her on a daily basis. The VPs were clueless about her lack of management skills because they were off-site and because she told them exactly what they wanted to hear. It was only after a couple of years of record high turnover that management took a careful look at Mary and finally got rid of her. The most surprising thing about Mary though wasn’t her ineptitude, it was her complete inability to face up to it. I could never figure out if her bravado was a cover, or if she really thought she was good at her job. Whatever the reason, her continued insistence that she was excellent at the job was what made Mary completely unbearable.
Then there’s the bad boss who’s friendly, sociable and who you wouldn’t mind working for – if only they knew what they were doing. What makes these bad bosses so difficult to deal with is that they’re genuinely good people, just really bad bosses. You can usually identify them by their tendency to be unorganized, show up late to just about everything and their general inability to give subordinates good direction. They might be very talented in their area of expertise, but when it comes to managing people, they’re just no good at it. As a consequence, they’re great to be around, but really bad to work for. It might seem nitpicky to fuss about a good guy who happens to be a bad boss, but when you’ve got deadlines to meet and professional goals to attain, working for anyone who isn’t able to help you gain the skills and experience you need to move forward can be detrimental to your career.
What’s been your experiences with these particular types of bad bosses? Did you find them harder or easier to work with than other types of bad bosses? Share your thoughts in our comment section.