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Faults of Worst Managers

One of the most important considerations in starting your enterprise will be your choice of management. Your company can only be as good or as desirable as your managers. While your ground-level employees are your company’s link to the consumer, your managers have the power to create either a desirable or a downright miserable work environment. If you want to attract top talent, you want to be a company that is known for having keen, capable, communicative and positive managers that help your employees grow and thrive. Here are some common “worst manager” personality types to watch out for within your enterprise.


The Jeckyl-and-Hyde Boss

NPR Workplace Correspondent David Molpus conducted an informal survey of listeners to identify commonalities among “worst bosses.” He found of all the types, the worst of all was the Jeckyl-and-Hyde boss who is your best friend one day and worst enemy the next. For instance, one manager sent an email that read, “Listen Goddammit, I am deadly serious… Your damn bonus next year won’t buy you a cheese sandwich if (production) doesn’t turn around.” Later that day, this same manager assured workers that he was “fighting as hard as he could to get all new managers as much money as possible.” When confronted, he denied his previous statements.


The Berating Boss

Another “worst of the worst” managerial type is the executive who showers a good team with criticism to “motivate” them. For instance, one group of engineers won an award for efficiency and productivity, but the company president berated them at the awards dinner, telling them they were “lazy slackers” and pointing to the door, saying that many of them should just “leave the company.”


The Corporate Narcissist

This type of manager likes to lord superiority over others. These bosses may snap their fingers to summon support staff, bang on restroom doors to discuss something they feel is urgent right away, lay down the phone to review files and never pick it up again, and talk on two phone lines simultaneously. You can think of a boss like Lumbergh in “Office Space.”


The Insensitive Boss

Another person emailed David Molpus to tell him about her insensitive boss. This woman has had a lifelong weight problem and the boss told her, “We have to teach you how to walk like a lady instead of charging around here like an elephant.” When her sister was dying of Cancer, he said, “God, it’s taking your sister so long to die!” When she had a back spasm, he got down on all fours simulating intercourse, saying, “That’s probably how she hurt her back!” When she said it was fibromyalgia, he wrote her up for “being a hypochondriac.”

The Head-In-The-Sand Manager

While a good manager will come out onto the floor and ask how people are doing or what issues they’re facing, a bad manager never leaves the office. This manager doesn’t make eye contact in the halls or say hello. When a problem is brought up, he or she becomes easily angered and impatient. The Head-in-the-Sand manager never thanks anyone and never praises anyone, but is quick to place blame. 

There are many other archetypes – the Control Freaks, the Stress Monkeys, the Boiling Pots – and naturally, you want to avoid having managers like this on your staff at all costs. When you’re hiring, it’s important to keep in mind that the most capable people do not always make the best managers. Steve Jobs, for instance, is certainly considered a genius, but his biography reveals another side to him that was argumentative, fired-up and often incorrigible with his employees. You will not only need to know how to spot the characteristics of the best managers, but you will also need documents and training programs drawn up that will emphasize the corporate culture you wish to convey.


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Related Articles:
NPR: Who’s The Worst Boss?
Times of India: Steve Jobs Was World’s Worst Manager

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