Which type of horrible boss do you think you have?
New study pinpoints character traits of the bosses who make working lives a misery!
The study especially commissioned to celebrate the launch of smash hit comedy ‘Horrible Bosses’ on Blu-ray triple play and DVD, was led by eminent business psychologist Doctor Rob Yeung, an expert in workplace behaviour. The findings which are the result of an in-depth academic study combined with a poll of 2,000 employed adults are likely to strike a chord with working Brits throughout the country.
1. The BUREAUCRAT
Loves the rulebook (25%)
These bosses stick to the rules, whether the rule is right or wrong. These bosses stick to the rules because they hate “sticking their necks out” for anything. They hate, hate, hate being criticised or feeling embarrassed. So they just stick to the rules. Even when the rules don’t make sense, they’ll shrug their shoulders and blame the bureaucracy.
They’ll say “There’s nothing I can do about it” because they don’t want to make a mistake. They don’t care about success so much as avoiding failure. So they don’t speak up. They don’t take chances. And they will hardly ever express controversial opinions or contribute anything innovative or creative in discussions for fear of looking stupid.
They don’t like taking chances and hate making decisions for which they don’t have precise rules. So in a crisis or when things go wrong and there isn’t a rule that tells them precisely how they should behave, they may become incredibly indecisive.
As a result, these bosses are totally anal about detail. Suppose you’ve been working on a project for months and you present a big report to your boss on something that will make a big difference to the organisation. Your boss will probably read it and fixate on the fact that there was a typo on page 72.
2. The EGO MANIAC
Super confident ‘I’m always right’ (23%)
Sure, it’s good to work for a confident boss. But some bosses just take it too far. They believe their own hype. They can never be wrong. You can try telling them until you’re blue in the face that they’re wrong but they’ll still find a way to disregard you. Because they are so sure of their own talents, they often have a huge sense of entitlement. After all, they’re special, so why shouldn’t they be treated differently from everyone else? The rules that apply to other people simply don’t apply to them – at least in their own minds.
They enjoy being the star of the show, to take the credit and glory. So when it comes to actually doing the hard work and following up on an idea, you won’t see them around. Because they’ll have moved on to the next idea. While they initially may seem charismatic and confident, you may change your mind when you get to know them.
They may be self-absorbed, highly opinionated, and total pains to work with because they think they’re never wrong. That makes them difficult to work with because they have an opinion on everything. Their way of doing something has to be the right way, right?
3. The VISIONARY
A blue sky thinker (20%)
These bosses are creative thinkers. They like to innovate, to change, to come up with new ideas for how things could be different. They think of themselves as visionaries, “out of the box” “blue sky” thinkers.
Unfortunately, that’s how they see themselves. The rest of the team may see them as crazy bosses with little grasp on reality. Their ideas may just be unworkable, impracticable, too unrealistic to ever work.
Given a new challenge, they’ll want to brainstorm and throw ideas around. But ask them to talk about how to turn an idea into reality and they’ll lose interest. They’re visionary types, not dull implementers.
If you go to them with a great idea, they will probably love it. But when you go back to them with a proposal for how it would work out, they may have lost interest. In a way, these guys are the opposite of the nit-picky bureaucratic bosses. While nit-picking bureaucrats need rules, these visionary bosses hate rules. They don’t like convention or tradition. They don’t respect how things have been done in the past – they’re more than happy to throw the baby out with the bathwater. And while nit-picky bosses micromanage their teams, visionary bosses give little or no guidance because they are so disinterested in reality.
4. The VOLCANO
Volatile, unpredictable, ever-changing boss (19%)
These bosses are like emotional rollercoasters. One minute they’re up, positive, excited and enthusiastic about things. The next minute they’re down, irritable, annoyed, disappointed and wanting to move on to something new. When they’re great, they’re fantastic to work for. They can be charming and warm and friendly. But when they’re down, they may throw tantrums and make threats about firing people. Or they may seem quite needy, insecure and even neurotic.
The study reveals that you can never predict how this kind of boss is going to react. Go to them with an idea and they may love it. Or they may hate it. You just don’t know where you stand from one day to the next – or even one hour of the day to the next. Worse still, they’re particularly unpredictable and emotionally volatile under pressure. They may not even be consistent from one person to the next. They may say that a project is a great idea to you, but then tell another person that it’s a bad idea. So it can seem quite manipulative, as if they’re playing favourites off against each other.
5. The “COLD FISH” boss
Mistrustful and uncaring (13%)
Some bosses prefer to keep to themselves. To say that they are introverted would be an understatement. They are much more interested in tasks and duties than people and feelings. Actually, if they could have their way, they’d do away with most of their colleagues. Even when things are going wrong and other people may be upset, these bosses may be thinking “Well, that’s their problem, not mine.”
They focus so much on their work that they come across as cold and clinical, withdrawn, unemotional or even uncaring. Because these bosses aren’t very socially skilled, they often worry about other people’s intentions. If you’re popping out for a sandwich and offer to buy a sandwich too for this kind of boss, they’re probably wondering “What do you really want? Why are you being nice?” They’re always on the lookout for ulterior motives. And, because they’re so suspicious, they find them. Even when they’ve got no reason to be mistrustful, they may misinterpret social cues and find ways to convince themselves that they’re being deceived, ripped off, or mistreated.
This isn’t the kind of boss who wants you to work from home. Oh no. If you’re working from home, they’re probably thinking “Hmm, are you really working or are you actually slacking off?” There’s no trust there.
When asked what they thought they would get from their boss this Christmas, a whopping 41% of respondents admitted ‘sod all,’ 23% thought they would at least get a Christmas card and 22% thought their boss might stretch to a drink down the pub.
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