5 Bad Bosses and How to Deal With Them

5 Bad Bosses and How to Deal With Them
Follow Zondra Hughes on Twitter @ZondraHughes.com

By Zondra Hughes

On an early Saturday morning, I wore a banker’s blue suit to launch the weekend on a professional note.

I was meeting with other professional women who relayed stories of being on the receiving end of great advice, mentorship, and ‘women who HELP each other in the workplace,’ and I was just astounded.

What. The. Hell. A workplace where people help you? A boss that offers mentorship and sound advice? That had not been my experience at all! Or as the younger chicks say, “where they do that at?”

So, for other chicks who are on the job with the worst bosses ever, let me dole some sound advice to help you cope.

The 5 Bad Bosses

Not all bosses are bad. But these five are.

1. The Slave Master (Small Business Owner)

Slavery is illegal, but the Slave Master, a rogue small business owner, has not received the memo. The Slave Master reigns supreme in his small business, and he will demand that you produce 24-7, on weekends and holidays.  The Slave Master believes that you were born to work for him, for free.

The Slave Master expects you to be on-call, except on payday when he disappears and leaves his Inept Minions in charge.

How to deal: The Slave Master is set in his ways and will not change. Get with his program or get out of his company. If you must leave, secure a great letter of recommendation from his beleaguered second in command before you go.

2. The Inept Minions (Family-Owned Businesses)

Brace yourself: The Inept Minions are running the most important departments in the company; your money and your health plan.

Inept Minion #1, Mr. Pookie, is running HR (and thinks it stands for Humiliation & Retaliation) and Inept Minion #2, Ms. Ray Ray, is running payroll (and thinks your hard-earned money is her personal piggy bank). Pookie and Ray Ray are typically related to the Slave Master and will make your life a living hell in an attempt to divert attention from their own inadequacies.

How to deal: The Inept Minions play chess (well, checkers because they’re typically stupid) with people’s lives, and are notorious for misleading others. Your best bet when dealing with these people is to create a paper trail, (that is, making your requests via memo or email, and asking for responses via email). Also, never divulge personal information, unless you want the entire company to know.

3. The Sexual Harasser  

This boss is a horny mess and all roads lead to his/her casting couch.  If you want a promotion, there’s only one way to get it. If you want a new copier, there’s only one way to get it. If you want time off, your paycheck on time, the better parking spot, etc., there’s only one way to get it. Warning: if you take the bait, the transactions will never end; that is, until someone hotter joins the company. When that happens, all of your heretofore  perks will fly out the window.

How to deal: Be clear that you’re not interested in intimacy and do not waver on that. Depending on the Sexual Harasser’s clout at the company, your resistance could be respected, or it could launch a revenge campaign to run you out.

In any event, document everything and, yes, look for another job and an attorney if it comes to that.

4. The Superior

The Superior comes to work to taunt her underlings. She demands control of your professional life and your personal life and feels empowered each time she defeats you.

How to deal: The Superior’s cruel secret is that he/she feels inferior. Knowing this, you can feed the Superior’s ego, and keep your safe distance, or you can flaunt everything you have and launch an all-out war of the egos at work. If you go with option two, you should also look for another job—quickly.

5. The Office Politician

If there was a popularity contest, the Office Politician would win it. That’s her goal, to get in good with the higher-ups that can make or break her career.  If the Office Politician is your boss, she will take credit for your work; and will throw you under the bus at every turn.

The end goal is to always make herself appear to be more brilliant than everyone else.

How to deal: You can’t win with this person because chances are she’s been politicking for years and has a list of fired employees to prove it.  Ask the Office Politician to outline your responsibilities (via email or memo); and stick to that list. The Office Politician will not add her tasks to your list because it will expose her. After you receive your list of responsibilities, focus on the work that you were hired to do and don’t devote extra time to her pet projects or shenanigans.

Also, learn from The Office Politician; if she can schmooze her way into the upper ranks, so can you. Your schmoozing objective shouldn’t be to manipulate others, however; you should schmooze to create valuable, authentic relationships with people that are willing to help you advance.

Don’t just play the game, Chicks, play the game to win. I love you, and you’re welcome.



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