Outten & Golden: Empowering Employees in the Workplace

Who Makes the Worst Bosses?

January 4th, 2010 | Bob Rosner

Image: Bob RosnerAccording to my email, today’s workplace is full of bosses who seem more focused on baubles and bling than on their organization’s well-being. Bosses who yell, bosses who have their own set of rules or even bosses who ask their assistant to type her own termination letter (a true story from one of my presentations) seem to be all the rage (pun intended).

Think I’m exaggerating? Then listen to what people talk about on airplanes, in restaurants and on street corners. It’s all about work. And the one work topic that dominates all others is bad bosses. Sorry to break this to you if you are a boss, but chances are that your employees are talking about you and what they are saying will make your hair curl.

Which got me thinking, is there a particular group of bosses who are worse than another group? So as a community service, the nominees for worst type of boss are:

FINANCIAL people—accountants, CFOs and finance types who are totally focused on money, usually at the expense of any ability to actually deal with people. Or in the words of my MBA Finance professor, “Cash flow is more important than your mother.” At the time I thought he was joking. Having gotten to know a few CFOs, I think many of them actually think this is true.

SALES people—marketers and sales people who are totally focused on getting people to want to buy whatever they are selling at the expense of actually listening to what people really think. A great salesperson can easily create an environment where everyone is drinking from the same batch of Kool Aid and where any voices that disagree are silenced or discredited.

TECHNICAL people—engineers, CTOs and techies make the worst bosses because they are often favor machines over people. They like the “0” and “1” logic of computers and hate how messy actual people can be with their needs and wants. Technical people can always be looking for the logic in a situation, a logic that seldom exists when dealing with real people in a workplace.

LEGAL people—lawyers, need I say more?

Vote in our online ballot and tell us what is the worst type of boss that you’ve run across in your career. I’ll admit that this column and poll can be considered a cheap shot; at the same time, aren’t you curious to see the poll results identifying the worst type of boss?

About the Author: Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning workplace911.com. If you have a question for Bob, contact him via bob@workplace911.com.

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