Thursday, May 15, 2014

Bad Bosses

I have been in my chosen career for over thirty years now, and have worked for five different companies during that time. And for at least a dozen different bosses. Some have been very good; inspiring, motivational individuals.

And others have just flat-out sucked.

I am a boss myself. I have a staff of 23 very different individuals. Literally, a United Nations collective, since I presently work in Miami. Comes with the territory. And I can tell you that being the boss ain’t easy. What I have discovered is that it comes down to individual relationships – what works for Scott won’t work with Merci. Management isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ proposal – what motivates one person doesn’t work with another. As well, I have discovered that what people really want to know is why they are doing something. Tell them that, and things tend to go much smoother.

By no means do I consider myself a great boss. But I do think I am fairly competent on what I do, and if my staff’s collective morale is any indication, my style seems to work. But Gawd-DAMN I have witnessed and been subjected to boss styles that are horrid. Here are but a few, and I will be careful as to not totally blow their cover.

Not that they don’t deserve it, mind you. But here we go:

The Condescending Bitch: I have nothing against female bosses; let me be clear on that. But I had one female boss who was very dictatorial and kept her staff on a very short leash. She took over as my supervisor at a job I was at about ten years ago, where I was about three years into my employment. And apparently she felt she had to squarely press her thumb down on staff. She ruled through domination. Her pet phrase was, whenever I was presenting something, was to interrupt me and say, “What Jerry is TRYING to say is…”

Bitch, what I am trying to say is what I am saying. Shut up and listen.

The ‘Nothing is My Fault’ Douchenozzle: Everyone knows this type. He gives vague, cryptic direction on how he wants something accomplished, and then when the results aren’t what he wanted, he rants. Further, he has no compunction to toss his staff under the tires when he is pressed by his higher-ups. You wish he gets run over by a truck, which usually happens anyway, since Karma takes care of these types. The pet phrase of these types is, “You need to work smarter, not harder.”

Yeah well, you need your genitals attached to electricity.

The ‘In Over His Head’ Jerk: This is The Peter Principle in practice. Just because you are a good, say, bus driver doesn’t mean you are good at MANAGING bus drivers. Management is its own field of expertise, but this guy doesn’t understand that. Through doing a certain task for a number of years, he gets promoted; usually due to nobody else wanting the position. He then finds himself in charge of people who were his peers, and he cannot make the transformation. These types usually end up burning themselves out over the pressure and end up doing the work themselves since they have no clue on how to motivate people to do it for them.

The Preening Empty Suit: I saved this one for last, as he was my boss at my previous place of employment. He would strut around like a rooster in his freshly pressed three-piece suit replete with a quad-folded handkerchief in the breast pocket, looking ready to host some fucking game show. But the clothes had no emperor. There was zero substance under the style. When pressed for direction, his common reply was, “Let me get back to you on that,” or, “Let me check with the boss.” But you knew what was really going on – he couldn’t buy a clue if you spotted him a goddamn loan to get one.

This fuck-knuckle would actually walk up to people, look them straight in the eye and say, “How much do you value your job?” Because the common theme with these types is raging insecurity – they know they’re vacuous, but to keep you at bay they have to make sure you’re worried about your employment.

I really hope I am not any of these types. I guess if I was I wouldn’t be sitting in a corner window office on the 12th floor of a building in downtown Miami.

But you would have to ask my staff to be sure.

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