3 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Deal with Each One

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3 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Deal with Each One

Terrible Bosses and How to Deal With Them


Steve Carrell’s portrayal of Michael Scott in The Office may be a caricature of the bumbling boss, but for people who have had the misfortune of working under horrible bosses, the character’s leadership mistakes probably hit a little too close to home.

Many employment agencies know most employees quit their bosses, not their jobs. But if you’re working for a terrible boss and leaving is not an option, you’re not without hope. In this guide, we go over a few examples of bad bosses, with suggestions on how to deal with each one.

  1. The Incompetent Boss

Your boss doesn’t know what he’s doing but acts like he does. He doesn’t know how to use email, Excel or even check product inventory. Inept bosses are all about opportunity; play your cards right, and you can show your leadership potential.

Start by getting on your boss’ good side, making him feel like he’s doing a good job. If your boss has a laissez-faire attitude with deadlines, say you appreciate how he trusts people to manage their work.

While your boss sets himself up to fail, you can use the opportunity to get your name recognized by your company’s top brass, whether it’s by volunteering for meetings or having your name included in important projects. All the while, be nice to your boss — you don’t want to make it appear you’re after his job.

  1. The Micromanaging Boss

The best way to deal with a micromanager is to give her what she wants, and then some.

  • Ask for a schedule of her daily routine.
  • Lay out everything you intend to do on a particular day.
  • Ask for detailed instructions for each task.
  • Ask if she would like to see your work at the end of the workday, every day.
  • Ask her trivial things, like font type, font size, margins and spacing for memos.

Either this strategy forces your boss to tell you to trust your judgment, or it makes her happy. You’re still dealing with the same bad management habits, but at least she’s happy with you. If you continue to do well, she may finally ease off and trust you.

  1. The Bully

If your boss yells at you in public, mocks you and doesn’t show you any respect, you need to approach HR right away. Reasoning with a bully boss rarely gets you anywhere, so the best solution is to raise the issue to someone higher in the corporate hierarchy, or file a complaint through the proper HR channels. Worst case scenario? You may have to cut your losses and find work elsewhere.

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