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This type, in its extreme, can be venomous, difficult, and intentionally destructive. In a milder form, they are not intentionally harmful but display difficult behavior, aggressive communication, and bad manners.
The LONER - Perhaps this type is burned out or just doesn't care, but they prefer to stay in their own office without any interruptions. Better yet, they prefer to work from home or elsewhere so they do not have to deal with employee issues. Frequently these were the high achieving technical people promoted to jobs they were never suited for. They are physically uncomfortable dealing with any unpleasantness or problem and would prefer if you handled it alone. When working with this type of boss, do not expect much direction or support. You are on your own. And so are they. Concepts such as teamwork, networking, or finding time to discuss your career or life are foreign to them.
The PERFECTIONIST - Often known as the micromanager, this boss tends to over-control all of your work. Because of their own insecurities, this obsessive behavior sends you the message of "no trust". Over time you realize that you cannot satisfy their expectations and the work must be done again. No matter how much detail you provide, it is still not right. Eventually you become demotivated and lose your sense of competence.
The POOR COMMUNICATOR - This is the story about the poor listener. They are either too busy doing all the talking or preoccupied with their own dramas when you meet with them. These are also the managers who loathe doing performance reviews and clock record time for completing them. Expect very little in terms of feedback or constructive criticism. They will send you a brief email every time they want to see you rather than walk over to your desk. Never expect them to make a good hiring decision because they will learn very little about potential candidates.
The ECCENTRIC - Often these bosses have unrealistic expectations that are too high to be met by most of the staff. They have very unique ways of processing their work and want everyone to follow their lead. While they can exhibit some characteristics of the micromanager when they demand things their way, they can also be gentle but confusing when trying to explain a new project or policy. Other they are the ones counting their paperclips and lining up their paperwork in perfect order. Sometimes they play favorites because they gravitate to those with similar interests. Many of them would rather be doing something else.
The INEXPERIENCED - Frequently these managers can be ill-trained and in some cases, never wanted to be managers in the first place. Similar to the loner, they prefer working as individuals and not as team builders. Often they truly do not understand their own job requirements and competencies and have difficulty in grasping the nuances of the business. They lack a supportive mentor or role model and perform in a hit and miss style. Employees lose respect for this type of manager and over time act on their own accord.
Bill Wilkerson, President of the Global Business and Economic Roundtable on Addiction and Mental Health in Canada says it bluntly. "If you are a lousy leader, you are making people sick. Ambiguity, inconsistency, uncertainty, insecurity, bad decision-making, self-centredness, rewarding the wrong things in the office, the fostering of office politics, and the rewarding of political behavior - that's the earmark of weak leadership."
While organizations need to take responsibility for creating a healthy culture and disciplining inappropriate behaviors, not all organizations manage this process well. If you are an employee who loves your work and the organization, but not the boss, what can you do in the short term?
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