Nightmare Bosses (Difficult Leaders) and How to Survive the Reign of Terror! - Part 1

Updated: Jul 21



During our careers we would have had to report to different managers at different points in time. Some of the leaders would have been wonderful, but some of them may have been albeit a complete nightmare. In this post we look at some of the traits of these kinds of leaders and what to do as a subordinate to survive.


No 1: The Workaholic

This boss has only one mission in life, work till you drop, while this presents a drain on the boss himself and his family, it also leads to stress on the people they work with because such bosses want their team members to become workaholics themselves.


With this type of boss, the work is never done, they have the capacity to create work when there is no real need just to keep staff in the office. They arrive early and close extremely late, way beyond the official closing time and expect all members of the team to do the same. While many organizations may be pleased to have such a dedicated staff driving other staff for increased productivity, it is not healthy as the work-life balance and by extension the mental health of both the boss and his team are at risk.


This boss will make you come to work on weekends and holidays, there is no time for anything leisurely or recreative, they don't have a life outside the organization, and they don't want anyone around them to have one either.

What to Do

As a member of staff reporting to such a boss, you need to make sure you meet your deadlines within reasonable working hours and politely insist that you don't need to work extra time or on weekends since there is no outstanding work.


Always be polite and respectful, don't become resentful, there may be some underlying issues such as trouble at home that is making your boss behave in this manner.


Plan your annual leave well ahead of time, and ensure you have no outstanding before you commence.


Finally remember that the situation is not permanent, eventually there will be a change.




No 2: The Laissez Faire Boss

The French term "laissez faire" means "allow to do." Now this may sound nice, it means the boss allows others to demonstrate initiative, right? Wrong! It means that this type of boss likes to shirk their responsibilities and allow those who shouldn't be burdened with such decisions to act instead.


This could be very detrimental to the organization and frustrating to the subordinates. Imagine the president of America delegating the decision to attack another nation to his personal assistant? The personal assistant is not sufficiently experienced or trained to take such decisions and would also have to deal with the emotional weight of making such an order.


Okay, that example may be a bit extreme but basically, that gives you an idea of what a laissez faire boss does. This type of boss is afraid to take responsibility for anything and so places it on someone else so that if things go wrong, they can claim it wasn't their fault.


What to Do

Working with this type of boss is difficult, but as a subordinate don't allow yourself to be boxed in a corner to take a decision that is above your pay grade, a negative result could result in extremely dire consequences and your lazy boss won't lift a finger to get you out of it. In fact, they will place all the blame on you.



No 3 - The Micro Manager

The micro manager is an exceedingly difficult boss to work with. They second guess everything you, they refuse to delegate and insist you carry out every task in exactly the way they want it or would have done it if they were doing it themselves.


They ask you to report back frequently and expect you to explain every single action you take. With this kind of boss, you are more or less a robot, you just act as you have been instructed, i.e. "programmed" with no direct input from you.


Working with this type of boss can be very frustrating because they don't allow you to bring your professionalism, experience, or expertise into your job function, which was probably what you were hired for in the first place.


What to do

With this type of boss, you really can't do too much otherwise you would be seen as being disrespectful. Remember, always be respectful, polite and maintain professional decorum. Understand what your boss wants and over deliver, build trust.


Micro managers generally have trust issues which may not be entirely out of place, sometimes it could be due to unpleasant past experiences with other subordinates. You must prove to them that you are fully capable and won't let them down.


Over time your manager will gain confidence in you and give you more flexibility to work.


Remember to

#Inspire #Influence and #Impact your world


Written by Lady Shayo Imologome

Business Growth Strategist, Management Consultant, and Keynote Speaker


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Image Credits and Sources Image 1 - Freepik: created by wayhomestudio Image 2 - Freepik: created by yanalya

Image 3 - Freepik: created by katemangostar

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