The Worst of the Bad Bosses

Not too long ago in this space I wrote about bad bosses. The floodgates opened with stories pouring into my Inbox from readers who were very eager to share their experiences. While it's easy to chuckle about them now, none of these situations were any laughing matter to the employees who had to endure the chaos and craziness of their maniacal managers.

These are some of the standouts. Perhaps they'll make you feel better about your own boss, or they'll serve as a lesson for how never to behave as a manager of others.

  • "My boss was a skinny witch who constantly competed with one of her direct reports for the CEO's attention. My colleague worked very hard and was a really nice woman. She had no idea why the boss tried to compete with her. I caught the boss swapping this girl's daily diet sodas with full-fledged Coke. When I asked why she was doing that, the boss said, 'I'd love nothing more than for all of that sugar to go straight to her hips.' What a lovely human being."

  • "I know the boss should be entitled to take credit for everyone who works under him. But this creep took it to the extreme. When I scored a big account that I worked months to land, he ran to the big VP and said he did all the work and even went so far as to describe the meetings and conversations. Problem was he never met or spoke once to the client. I did it all. When I complained and said I deserved the credit, he said he'd squish me like big if I tried to steal his thunder. I got the best revenge: I quit and took the new client with me to my new job!"

  • "I had a boss who flipped a button on my desk and asked me if I knew how to sew. When I said yes, he told me to sew it on his pants. I told him to go into his office and take them off and hand them back out to me. He said no and told me to just sew it while he kept them on. There I was sewing this button on the fly of his pants while he smoked a cigarette above me!"

  • "While working for a computer company, I would take dictation from one of the vice presidents, an owner. He'd take his shoes off, put his foot on the desk, and clip his toenails while dictating letters to me! Yuck."

  • I think I like this story best. One woman said she made a laundry list of complaints about her manager. When she presented them to the HR department, she was told to pay very, very close attention to everything her boss said and did. "Why," she asked, very confused. The response: "If you watch her closely, you'll learn exactly what not to ever do and you'll wind up going very far in management as the boss that everyone wants to work for."

  • The woman said, "I was 20 years old at the time, yet this advice has stuck with me throughout my 30-year business career. With every job and every bad manager, I've learned what is not effective with employees, which is just as valuable as knowing what is. It has indeed made me very successful everywhere I've worked."

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