Being satisfied with your job is half about liking what you do and half about liking who you work with. It’s expected that you’ll always have one person you can’t really mesh with in your team, but what if that person is your boss?
If the one you’re answering to is more of a being with horns and a pitch fork than a professional you can learn to respect, then you may need a bit of help. Here are six kinds of terror bosses and how to deal with them.
1. The Tyrant
A boss should always be attentive to details, but when one seems to nitpick everything that you do and seems inflexible to change, then you have a Tyrant. A Tyrant is a micromanager who rarely listens to suggestions and wants everything done her way. She’s stern and rarely deviates from what she’s used to. Moreover, in her effort to get you to stick with the program, she monitors your work every step of the way.
Although having a Tyrant for a boss can be suffocating, there are ways to work around her idiosyncrasies. If you want your ideas to be heard, express how they can easily be incorporated within the process that she’s used to, and back it up with hard facts. It also pays to be focused on your tasks—she’ll definitely appreciate your attentiveness.
2. The Know-It-All
Bosses are expected to know more than their employees, but some push it a bit too far. When the person above you always feels as if she’s the smartest person in the room, then she’s a Know-It-All. What’s sad about a Know-It-All is that more often than not, there’s actually very little going on in her head. Having a Know-It-All for a boss is very frustrating, especially if you believe that you know more about your job that she does.
To handle a Know-it-All, you should learn how to be patient. After all, unless either of you resign, there’s very little you can do about your current situation. Once you’ve managed to forgive her arrogance, turn your energies from frustration to productivity. As long as you do it in a respectful manner, don’t be afraid to put forth your suggestions or if need be, corrections.
3. The “Me” Boss
A “Me” Boss thinks that she’s all that, and nothing would ever make her think otherwise. To her, you and everyone under her are mere stepping stones to the glory that she believes she very well deserves. Never mind that she asks you to do overtime every day or that she always seem to “forget” to acknowledge your efforts. As long as she looks good in front of every one, she’s happy.
If your boss loves to hog the limelight, then let her—as long as you don’t end up short-changed. Make sure that you save all correspondences with her via email or text. At best, you can use this to remind her (and her higher-up) about the effort of the rest of your team. At worst, you’ll need to to cover your behind, as a “Me” boss can easily turn into…
4. The “Nanlalaglag” AKA the Hand-Washer
The Nanlalaglag boss will drop you like a hot potato when the proverbial four-letter word hits the fan. She’ll easily blame you when something goes awry even after she’s signed everything off—in fact, apart from washing her hands of you, she might actively throw you under the bus to make sure she comes up smelling like roses. She always wants to look good in front of the Board, which sadly may come at your expense.
Similar to the “Me” boss, you’ll always need to be two steps ahead when dealing with a Nanlalaglag. Save your correspondences so that you can easily counter false accusations, and always think of every possible outcome so that you can always have a plan B. If her attitude causes you to be uncertain of your tenure, then it’s best to head to HR.
5. The Power Tripper
The Power Tripper knows that she’s the boss and lets you remember it. She asks you to do all kinds of jobs—even walking her dog or picking up her dry cleaning—just so that she can have the satisfaction of seeing you humbled. She loves the sound of “ma’am” as much as she loves the power that comes with it, and she indulges in petty ego boosts in order to coverup her insecurities.
A Power Tripper is a bully, and the best thing to do is to stand up against her negativity. That doesn’t mean to say that you should get into a shouting or a hair-pulling match with her; just speak to her firmly about your issues. If worse comes to worst and voicing out your concerns makes her bully you even more, involve HR.
6. The Passive-Aggressive Boss
A Passive-Aggressive boss makes you wonder if she has something against you personally, or if she’s really just mean and sulky by nature. She makes changes that directly affects you then conveniently forgets to inform you. She promises to accompany you to a meeting then never shows up. She overrides your authority and seems to sabotage everything that you do.
Similar to most terror bosses, the best way to deal with a passive-aggressor is to talk with her. You’ll probably get something along the lines of “I didn’t mean it that way.” If you do, stand firm and respectfully talk about the expectations you both have regarding your job and put everything in writing. Don’t be a doormat. Remember that you can still be professional even as you stand for yourself.
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Charlene works for a popular greeting card company, hoping that what she writes makes some big, burly man somewhere cry. She's into MMA, and when she's not watching armbars on YouTube, she also writes for a tech blog or naps with her cat.