The Benefits of a Bad Boss

Last Updated Jun 3, 2008 12:22 PM EDT

Dictatorial behaviour is all too common among British bosses. A poll of 4,000 employees by the aptly named www.youthinkyourbossisbad.co.uk has revealed some of their worst excesses.

Anonymous postings on bad boss behaviour include:

  • He suggested I work for him whilst he was naked.
  • I was expected to research colonic irrigation as a present for his wife.
  • Asked me to organise his mother-in-law's funeral.
  • Asked me to go to the workshop to get some tartan paint.
  • Provide my manager with an alibi of being away at a phoney business event when he was away on a dirty weekend with a pretty female colleague.
  • Deliver to my boss a single peeled orange on a plate, at the same time, every day.
According to the survey, 51 per cent of people have left a job because of their boss and 63 per cent were convinced their boss played favourites with some employees.

Eight seems to be the perfect number for teams -- but most people said they disliked at least four of their colleagues.

The good news is that bad bosses make great teachers, according to Adrian Savage. Just look at how they manage, and do the opposite. Here are five examples:

  1. Bad bosses struggle to get buy in: instead of asking people to do something openly, they micro-manage and manipulate. It's a lot of effort and leads to resentment.
  2. Others quietly (or openly) sabotage a bad boss's efforts and undermine them.
  3. Their manipulative behaviour renders them untrustworthy -- to clients, suppliers and seniors, not just employees.
  4. Employees fear for their jobs and are wary of making mistakes. They become demotivated and unproductive.
  5. Bad bosses are too rigid: they won't change their mind, even if it'll lead to a better result.
The youthinkyourbossisbad poll also found that lousy bosses are most likely to be called Anne or John. Except, presumably, the much-admired Sir John Egan, Sir John Harvey-Jones, John Francis Welch (aka Jack), Anne Mulcahy...
Want to know more? Find out what makes a bad manager. Learn how to cope with a bad boss.