The 7 Warning Signs of a BAD Boss

Hi there. Russell Stratton, President and Leadership Champion with Bluegem Learning.

For the last 25 years I've worked with organizations to develop leaders so that they can maximize team performance and improve bottom line productivity.

One of the questions I get asked at a lot of my workshops is...

"How do I deal with a bad boss?"

This seems to be the number one topic that participants have in their mind.

How do I deal with a bad boss?

So it got me thinking about people Id worked for; companies I'd worked with, and some reading I did on the subject and I distilled this down into basically seven types of bad boss that you're likely to encounter during your career.

The Bully

Okay, so the first one we're looking at is the bully.

The archetypal boss, the screamer, the person who comes in throws everything everywhere, demands people do this and that and getting there on time.

The Social Climber

The second person we have is the social climber.

This is the person that's always got one eye on their next promotion, the next job, how well they're seen with the VP, the other CO know their name, and every move that they take in the workplace is calculated to be able to move them up that carrier tree, whether or not it has a positive or negative effects on the members of their team.

The Micro-Manager

A third type of bad boss is the micromanager. The person that likes to take the interest in the minute detail of everything that you and your co workers do.

It's as if they're looking over your shoulder 24/7, checking everything that you do, every piece of work that you put out there, and always offering their suggestions.

The Workaholic

So we come to boss number four, this is the workaholic.

So when there's time when we're trying to encourage people to get a balance in life between their work life and their home life, this is the person that seems to live in the office.

They never leave.

Now watch that may be dedication, the problem is it provides an environment where people feel that they can't take that time off, they perhaps can't leave a little early that day to go and watch their kid's hockey game, or perhaps they need to go with a partner to a hospital appointment.

Because their boss is always at work, and they feel that therefore, they need to always be at work at the same time.

The Number Cruncher

The fifth person we're talking about is the number crunching boss.

This is the person that spends their time in their office, rarely leaves, crouched over their laptop or computer, typing away furiously, looking at the numbers, checking what does this mean, that mean, but rarely actually spend some time coming out and talking to the people that work for them.

You're rarely going to see this person on the shop floor but rather they're in there checking the budget line and sending off another flurry of emails.

So we come down to our last two...

The Absent Boss

The sort of opposite of some of the others that we talked about.

This is the person that you only know is there because their jacket sits on the back of their chair.

Their office is always empty.

They're never at their desk, they're never on the shop floor, they're never there out there on the job site.

At times they say they're at meetings. But in fact, we're not quite sure they actually exist at all unless the fact that their picture appears in the staff directory.

The Divisive Boss

And finally, a divisive boss. This is the person who likes to play power games between one set of employees and another.

They like nothing more than setting team against Team not in a collaborative collegiate competition, but in terms of undermining each other.

Actually having people virtually at each other's throats. Not conducive for a productive and effective work environment.

So those are the seven types of bad boss.

The bully, the social climber, the micro-manager, the workaholic, the number cruncher, the absent boss, and the divisive boss.

Now just in those explanations you might be able to identify one or more of those two you've experienced, perhaps that's your boss at the moment.

If it is, tune in next time and we're going to look at some tips to how you can deal with that individual who's making your life hell.

If you like this video, if you like the content, feel free to make a comment below or share with your colleagues, and I'll see you next time.

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- Sharon Gartland, DSG Consultancy Services

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Russell Stratton

Leadership Champion

RUSSELL STRATTON is an international Leadership Expert, Professionally Certified Trainer and Coach, with a Masters Degree in Human Resource Management. He is co-author of the book 'I Need to F@#king Talk To You - The Art Of Navigating Difficult Workplace Conversations'.


He is a Master Facilitator for Bluegem Learning's ground breaking "Leadership Success" workshop series - providing a practical toolkit for building engagement and improving individual and team performance. Using live actors in a stop/start forum theatre approach and a combination of dynamic experiential learning techniques, participants come away with a greater ability to actually perform better as employees and leaders in your organization.


He is an accomplished management education, learning & development professional with a proven track record of working with clients in the public, voluntary and private sectors to achieve lasting, measurable step changes in business performance.


Russell works internationally with a wide range of organizational cultures and with all levels from front line customer facing staff to executive management boards. Having worked as both a Personnel Manager and Operational Manager he works at both strategic and tactical levels.

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