Is your boss crazy?

More of the same by Lauren Close

More of the same by Lauren Close

I am a big fan of the Fortune columnist Stanley Bing and I’ve been reading his column for a very long time. He happens to have written a book called Crazy Bosses and there is a companion site here with a quiz to determine whether your boss is crazy. So I haven’t read the book yet but I’d like to write down some types of crazy bosses I have observed.

1. The Megalomaniac Tyrant — This is the type of crazy boss that thinks he is king of the world. They are always right and they would bite someone’s head off if they want to. Most of the time they are CEOs because there is almost no consequence to their actions in a company. A CEO is technically the king of his/her own empire. The Tyrants are usually fairly clear headed when they get angry and know what they are yelling for. So generally they’re not logically insane, but they are definitely explosively tempered. I am quite familiar with such a personality.

2. The Paranoid Delusional — I think most of these are mid-level managers without too many real skills. They are paranoid because they are afraid they can be downsized at any moment. The paranoia makes them delusional and they start to blame their underlings for anything that goes wrong whether or not the event is their fault. Paranoid delusionals are harder to deal with than Tyrants because they don’t understand reason. Paranoid delusionals can also be a little bipolar and treat you really nicely one day and put you in the dog house the next. This type of crazy boss is probably the most difficult to deal with and could drive you insane, too.

3. The Party Animals — These guys don’t really care about work and would gladly have a beer bash every day. It might seem awesome to have one of them as a boss at first, but eventually you realize something is not quite right. What is worse is that you may become a slacker like your boss and lose all motivation towards an honest day’s work. The Partiers are also more likely to pull stunts like making you cover for them because they’re drunk. I would say I haven’t really met a true party boss yet. Though, there are a couple that came close.

4. The Over-compensators — These guys are direct opposites to the Party Animals. They are willing to work their team to the bone for their own sense of accomplishment. Usually their underlings are quite unhappy and these crazy bosses LOVE to take credit for any good that comes out of his or her slave driving. These bosses tend to make their people leave quite quickly. I think these crazies are quite common and it’s quite easy to recognize them when you start getting calls on the weekends to go into the office when you don’t even get overtime pay.

5. The Addict– These are bosses with substance abuse or gambling problems. They are obviously sick and need help, but they are still functional enough to hold onto a job. Before they fall to their ultimate demise they may regularly assert their power and borrow money from their work flunkies and not return it. I have already seen two cases of these crazies and in both cases they were fired. The best thing for a victim to do is to report such behavior as soon as possible and get the crazy boss fired. Unfortunately a lot of people are afraid of their bosses and a lot of times these addicts are quite manipulative and lie as easily as they breathe.

6. The Manipulative Empath — These bosses may seem extremely normal and actually get you to work with praises and compliments. Then when review time comes and you’re due for a raise you don’t get it. Then they give a lot of excuses as to why you’re not getting a raise but still pay you with compliments and possibly a free lunch. Then behind your back they wipe their brow and think to themselves, “I just suckered that guy out of a $4000 raise with a seven dollar lunch”. It’s hard to spot this type of crazy, and that is because they’re deviously smart and manipulative.

7. The Sexual Deviant — Personally I haven’t met one of these, but I have heard many many stories of these crazies. They are the reason why you may have had to sit through a sexual harassment training seminar. Many companies now also have rules on whether or not a supervisor could ask his or her direct employee out to drinks after work. Once again, these bosses can be reported, but usually it’s harder to prove that your boss sexually harassed you than proving that your boss is an addict. It would be good to save emails or tape recordings in case you meet a crazy like this.

Fortunately, I have not had any of these personalities as my direct supervisor, but I have definitely interacted with some of these crazy bosses. If you have had a crazy manager, how would you dissect his or her personality?

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