Which Type of Bad Boss Do You Have?

Monster Career Expert Vicki Salemi explains how to manage the many varieties.

Which Type of Bad Boss Do You Have?

A bad boss is bad for business.

There are so many bad boss types out there: Yellers. Micromanagers. Jealous haters. Chances are, you’ve run into (at least) one of them. 

According to a Monster poll, more than 30% of workers say they have (or have had) a bad boss. What do you do if the one person responsible for your day-to-day happiness at work—not to mention your career—is just awful?

If you’re early in your career, it can be a tough call. On the one hand, you might think, “I need this job, and I have to pay my dues,” but working with a boss who is aggressive, underhanded, or jealous is downright demoralizing.

“No one should tolerate a horrible boss, bottom line,” says Monster Career Expert Vicki Salemi. “I don’t care if you’re 22 or 52. If you’re in a toxic environment, you need to find ways that you can further your career and be happy—even if that means working for someone else.”

Take a look at the four most common offenders. 

Which bad boss do you have?

1. The Humiliator

In terms of sanity and peace of mind, this is probably the worst type of boss to have—someone who thinks it’s appropriate to berate or belittle you in public, treating you like a child, and not an employee. “This is the boss who’s yelling, ‘You screwed up!” in front of your entire department, leaving you in tears,” says Salemi.

Your move:  

If you’re stuck with a verbally abusive boss who thinks it’s OK to humiliate you, you should definitely approach HR, says Salemi. But if nothing changes, you might just have to cut your losses and get out.

“One client of mine with a screaming boss ended up quitting and she didn’t even have another job lined up,” says Salemi. “She just said, ‘I’m done. This is wreaking havoc on my self-esteem. This is toxic.’” Even if you have to take a step down, or even a pay cut, it could be worth saving your mental health.

2. The Liar

Occasionally you will run into an unethical type of boss who’s lying, cheating, and stealing—but it becomes even worse when they ask you to do it. It’s one thing to witness someone else’s bad behavior, but when it’s expected of you, that’s when you may have to make some tough decisions.

Your move:

“Faced with that kind of ethical dilemma, there’s usually no choice but to leave,” says Salemi. “One client of mine was in this position, and it had a terrible impact on him personally. He was tired, depressed and miserable. Ultimately he quit and found another job, but that experience affected him for a long time.”

3. The micromanager

Micromanagers are more common than yellers and liars, and most of us have run into at least a little bit of this from a manager.

“This person may not be screaming and may not be lying, but they are watching your every move,” says Salemi. “They don’t trust you. They don’t necessarily understand what you do every day, but they’re asking you for certain things that you feel are unnecessary.”

Your move:

Salemi says you don’t always have to run for the hills if you’re stuck with this bad boss. “You can try to manage your manager by anticipating their needs. Be proactive,” she says. “If they ask you constantly for a report before every Friday meeting, give them the report Thursday night, so they don’t ask you the question.”

Basically, use their attention for detail as a way to make sure you’re on top of your game. Once you prove to them that you’re 150% “on it,” they may even relax a little.  

4. The jealous saboteur

If you keep raising your hand for new projects or assignments and your boss never says yes, takes credit for your work or refuses to let you further your skills with extra education, this bad boss might be actively trying to thwart your career path.

“That’s a huge red flag,” says Salemi, “because as your boss, that’s one of their main purposes. Your boss is supposed to support you and see you grow.”

Your move:

Salemi says the best way to get around this type of boss is to find a mentor at work who will support you. “If your micromanager is not providing tools and resources for you to manage your career, you need to find other ways to do it,” she says. “Find an ally within your company. Maybe approach a leader within another group, or your boss’s boss, so you can talk about your career growth and where you’re headed.”

Give your bad boss the pink slip

At the end of the day, you either learn how to deal with a bad boss or you remove yourself from the situation. Either way, it’s up to you to initiate change. Need some help with that? Monster can put you on the fast-track to a new job for free. We'll send you custom job alerts to have you on your way to a better, saner job before too long.