Stupid Boss – Your Boss Qualifies If He Nails Half of These Six Characteristics

I have resisted writing articles about stupid boss for a long time. Those who frequent this website know I take a positive approach to things.

To me, it is something this world needs; it is something the modern workplace needs in healthy doses - positivism. The tougher road to a better world – yes, I am idealistic.

The flurry of emails I have been getting on bosses, whether people should quit, the way they are not appreciated and the stress they go through prompted me to pen a few words about bosses.

For those I have not been able to answer personally, I apologize. And here is what I can say about stupid bosses. Someone once told me, there are no stupid bosses, only stupid employees. I am not sure I agree.

Just as there are stupid employees, then so must there be stupid bosses. And yes, even stupid people can climb up the corporate ladder. What qualifies as a stupid boss?

Perhaps, stupid isn’t quite the right word. The better word would be ignorance. These are ignorant bosses who do not know better.

If the boss you are working under ‘passes’ these few tests, then he qualifies as a stupid boss.

1. Always Negative
He is always negative about everything. Not just about you. He can be negative even with the most positive things. As if there is nothing in this world that will make him happy.

If you feel he is just negative about you, watch properly. In all likelihood he is negative somewhere else too. He does not know how to look at things from the right view – work or otherwise.

2. Selfish Goal Oriented
Here, goal means the collective goal, not his own selfish goal. The goal of your unit and company he is supposed to help achieve.

If he is always plotting to move up even at the expense of the people under him, he must be a very ignorant person. He does not know that the better his team, the better he is in rising to the top.

3. Poisonous Tongue
You know I am not just talking about lying. Your boss is likely not to just indulge in lies; he is also likely to spread gossips, talking behind everyone’s back.

Even if he speaks well about you, better beware. If he speaks ill of someone to you, he is likely to speak ill of you to someone else. He is likely to be rude too! He shouts and uses the most impolite words you never use in front of kids.

He even calls you stupid. How can someone who uses his mouth like that be smart? Why would anyone be willing to be led by him?

4. Uncouth Behavior
You already know how he uses his mouth. This is how he acts, his behavior is probably wanting too. He is most probably unethical in his conduct and the way he runs his unit is detrimental not just to his team but your company.

He takes credit from the team. He is not afraid to present to the boss. But when it is a tough presentation to a client, he will figure out an excuse to get out of it. You often wonder, why doesn’t his boss notice? He will create excuses when he makes a mistake and punishes others for the same mistakes. Leading by example is not in his vocabulary.

5. No Effort
Don’t ask him to do anything. He will act smart and look busy. He knows no effort. He will tell everyone to do everything and one wonders what he does. But he gets away with it from his bosses as he is very good at putting up an act for his bosses. He thinks he is working smart. But you know he is a stupid boss because he does not even know his own role and work. His motto is, “A boss doesn’t have to work” – which is dead wrong! He just doesn’t work because he doesn’t know how.

6. Bad Understanding
He confuses his perception for reality. It seems like he is in a world of his own. He thinks he is smart. He thinks he works hard. He thinks he has employed the worst people in the world. If he has a chance he would change so and so and such and such. But he makes no effort at all. He has a warp sense of reality. Everybody is at fault and everyone needs him. When in reality the company is better off without him.

Does your stupid boss have all of these qualities? Or even half? Then he qualifies as stupid for all his ignorance. Does he also have toxic leadership qualities? If he does, you should think twice about your future under him.



I highly recommend the book by Robert I. Sutton - The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't , a professor of Management Science at Stanford University for more insights.

Another book by the same author is Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best... and Learn from the Worst. This book is likely to be one of the more talked about business book this year.

As Dr. Sutton digs into the nitty-gritty of what the best (and worst) bosses do, a theme runs throughout Good Boss, Bad Boss - which brings together the diverse lessons and is a hallmark of great bosses: They work doggedly to "stay in tune" with how their followers (and superiors, peers, and customers too) react to what they say and do. The best bosses are acutely aware that their success depends on having the self-awareness to control their moods and moves, to accurately interpret their impact on others, and to make adjustments on the fly that continuously spark effort, dignity, and pride among their people.

More Articles About Politics At Work

Coping with Office Politics: How to Stay Above It All for a Career Newbie
Coping with office politics may be inevitable for you. How do you stay above it all?



Toxic Leadership
Suffocating under toxic leadership? Recognize the signs and make the best decision for your own career’s sake.

Harmony in the Workplace: Your Role as a Newbie in Fostering a Good Working Environment
Ever wondered how you could cure negativity and create harmony in the workplace?

Keeping Your Job During A Recession
Keeping your job during a recession is no different from doing a great job when times are good. Here's why.

For more recommended readings on stupid bosses, toxic leaders, etc., click here.

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