October 22, 2018

Terrifying bosses (...and how to overcome them)

There are bosses who can be terrifying without having to dress up for Halloween. Unfortunately, a bad boss tends to be one all year long, and their employees feel as if they are working in a haunted house every day.

However, being a bad boss doesn't only result in employees going to work with no enthusiasm or in fear; it also leads to a significant drop in productivity. Fearful employees tend to be less creative and more easily distracted as they seek to escape their grim reality. To make matters worse, a Gallup study reveals that one in two employees has left their job due to mismanagement by their boss.

In our special Halloween post today, we describe the worst bosses that exist, likening them to the most famous villains of literature and cinema. Additionally, we will highlight their terrifying characteristics so that you can identify them, and we'll provide some tips on how to cope with them:

Dracula: the invisible boss

In addition to being the protagonist of the hit from the '60s by Andrés Pajares, he is a century-old vampire from Transylvania who resides in a castle in the Carpathians. However, beneath his aristocratic facade lies a malevolent soul. He has the ability to transform into a bat or a wolf and relishes the taste of his victims' blood. Nevertheless, he has a significant weakness – he cannot endure exposure to daylight.

Similarly, in the realm of management, there are few things more frustrating than an absent boss. Absentee leadership is an unfortunately common style of management. Regardless of how these individuals attained their managerial positions, they merely enjoy the privileges of their roles without active involvement.
While this might initially seem like an ideal scenario – doing as one pleases without anyone offering guidance – it often results in role ambiguity, leading to reduced job satisfaction and subpar performance. How can we know if we are meeting our organization's expectations, defining our future goals, or performing effectively when our boss is absent? Feedback from our supervisor is essential for improvement and productivity at work.

What can we do? Ask for feedback. If our supervisor fails to provide it, even when asked, we can turn to our colleagues, team members, and even clients or suppliers with whom we regularly interact. Understanding how others perceive our work is crucial for personal growth and professional development."

Darth Vader: The Chief Controller

When Anakin succumbed to the dark side of the Force, his entire personality underwent a dramatic transformation. He became a manipulative and fearsome figure with little tolerance for failure, often clashing with the highest-ranking officers in the Imperial Army.
Perhaps your boss has also chosen a path that differs from the likes of Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon Jinn, or Yoda. Controlling bosses, much like Vader, employ fear as a means to achieve their objectives and regard people as mere pawns in a chess game. They often lack the virtue of active listening and may become paralyzed when confronted with critical situations, unless they can impose their own solutions.

The key to dealing with such bosses is clear and frequent communication. These individuals tend to be highly insecure, so it's essential to avoid surprising them with unexpected events and to identify the sources of their fears. For instance, one of their fears might revolve around not being perceived as an indispensable figure within the organization. Demonstrating that you value their guidance, proactively sharing news or results, and earning their trust can be effective ways to address their insecurities.

Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhers: the intimidators

Freddy Krueger is a sadist who relishes in terrorizing his victims before ultimately ending their lives, showing no mercy to their pleas. On the other hand, Jason Voorhees possesses an extraordinary resilience to damage, and in the event of an injury, he regenerates rapidly. These are undeniably intimidating beings.
Leaders who rely on intimidation tactics typically have little interest in hearing their team's opinions and are resistant to being questioned. They may resort to pounding tables, slamming doors, or raising their voices.

In the face of such attitudes, it's important not to be discouraged and to minimize encounters with such bullies as much as possible. To achieve this, carry out your assigned tasks with confidence and ensure meticulous preparation before any presentation to them. This approach can reduce the likelihood of conflicts. If you ever find yourself in their crosshairs, respond to their anger with questions. By forcing them to provide answers, you redirect their focus and hopefully, make them reconsider their approach toward you 

Pennywise: The Narcissistic Boss

In the novel "It," the character describes itself as a superior being, viewing humans as mere toys. However, despite its claims of superiority, it is repeatedly defeated, leading it to question its true strength. It never believes anyone can be strong enough, and its favorite food is fearful children.
Self-centered bosses can be unsettling. They crave constant admiration, foster division by making comparisons among team members, and are highly competitive, not only with their subordinates but also with their peers and superiors. Instead of seeking solutions to problems, they often vent their frustrations through scolding.

To effectively work with such bosses and avoid pitfalls, it's essential to stay focused on your objectives, strive to anticipate their expectations, and rely on your emotional intelligence. Even in the face of criticism or comparisons, self-evaluation can help you recognize your strengths and draw confidence from them.

Lotso: the dictator

In "Toy Story 3," Lotso, despite appearing as an adorable and sweet-smelling teddy bear, is ultimately revealed as a dictator who is selfish and controlling, especially towards the toys in the nursery. He is capable of imprisoning those who don't conform to his wishes.
Many successful managers can exhibit forceful and relentless qualities that contribute to their success but also make them challenging to work with. Their direct and authoritarian communication style can make their team members feel insecure. Moreover, they tend to believe that they have all the answers and expect tasks to be done exactly as they dictate.
So, how can you effectively deal with a manager who believes they're always right? When presenting your own opinions or suggestions, approach them with a non-confrontational tone. You can begin by asking if they are open to considering alternative options or if they would be willing to entertain a different perspective. Keep in mind that their temperamental behavior is often rooted in their fear of failure.
If any of these behaviors sound familiar, remember that we all have our flaws, whether we're in leadership positions or not. It's important to approach these situations with humility and understanding while maintaining self-confidence.
At HRider, we believe that with effort and a positive attitude, anyone can become a good leader. However, it requires a willingness to improve, including listening to your team, effective communication, self-assessment, and overcoming fears.
Good leaders take pride in their team's achievements, provide constructive feedback to support growth, and foster commitment and job satisfaction through a positive organizational culture, rather than one based on fear.

To conquer your fears and tame the beasts, there's nothing quite like music. We've put together a playlist of hauntingly good songs to infuse your office with positive vibes:


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