What’s the Worst Kind of Boss?

Chances are you’ve worked for many different types of bosses. There are four basic boss personalities you’ve probably encountered on the job: the tiger, the fox, the chameleon, and the ostrich. Each boss has their own style, and there are good and bad elements to each style. But, when a boss only uses the negative sides of their leadership instinct, it can make work miserable. So, we want to know what you think.

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  1. Keith

    I like knowing what I am up against. With a Tiger I know that it is a power game with them. If you play submissive, but tough, and loyal you will generally get along with them. Normally a boss like a Tiger will take responsibility when something goes wrong and has fairly strong honor code. I hate the politician type leader who won’t take responsibility and will blame subordinates like the chameleon.

  2. R. D.

    Somehow I’ve managed to avoid having any ‘Tigers’ for a boss – maybe it’s just luck, or maybe it’s because I’m kind of a “goat” and just wouldn’t put up working for a ‘Tiger’. Actually most of my bosses have been pretty good to work for, but there have been a few that have either ‘Chameleons’ or ‘Ostrichs. Both types can be frustrating to deal with, but if you know how to handle them, it’s possible to work with them. The trick is to realize that, even though they supposedly have authority over you, they are motivated by insecurity. Knowing that, if you have the gumption not to be intimidated by the idea of it, you can learn how to manage your boss (“manage”, but not control; never try to control a boss – it would most likely backfire and put you out of a job … unless, of course, that’s what you want. But it’s risky since it has many possible unforseen consequences).
    All that being said, I think the worst boss I ever had was the one ‘Fox’ who was my foreman in a manufacturing plant. His predecessor had been an ‘Ostrich’ who was a prime example of the Peter Principle: in any hierarchical organization, employees tend to rise to their level of incompetence. Having become accustomed to the old foreman’s incompetence, I had trouble adjusting to working under the ‘Fox’ when he became my foreman. A major part of the problem was that the ‘Fox’ was far more competent in an objective sense than the old ‘Ostrich’ had been. And he seemed to delight in his ability to keep the workers on his shift off balance, never knowing what sly tricks he might have up his sleeve to keep us all “towing the line” the way he wanted. After just 2 months working under him, I requested a transfer onto another shift, then quit that job altogether another month after that. It wasn’t all just because of him, but the way he rubbed me the wrong way was definitely a major factor in my decision.

  3. Obake

    Submissive but tough…….BULL. I’ve encountered a boss that fires you if your tough, but loves you if you’re a butt kisser that bows down to every whim he spews at you. And might I add, he was never satisfied with all your hard work and efforts, but if you were a lazy man, loved you. One small disagreement and your job is on the line! For instance, if you tried to stand up for yourself (not in a mean way, but politely), the next morning you would either find yourself fired or demoted. This was my previous boss!! He played all the roles of these so-called symbolic animals. Too bossy, never satisfied, and cowardly to face you when firing you. Now you tell me, what do you do if you run into this kind of boss? Absolutely nothing!! America loves bosses like that.

  4. luciy

    I appreciate the concern which has been raised. The things need to be sorted out because it is about the individual, but it can be with everyone. I like this particular article. It gives me an additional input on the information around the world. Thanks a lot and keep going with posting such information.

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