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A Survival Guide for Working with Bad Bosses

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A Survival Guide for Working with Bad Bosses

Dealing With Bullies, Idiots, Back-Stabbers, and Other Managers from Hell


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Hate your boss? Don't lose hope: you can learn to cope or to change the situation...or you can always leave.

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable


No blueprint exists for dealing with a difficult boss, but sometimes a tried-and-true approach can alleviate the problem. Author Gini Graham Scott provides scenarios that illustrate 34 categories of bad bosses. Useful as these may be, they do not make for a smooth narrative. Scott describes each classification and provides a case study and list of possible solutions - though you might find it scary to read about so many incompetent people. Your own bad boss may be enough. Even if you are highly motivated to diagnose your boss’s particular pathology, you will need to take some time to determine exactly where your personal nemesis resides in Scott’s rogue’s gallery of mismanagement. Then, she’ll help you devise a strategy. found the book more descriptive than prescriptive or analytical, but it affirms that you are not alone in your struggle, and it offers guidelines that may help you decide what to do. Here’s hoping that the job market remains strong so - if need be - you can escape intact, with this guidebook in your hand.


The Rogue’s Gallery

Bad bosses come in many shapes and sizes, and - unfortunately - most employees encounter one or more during their working careers. Bad bosses universally fail to manage work processes or help their employees improve. Difficult to work with because of their behavior, they may be preoccupied with office politics or seek inappropriate levels of control over their employees’ lives. Negative influences in today’s competitive, complex job environment may encourage abusive, unproductive supervisors. Although no generally accepted definition of a bad boss exists, you’ll know one when you see one.

Economic realities may restrict what you can do about your bad boss without putting your job in jeopardy. To complicate the problem, each situation is different, depending on your relationship with your boss, his or her exact type of "badness" and the nature of your employer or career. You’ll need to consider many variables to figure out a solution. Still, when you find yourself working for a miserable boss, you’ll feel better if you realize that you do have alternatives. To devise a strategy, answer the following questions:

  • Will you work alone or with...

About the Author

Gini Graham Scott is a consultant and the author of more than 40 books, including A Survival Guide for Working With Humans. She writes the syndicated column "Work it Right!" for the Oakland Tribune and other newspapers.

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