Wednesday, December 30, 2009

10 Best and Worst Bosses: Which One Are You?

We’ve all had bosses that we’ve either loved or hated. The boss who helped you get that promotion, or the one who clipped his toenails at his desk.

Some help us advance our career, while others seem to hold us back. Different leadership styles can lead to different results for each employee. But certain styles seem to be good or bad across the board, helping or hurting all employees with one fell swoop.

Check out these five worst and five best leadership styles and find out which one you are!

Worst: The Know-It-All

The Know-It-All has done everything you’ve done, but better and faster. Somehow, in the time that they’ve been in the workforce, they have managed to accomplish every feat known to the IT world. Regardless of your accomplishment, they will let you know how it could be done better.

Not only are they omnipotent, but they expect you to be all-knowing as well. The Know-It-All will assign a three-day task to be completed in one day. They will give you vague instructions and expect you to figure out what must be done. Or they will assign you an impossible task – one that not even they could perform – and demand it on their desk by the end of the week. The Know-It-All is all about pushing you to your limit to prove that they are smarter than you or to see if you can measure up.

Worst: The Hovercraft

You can almost hear the faint buzzing of The Hovercraft as it floats over your shoulder, watching your every move. Nothing can be left to your own devices. Even when The Hovercraft is away from the office, they will constantly check in to make sure everything is running smoothly. In The Hovercraft’s office, it’s 1984 and Big Brother is watching.

With The Hovercraft, everything must be double-checked. Second-guessing is second nature to this boss. Without their stamp of approval, no task is actually complete. The Hovercraft has trust issues that can only be cured by years of therapy.

Worst: The Best Friend

Work is just another reason to socialize for The Best Friend. They view their team as a circle of friends, whether their employees like it or not. No subject is off limits. They feel the need to share every detail of their life with the staff, as well as ask you personal questions about yours.

The Best Friend knows no personal boundaries. They are the boss that will give you a backrub while standing over your shoulder. Or who shares, in detail, their sexual exploits behind their closed office door. In essence, The Best Friend is just a sexual harassment suit waiting to happen.

Worst: The Ghost

You never see The Ghost, but their presence is everywhere in the office. The Ghostseems to have an infinite amount of vacation time, or is always on a business trip. But when the cat is away, the mice can’t play. The Ghost will haunt the office through e-mails and phone calls, making sure everyone has plenty to do in their absence.

The problem: It’s hard to get any work done when your boss isn’t there to answer questions. Can’t decide the best way to complete a task? Better figure it out. Have a personal issue with a coworker? Take it up with them. Need something signed or approved? Better hope they are near a phone or fax machine. By constantly being out of the office, The Ghost can accomplish their tasks without the nuisance of actually having to manage their team.

Worst: The Bully

It’s like the third grade school yard all over again, except this time The Bully isn’t after your lunch money, they are after your time and commitment. They aren’t interested in your problems or your opinions. The only thing The Bully wants is for you to work as hard as humanly possible and make them look good to upper management.

The Bully makes all team decisions, with little or no input from the rest of the staff. Their word is gospel, and to challenge them is to spit in the face of the company. And since The Bully seems like such an asset to the company – mostly due to all the work you put in – it’s futile to go around them. Working with The Bully always ends up being a lose-lose situation.

Best: The Cheerleader

The Cheerleader isn’t so much about teaching and training, but more about making you feel good about what you do. Did you make you finish your project ahead of time? Good job! Did you land that content partnership you’ve been eyeing? You’re awesome!

While this leadership style won’t propel your career, it does help motivate you to accomplish your goals. The Cheerleader knows that compliments make you feel successful and good about yourself. They are the carrot used to motivate you to accomplish what you want, and look toward loftier goals.

Best: The Teacher

The Teacher remembers the time when they were in your shoes, when they wished there was someone to show them the ropes. They take you under their wing and try to impart all the knowledge they wished they knew at that time.

There is never a stupid question to The Teacher. Everything is a learning experience. They are not one to grab the phone or mouse out of your hand and do it themselves. ToThe Teacher, the only way to learn is by doing. The ultimate goal is to see the pupil succeed, which makes the employees the number one priority.

Best: The Communicator

To this boss, there is no such thing as over-communicating. Every detail of the goals and objectives of their team is laid out for everyone. Every e-mail from upper management is forwarded to the entire team. The Communicator wants to make sure that their team is constantly in the loop.

The Communicator is always around to answer any questions you may have, and will always answer them as honestly as possible. They are always willing to have a heart-to-heart about work issues, but never about personal matters. And, of course, the office door is always open.

Best: The Enabler

The Enabler knows that you have the means to accomplish any task, you just may need some guidance to get there. Instead of spending all day with you like The Teacher, they are more likely to make a few suggestions to get you on your way, and then leave the rest up to you.

The Enabler’s favorite catch phrases are “Have you thought about doing this?” or “What about trying this?” Their suggestions are never commands, and they are completely comfortable with you taking the lead on any project, as well as the praise when it succeeds. They want you to succeed, but don’t feel the need to push to get you there.

Best: The Captain

To The Captain, his employees are his team. It’s essential that everyone works together toward the same goal. If there is a rift in the team, he’s the peacekeeper that swoops in to mend the wound. If the team succeeds, he credits every employee. But if the team loses, he takes the weight on his shoulders.

The Captain acts as the go-to player on the team. If something falls through the cracks, he is there to catch it. If someone calls in sick, he is there to fill in. If a last minute assignment pops up five minutes before quitting time, he will fall on the sword for the sake of his team. The Captain’s only goal as a manager is to make sure he is doing everything he can to make sure his team is running efficiently.


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