How Bad Bosses Make for Bad Teamwork

Bad bosses, a.k.a. Mr. Grump Asses, can be the absolute kiss of death when it comes to employee morale and teamwork. It’s a rare boss that claims he or she doesn’t want effective teamwork, but bad bosses often have management styles that make teamwork difficult, if not impossible.

Maybe you’re working for a bad boss. Or maybe when you read the following, you’ll be going “Oh, holy crap, I’m a bad boss!” Although that’s not likely. Bad bosses most of the time don’t realize that they’re bad bosses.

Since there’s only usually one “big boss,” it’s more likely that you’re in a middle management position and wondering just what in hell you’re going to do about that asshat that’s making your team members miserable. Well, forewarned is forearmed, as they say, so in the material that follows, we’ll talk about how to identify the management styles of bad bosses and how they adversely affect employee morale.

No, wait. We have a better idea. Let’s have those Mr. Grump Asses speak for themselves. This is how we imagine it might go.

1. It’s All About Me

Look, I don’t really care about the company, and I don’t want to hear about your “team building exercises” and how we can all prosper if employee morale is improved. All I really care about is my position, and my bonus. Oh, and how I look to my bosses. Employee satisfaction is pretty low on my list of priorities.

2. I’m Not Going to Ask You; I’m Going to Tell You

Yes, I rule through intimidation. I don’t care about employee satisfaction; it’s all about results. If threatening you and bullying you is the easy way, then you can bet that’s going to be my approach.

3. My Boss Loves Me, So Screw You

Yes, I “manage up.” Too bad. If sucking up to my boss gets me where I want to be, then I’ll do it. I don’t care about motivating employees. My motivation is all that matters, and my motivation is my next promotion.

4. I’ll Take the Credit for What You Do

So, you wrote a great report? How nice for you. You shouldn’t be surprised if you see my name at the top, though. If I’m in a really good mood and thinking, “I really should do something to show my underlings that I actually need them,” I might mention that you assisted. Or not. I’m a big believer in “servant leadership,” which basically means that I am the leader, and you are the servant.

5. I Will Never Say That I am Sorry

I have no clue that employee morale can be badly affected if I hurt someone’s feelings and I can’t be bothered to say I’m sorry. As a matter of fact, I’m probably not sorry anyway.

6. I Am Always Right

I have never been wrong, and if I ever am, I’m sure that it will be someone else’s fault. Does that affect employee morale? Maybe. But who cares? Man up and grow a set if it bothers you.

7. I Don’t Have to Blah Blah Blah

Why should I communicate with my underlings? Most of you won’t even know what I’m talking about. And if you do want to know, talk about it amongst yourselves. Isn’t that what “team building exercises” are all about? Don’t let me hear you talking amongst yourselves though – that’s insubordination.

8. Motivate Yourselves, You Losers

I don’t have to bother with team building exercises to keep you losers motivated. I gave you a job, didn’t I? Oh, and by the way, pull up your socks. I don’t like people who work to the lowest possible level. What, you want to be appreciated? Well, that’s what middle managers are for with their team building activities and all that happy crappy – it’s got nothing to do with me; I’m above all that.

9. I’m Going to Lunch

I’ll be back in a few hours. Oh, I’m unavailable? Too bad. If you need me, you’ll just have to wait.

10. You’ll Do What I Tell You to Do When I Tell You to Do It

So, you think I’m a micromanager? Look, I don’t pay you to be creative or deviate from the plan. You want team building ideas? I don’t think so. I’d much rather you just do what you’re told and then report back to me. Every. Single. Day.

11. You Want Praise? HAH!

Oh, come on. I hired you to do a job. If you do it well, you get a good review and a reference when you leave. Not my job to be patting you on the back all the time. I couldn’t care less about employee morale – you don’t need recognition for doing what they’re supposed to do in the first place.

12. I Only Care About Work

Look, don’t come to me and tell me that you need time off because your wife has cancer, your father just died, your dog got hit by a car or whatever. I don’t care about any of that. And don’t ask me if I even have a life outside the office, because it’s none of your damn business.

13. Anyone Can Meet the Goals I Set

Look, if I want a 50,000 word report done in 24 hours, it’s your job to get it done. Use some of those team building exercises you’re always on about to get your people motivated if that’s what you think you have to do. I just want the goddamn report, and you’d better deliver it! What, you want me to pitch in and help? Not my issue.

14. I Love You, and I Hate Him

I will play you off against one another. After all, that’s what competition is all about. If you want to succeed in this company, you’d better be willing to trample all over your buddies, employee morale and team building notwithstanding. I’ll play favorites, because that’s what keeps you on your toes. You’ll be my favorite today, and tomorrow I’ll pick another favorite to play off against you. You’ll never know where you stand, and I figure that will make all of you try harder to gain my favor.

15. What Did You Say?

I will never listen to what you’re trying to tell me. I will interrupt you, check my phone, take calls and do everything in my power to let you know how unimportant you are.

16. I Love Suck-Ups

If the company is down-sizing, I will not care how hard you have worked to build a cohesive team that delivers great results. Your team building exercises and efforts will mean nothing to me. I will cheerfully kick your ass to the curb in favor of someone who has treated me like the god I am.

17. I Will Not Convince; I Will Dictate

If I have an idea, I will make no effort whatsoever to convince you that it is a good one and to bring you and your team onside. I will tell you that you will implement my idea even if it will be disastrous for profitability and/or employee morale.

18. I Will Always Judge You, and You Will Always Be Found Wanting

No matter what idea you bring to me, I will criticize it. If it is a good idea, I will claim it as my own.

19. I Will Lie to You

I will expect you to take everything I tell you as fact. Even if you catch me in a flagrant lie, I will expect you to nod respectfully and say “Yes, whatever you say, Lord and Master.” If you quote me from memory or from notes, I will deny the lie.

20. I Don’t Care About Your Talents

Okay, so you have a great team, and you’ve done all these team building exercises to make it even better, but here’s the thing – I don’t care. And I will still give your people tasks that don’t suit their talents or level of ability.

21. I Only Care About Today

Don’t bother me with projections and forecasts. I only care about what makes me look good today, and you had damn well better make me look good today!

22. I Will Never Appreciate You

I want your loyalty, but you will never have mine. It doesn’t work both ways. If it suits me, I’ll kick you to the curb tomorrow.

23. I Will Terrorize You

You need to know that I am always in control. I have power – power over you. I’ve fired people before you; I’ll fire people after you, and I can fire you. You’re next. You are so next!

24. I Don’t Have to Follow the Rules

You know, when you come to me with your candy-assed team building exercises, a lot of them are designed to show people the importance of following the rules. Here’s the thing – I don’t have to follow them. I can do whatever I want. The rules do not apply to me.

“OK” we acknowledge that there are many fabulous bosses out there.  But does any of this sound familiar? If you have a boss like this, then you and your entire team are under attack. The only thing you can do, since your boss probably isn’t going anywhere (except maybe to a special place in Hell when he dies) is to build the best team you can, and do the best work you can. Team building exercises can introduce a bit of fun into the workplace and help your people, and you as well, to develop the skills you need to deal with bad bosses who destroy employee morale. You’ll find tons of them online, and WuHuu can help as well. We’re introducing subscription boxes that contain tons of fun team building activities. Stay tuned!


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