The 6 Traits of Idiot Bosses

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The 6 Traits of Idiot Bosses

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In career life you typically come across three types of bad bosses:
(1) Crappy managers that are smart
(2) Good managers that are A-holes
(3) A-hole managers that are idiots

While all of these ‘bad bosses’ possess the ability to make your life miserable, idiot bosses (type 3) can be particularly troublesome to work for. Not only are they horribly inept at managing people, they also possess an uncanny ability to defy logic and common sense.

Not sure how to spot one? Fear not. We’ve compiled a list to help you identify the traits to look out for.

1. They love the word synergy
: We’ve all heard it. The dreaded “S word”. For those unlucky enough to have an idiot boss, you’ve probably heard it more than you care to remember.

2. They drink fanciful, caffeine beverages: I know this one is a little weird, but it’s true. Trust me. Every idiot boss I’ve ever come across has had an insatiable appetite for complicated coffee orders. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it goes something like this: “I’ll have a Grande…no make that a Venti cafe latte with a half non-fat milk, one and a quarter sugar, a twist of cinnamon, and a hint of whipped cream…oh, and don’t forget to give me extra napkins.”

Note: If you order this drink and are not a boss – there is a high likelihood that you are at the very least pretentious.

3. They want to start a company blog
: In a perfect world only the managers that understand blogging would want to launch a company blog. Unfortunately, it is almost exclusively idiot bosses who muster the motivation to suggest one.

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4. They plagiarize management books with regularity: “I just came up with this great idea over the weekend. Wouldn’t it be great if we could organize our supply-chain such that we only ship out products just after we make them. The name I came up with for this system is ‘just-in-time’ inventory.”

5. They have a marketing degree: Of all the disciplines in academia, marketing programs have an uncanny knack for producing idiot bosses. Note: I have a marketing degree so I think I am at liberty to point this one out.

6. They crap bullshit but can’t smell it:
Do I really need to elaborate on this one?

I’m sure I haven’t covered them all, so let your suggestions be known in the comments.

About The Author
Jeff Springer
I am a freelance traveling writer. I am currently spending most of my time backpacking across Europe. While I may be living outside of the United States, I stay connected to American financial markets and M&A's more than is probably healthy for any single person.
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  • April 16, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    Adam, it’s not only ‘synergy’. Let’s hear it for Outstanding! and Phenomenal!

  • April 17, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    This falls under your #1: Saying or writing “utilize” instead of “use”. If a manager rejects perfectly good, simple English words that clearly convey their meaning in favor of technobabble buzzwords, he’s an idiot.

    Or “make sure we’re all on the same page.” I’m reading Umberto Eco novels on the plane to business meetings while you’re reading “Rise of the Creative Class” and “What Color is Your Parachute?” back in the office and sending me to business meetings. Trust me — we will never be on the same page. But yes, since it worries you so much, I do understand what you are saying and we do have the same information on this topic. Thank you for playing.

  • April 21, 2008 at 6:27 am

    Pretty much describes 6 out of 7 of my last bosses…

  • Disgusted
    April 21, 2008 at 6:28 am

    I work for a large corporation. In our new corporate policies, all employees are urged to “Think and act entrepreneurially” and to “take ownership,” but my pay has not increased.


  • dave
    April 21, 2008 at 6:35 am

    I’m tired of hearing “leverage”

  • N
    April 23, 2008 at 12:41 am

    Why can’t we have meetings or conferences or conventions or even summits anymore? Why must every gathering be a “convening”?

  • Robert
    July 6, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    When did “dialogue” become a verb?

  • LC
    September 23, 2009 at 9:16 am

    “Tweek” is it even a word and why do my bosses feel the need that everything needs to be “tweeked”?

  • mary
    December 12, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    Synergy, Outstanding and Phenomenal those are great examples.
    My bosses can’t just do things “Starting now”
    Everything has to be “Going Forward”
    And we always have to remember to “Put our Aces in their Places!!”

  • karla
    February 24, 2010 at 9:03 am

    While my boss is ok, (pretty awesome, in fact) there is an idiot boss in our company that I just can’t understand WHY he is in a position of power. He is roundly acknowledged as an idiot, and works in our equivalent of the Scranton office…out of sight, not so much out of mind as he won’t SHUT UP!
    He LOVES powerpoint and the term ‘action item’. As in, ‘Let’s make that an action item’.

  • Rob
    December 3, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    My boss is called the President. Every morning I can about guess with 99% accuracy which emails I send him will be ignored and of course any email with more than one question will for sure get ignored. He’s more insecure than a dog who’s been beaten by his owner. I can’t believe people like that can keep their job. Believe me I know the higher up in the company you go, the more dumb and lazy they get. Crooked corporate insiders – the norm! I make the same $ today as I did when hired years ago, maybe I’m the dumb one. I’m leaving next year, apparently that’s the only way to get a raise, move on.

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