The 6 Traits of Idiot Bosses

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.

Written by Jeff Springer

Jeff Springer

Jeff Spring is the Finance & Markets Editor at He's currently spending his days backpacking across Europe. While he may be living outside of the United States, he stays connected to American financial markets and M&A's more than is probably healthy for any single person. His love of a good book and a Bloomberg terminal can't be understated.