The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

When I first started working, I expected that much like in the movies, there were three types of bosses: the good, the bad and the ugly.  The good boss I expected to be a complete role model who knows how to motivate his/her subordinates, is caring and willing to go the extra mile in ensuring that they understand what needs to be done. A boss who has got your back when things are going bad. I expected the good boss to be one without a fault, just like Superman.

A bad boss is one who just gives the necessary information and expects you to figure out everything else. He/she would not pay much attention to you and how heavy your workload is, he/she just expects the work to be done. A boss who would not expect to be asked too many questions, and any interruptions while he/she speaks bordered on treason. I expected a bad boss to be one that would refuse to come to your aid no matter how bad how things are going, he/she expects you to figure it all out all on your own.

The ugly boss is not one that’s ugly physically, but in character, especially when it comes to those reporting to him/her. A boss very much like Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada, he/she doesn’t remember your name or doesn’t make an attempt to pronounce it well. He/she doesn’t expect that you have a life outside of work but expects that you are always on call, even if you are sick or bedridden. The ugly boss’s expectations are so lofty that he/she expects that if you ever get admitted into the hospital, the first thing you should worry about is not your health, but your laptop or smart phone. The ugly boss, unlike the bad boss who expects you to find a way out of bad situations on your own, would offer you as the sacrificial lamb to take the blame if things go south, even if he/she had given approval or was the actual cause of the issue.

However, after having worked for a while, I realized that no boss could be rolled into just any one of these personalities, rather, they often exhibit one or two traits of each of them. However, some bosses exhibiting more traits of one personality than the other.

Let’s take the late Steve Jobs of Apple for example, although Steve was the darling of the media, and his name almost became synonymous with innovation, internally, he was said to be temperamental and could sometimes go ballistic, and not because he was a bad or an ugly boss. Rather because he expected that anyone who worked at Apple should have the same drive for excellence and passion for work that he had.

There’s no boss that can be described as totally good, bad or ugly. For even the seemingly worst of bosses has an element of good within. The question is how can you get on your boss’s good side?


By Ezekiel