The Horrors of Bad Leadership

The Horrors of Bad Leadership

October 31, 2023

Working for a bad leader can be a nightmare, sometimes literally. Bad leaders can cost companies enormous sums in lost productivity, project failure, low engagement and turnover, and a recent survey showed nearly half of employees have quit to escape a bad boss.

Unfortunately, no matter how far you run, there are always bad leaders lurking around the corner. Here are eight types of scary-bad leaders you’re likely to encounter in your career.

Horrors of Bad Leadership - Warewolf

The Werewolf

Horrific Behavior: Can’t control their temper

Much like a full moon can make a person lose control and become a werewolf, this leader can be transformed by even the most minor of missteps. Maybe a proposal didn’t go to plan or a client deliverable fell through. Either way, you’ll be looking for a silver bullet when this leader turns from manager to man-eater.

Horrors of Bad Leadership - Vampire

The Vampire

Horrific Behavior: Sucks all the credit out of a project

A big project has just been completed and the client couldn’t be happier. The team is thrilled and upper management should be around any minute to congratulate the team. Suddenly, as if appearing out of a cloud of bats, this leader shows up to suck the life out of the team. Instead of allowing the team to bask in their shared victory, this motivation-sucking manager appears to let their boss know that this win was all because of their leadership. If only necklaces of garlic were business casual…

Horrors of Bad Leadership - Skeleton

The Skeleton

Horrific Behavior: Heartlessness

This leader looks like a human, or more accurately, looks like they used to be a human. Somewhere along the way to their leadership position, their heart must have fallen right out of their chest. As they rattle down the hallway, they refuse to acknowledge that the other members of their team are, in fact, human beings with lives outside of work, areas where they can improve, and motivation that must be cultivated each day.

Horrors of Bad Leadership - Zombie

The Zombie

Horrific Behavior: Mindlessly shuffling around

This leader is there… sort of. They show up to the office and take up space behind their desk but good luck getting anything out of this shambling leader. They may not be moaning about eating brains but you’re sure you just saw them shamble through the rows of desks yet again. Their hunger for pointless status updates can’t be slated. If only they were as focused on their employees as they are on updaaaates, updaaaates…

Horrors of Bad Leadership - Blob

The Blob

Horrific Behavior: Spineless, never willing to stand up for their employees

The timeline is unrealistic, there aren’t enough hands on the team, and the project stakeholder is breathing down your neck. Sure would be nice to have a leader on this team to step up, take charge, and set the stakeholder’s expectations to a more realistic standard. Unfortunately, this leader is lacking a spine… and really any other means of standing up for their team.

Horrors of Bad Leadership - Puppet

The Puppet

Horrific Behavior: Only does what their manager says without regard for their employees’ wellness

You can nearly see the strings being pulled as this leader walks through the office. Rather than having a vision of their own, this “leader” is content to serve as a prop for their boss. Their mouth may be moving but it’s their boss’s voice you hear. Who knew they were such a talented ventriloquist.

Horrors of Bad Leadership - Watcher

The Watcher

Horrific Behavior: Always watching, ready to micromanage at any moment

You’re sitting at your desk typing away then you suddenly feel a tingle down your spine. Could it be that 4th cup of coffee you had 5 minutes ago? No, this is different. As you turn around, you see this leader. With what seems to be a million eyes, they watch their direct reports’ every move. We all need some oversight now and then but this leader takes it to the next level. Yes, I sent that email. Yes, I spoke to that person yesterday. No, I’m not motivated by micromanaging.

Horrors of Bad Leadership - Ghost

The Ghost

Horrific Behavior: Disappears when their employees need them most

Crunch time is here. The project’s deadline is coming up and it will take all hands on deck to get it done. Odd…doesn’t someone seem missing? This leader was here all day but suddenly, it seems like they vanished into thin air. Don’t worry, once everything has been completed they’ll show up again. At least until the next time they’re needed.

Do you know someone with some frightening leadership habits?

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