November 3, 2014
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We enjoy finding interesting material for our Workplace Matters online magazine, and one of our seasonal favourites this fall is a recent Halloween inspired article by Peter Economy of Inc., ‘10 Signs of a Really Scary Boss’. The article’s premise is that bad bosses are the number one cause of employees quitting their jobs, and lists 10 types of ‘scary bosses’ that will haunt you in your sleep. These bosses include:

  1. The ‘stalker’ boss – who watches everything you do and calls you outside of business hours (or even worse, on your lunch break).
  2. The ‘plays favourites’ boss – who has one or more favourite employees with different performance requirements (and bigger bonuses) than everyone else.
  3. The ‘Friday meetings’ boss – who schedules meetings on late Friday afternoon (or very early in the morning, or at lunch time, or gives you work just before you were leave for the day – we can go on).
  4. The ‘inexplicably incapable’ boss – who doesn’t know how to do their job and relies on you to cover it up (we’d add the inexplicably absent boss to this category as well).
  5. The ‘super stressed out’ boss – who can’t handle the stress when projects roll into high gear and begins barking orders.
  6. The ‘icky conversations’ boss – who shares too much information about their private lives (nobody wants to hear that stuff).
  7. The ‘never makes a mistake boss’ – who never admits when they're wrong and makes excuses (or worse, blames things on you).
  8. The ‘wishy-washy’ boss – who tells you to do one thing and then tells you to do the opposite a few days later.
  9. The ‘it’s my way or the highway’ boss – who thinks that any other way of getting things done is completely unacceptable.
  10. The ‘never a kind word’ boss – who never says thank-you or congratulates you on a job well done (or steals the praise).

As a bonus, we’d also add the ‘unpredictable boss’ who praises you one day and lashes out at you the next with little or no warning (or throws you under the proverbial bus). All humour and generalization aside, many of us have been unlucky enough to have bosses with one or more of these traits, and it can make working life difficult and unpleasant.

If you think you might be one of these bosses, you should likely put some careful thought into updating your management style. Why? For employers, bad bosses are no laughing matter, contributing to high turnover rates, lost productivity, as well as increased rates of absenteetism and disability leave, all of which are costly. They also increase legal risks associated with constructive dismissal, occupational health and safety, and human rights claims, including claims of harassment and discrimination. So-called ‘harsh management styles’ are no longer acceptable in today’s work environment, and do more harm than good.  

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This content is not intended to provide legal advice or opinion as neither can be given without reference to specific events and situations. © 2017 Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP.

Service: Employment Law