by Meridith Levinson

Horrible Bosses: 7 Ways to Drive Your Best Workers Out the Door

Jul 25, 20112 mins

If you recognize the following seven behaviors in any of your managers, get rid of them before they send your top performers packing.

Since the movie Horrible Bosses opened at the beginning of July, it has grossed $82.4 million in ticket sales. Okay, so it’s not reaching Harry Potter levels, but it’s a respectable return for a flick reported to cost $35 million. Cleary, the storyline—it’s about three employees who conspire to kill their awful bosses—resonates with movie goers. 

Horrible Bosses movie poster

I haven’t seen Horrible Bosses yet, but the movie, along with a friend’s experience with a bad boss, has me thinking about how toxic bad managers are in the workplace. 

My friend’s boss is driving him absolutely batty. His boss is so awful that my friend is looking for a new job. This is unfortunate for both my friend and his employer because it means my friend has to leave a job and company he otherwise likes, and because if my friend leaves, his employer will lose a productive, uniquely skilled employee who is well-respected by his colleagues. His employer will also have to replace him, which is always a costly and time-consuming endeavor.  

Here are the specific bad boss behaviors that are driving my friend out the door: 

1. His boss asks him to repeatedly cover for his mistakes and disorganization. 

2. His boss dumps his work to him so that he doesn’t have to do anything. 

3. His boss has thrown him under the bus to save his own hide. 

4. His boss micromanages him. (Apparently, delegating his work to my friend frees up my friend’s boss to micromanage him.) 

5. His boss doesn’t give him any flexibility, despite his stellar performance reviews and record of exceeding expectations. 

6. His boss gives him unclear direction or no direction at all. 

7. His boss ultimately impedes his success by constantly undermining him and not allowing him to get any of his work done. 

I list these behaviors to bring them to the attention of the CIOs and companies who employ bad bosses. Bad bosses are a scourge on the staff who report to them, a pox on the organizations that employ them. 

My advice to the employers of these bad bosses: Get rid of them before they send your top performers packing. Your best workers are too valuable to lose to bad management. 

I only wish I understood why even good employers sit idly while bad managers, festering inside organizations, shove their best and brightest out the door. Your thoughts?