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Crazy bosses: Do you see yourself?

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in Leaders & Managers,Management Training

“What most people don’t realize,” business columnist Stanley Bing writes in Crazy Bosses, “is that the crazy boss is aided by his insanity, not hampered by it. Craziness is an asset, not a liability.”

See if you or your boss fit into one of these five crazy types:
  1. The Bully. The most common crazy boss, the bully, is everywhere. “Management by terror has been a time-honored technique because it works,” Bing notes. Sometimes bullies scream at guests and dignitaries. Sometimes they assign the same project to three people and sit back to watch.

    What to do: Provide practical assistance. Withhold admiration or affection. Stay out of the way.

  2. The Paranoid. This boss closes the door, won’t come out for months and refers all comers to his or her special confidant (see “Toxic Confidants,” July 2007). Fear of human contact makes this boss breathtakingly nervous. In the paranoid’s mind, the only way to exert control is to do everything himself. No one can be trusted.

    What to do: Don’t be too good, don’t take reproaches too seriously and “honor the beauty of a closed door.”

  3. The Narcissist. The prima donna “views all around him as tiny flecks in the majestic spectacle that is his life story.” Meanwhile, deadlines and opportunities pass. The narcissist uses people to achieve his own ends.

    What to do: Keep him comfortable, and keep his show on the road.

  4. The Wimp. Consumed with two things—process and bureaucracy—the wimp takes no risk but merely repeats what worked before. When something does go wrong, wusses never pass up an opportunity to duck their share of the blame.

    What to do: Cover for him while you look for greener pastures.

  5. The Disaster Hunter. He might be brilliant, possess a vision or ambition, but none of that matters because he’s drunk on something that’s going to push him over the edge.

    What to do: This joker is not leading, so it’s up to you. Get tough, find solutions and don’t look back. Eventually, the disaster hunter will be gone.
— Adapted from Crazy Bosses: Fully Revised and Updated, Stanley Bing, Collins.

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