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.

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.

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…

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.

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…

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.

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.

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.

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.

Don't Be Scared - It's Coachable!

Do you know someone with some frightening leadership habits?

Patrick McKernan

Patrick McKernan is an Analyst based in AIIR Consulting’s Philadelphia headquarters. His primary focus is in Coaching Operations and serves as the point of contact for all current and prospective coaches as they join AIIR’s stellar coach cadre.
Patrick McKernan

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AIIR Consulting

AIIR Consulting is a global leadership development consultancy dedicated to increasing the effectiveness and performance of leaders and their organizations. Through the strategic integration of coaching and technology, AIIR Consulting brings agile leadership development to today’s connected leader.

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