The Control Freak
This is the boss who comes to mind foremost. He will chain you from the word go. He is the official bully who needs to have everything going at the snap of a finger. Don’t even dare think about making a decision, however small, without his approval. He might have a tendency to stockpile information on work assigned so that he can continue to dictate. Don’t beat yourself if you find your independence at stake. “My boss suffers from this desperate need to control everything from board meetings to the tea served. He also likes to hold the reigns to all the information from the higher-ups or clients so that he can be the face of the office. He even insists that the mail is sent to and from his mailbox. Sometimes I work without knowing the purpose. I feel like a machine who is only ordered and never asked,” rues Shamita Seth, a young media professional.
Remedy: Don’t challenge his authority, but don’t say yes to everything. Look for another job.
Here comes the type who is fun as he always has something spectacular to say. He will praise your hard work and make amazing promises. He will make you believe that he is the most wonderful boss in the world, giving you that warm and fuzzy feeling. You can break a promise or tell a lie because you might be forgiven. But don’t be surprised if he doesn’t stand up for you. Don’t be surprised if he rubbishes any former claim he might have made or doesn’t recollect having chatted with you. He’s a nerveless boss telling employees just what they want to hear. Impression management is probably his main intent. “My boss is nice and jolly. He’ll always make us laugh and never put too much pressure, but we know that whatever he indulges in is very calculated. He’s not the thinking type. He’s just big mouthed, making false promises,” says Mita Nag, working in an academic and communication centre.
Remedy: Ignore his promises. Look for another job.
He is the most indefatigable worker who goes on and on, working late every night and coming in early the next day. Don’t be surprised to receive email and/or an SMS at 3am or on weekends, for he will arrive at the office despite the rain, storm, bandh or a root canal treatment. Be it Puja, Christmas or his day off, he’ll roll up his sleeves and head to his workstation. Indranath Deb, a company executive, has learnt to deal with it after years of trying to meet deadlines set by his boss two weeks prior to the actual timeline. “My boss is hyperactive and always suffering from panic attacks. My blood pressure has gone up because of that and I’m suffering from hypertension. So now I’ve decided to stick to my pace or else I might just become like him. Instead I try to assure him that the work will be done,” says Deb who now pretends to sleep when his boss calls at 7am.
Remedy: Don’t put yourself on a guilt trip. You are okay. He is not. But he may not be a bad boss otherwise. You may stick on.
He is the absentee boss who cultivates an aura of mystery in the office that can instil fear as well as awe among his employees. His absence fills the office grapevine with rumours that could range from his lunch plans with the President or his missing secretary or a holiday in the Alps or the new company he is about to float. “Working in a telecom company, I found the number of employees, departments and levels were so many that we hardly ever got to interact or even see the top boss. It was almost after a year-and-a-half that I caught the first glimpse of the CEO, who turned out to look, talk and behave completely different from what I had visualised,” says Ajay Gupta, a telemarketing executive. Strangely, missing bosses can also foster a tight working environment with employees working harder to keep things in place.
Remedy: Look up the office newsletters and company website. If you are all right with being ignored, stay on.
This boss likes to set impossible goals and then publicly yell at his crew for not being able to deliver. Plain warnings are never enough. He’s the harasser. Just when you think you’ve done it all and even managed to make a Friday night plan, you’re most likely to find him standing right behind you with a heap of files.
“My previous boss was like a school principal, always checking whether I’m on my seat, if I was reading personal mail regularly or spending too much time in the canteen. He was so target driven that at times he’d just go hysterical and scream his lungs out. If I would ever plan to leave early he would arrive with a pile of papers that would need to get sorted right away. He drove me mad!” exclaims Ipsita Sen, a customer care executive who recently left her job at a city bank.
Remedy: Use humour to defuse the tension or have a courageous conversation.
The Faithful and Sentimental
The world may have rolled over and changed course but this boss stays hooked on to his primeval vision of the company, which he continues to resurrect by browsing through chapters and verses of the establishment’s preamble that was instituted on the founding day. He will take you on a guided tour around the dim and musty rooms where he once used to sit before taking the business to the height where it stands today. He’s prone to getting hurt. “My boss is just too sentimental and moody. From the old school, he tends to believe people too easily and even rumours. He can’t take criticism and can get so emotional that it makes him arrogant at times,” says Ranadeb Ghosh, who works at a travel agency. “The best way is to test his mood before approaching him.”
Remedy: Choose the right time to talk and have patience. Oodles of it.
He believes in short cuts. He will leave early to be in time for the gym or to watch the last innings of the T20 match while you sit swamped under a pile of files. He will pass scathing remarks and get all his work done by the others.
A PR executive at a city hotel believes that her boss is the epitome of laziness. “He sits on the chair the whole day and barks orders to his subordinates. He constantly picks on our faults and never admits his mistakes. His laziness extends to his personal appearance. He doesn’t take a bath every day and rarely shampoos,” says the burnt-out 27-year-old.
Remedy: Keep questioning and asking for directions to drive him.
This boss will often remind you that he is the boss. He would get the jitters assigning you too much work in fear of losing his authority over it. He will rarely trust anyone, so think twice before you ever decide to question him. Most likely to turn cynical, he is always trying to defend his reputation and rank. He might rarely be able to give you direction and instead need to be reassured that he is respected at all times. “My boss has this need to prove himself all the time. If ever I present an idea or make some suggestions he always comes up with heavy-duty theory and jargon to counter and confuse me, so that I have no other way but to accept what he says,” says an anguished 26-year-old public relations officer.
Remedy: Acknowledge his presence and give him his share of credit. But he is not likely to improve. Bosses don’t.
...and if all else fails, here are 14 ways to get him:
1 Change the slides and replace them with his cartoon sketches just moments before a grand presentation
2 Rest your head on the desk and snore loudly
3 Bring your pets to work and let them loose around your boss’s cubicle
4 Run up a five-digit phone bill on the office landline, ensuring that they can’t be traced to you
5 Stand outside his cubicle and make faces at him
6 Crawl up on the table and start swinging to Naach mere bulbul, locking eyes with him, in the midst of a board meeting
7 Set the song he hates as your ring tone
8 Shake your fountain pen hard to spray ink over his expensive shirt
9 Wear your Hawaiian shirt, shorts, hat and sandals to the meeting on Monday morning
10 Raise your eyebrows and say “whatever” every time he speaks a sentence
11 Walk in late to office, stroll straight into the canteen and walk back munching on a plate of snacks
12 Build models on your boss’s desk with empty beer cans
13 Smear glue on the keyboard and then laugh out loud when his fingers get stuck
14 Say “hee-haw” instead of “hello” whenever he calls you on your phone
(All names have been changed on request)
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