How to Spot the 11 Dysfunctional Types of Bosses

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Is your boss a dysfunctional psychopath? Find out the warning signsWhen you go on an interview, every potential boss seems like a nice person to work for, right? But sometimes your first impression is very, very wrong. Knowing what kind of work relationship you want can help you figure out which personality types to avoid, says Ben Dattner, author of The Blame Game: How the Hidden Rules of Credit and Blame Determine Our Success or Failure.

Here is a sample list — by no means mutually exclusive or exhaustive — of what you might learn about yourself and your risk factors from the experience of working for different kinds of bosses:

Extrapunitive types:
Excitable — or Volatile Guardian:
Working for such a person is particularly challenging for anyone who likes to work in a stable, predictable environment.
Cautious — or Sensitive Retirer: Anyone who requires close collaboration with, and public recognition from, their supervisor should avoid this kind of boss.
Skeptical — or Wary Watcher: If having a trusting and open relationship with your boss and a strong network across the organization is important to you, avoid skeptical bosses.
Leisurely — or Rationalizing Blamer: If it’s important to you that your boss has a good relationship with, and support from, his or her superiors, it’s generally better to steer clear of leisurely bosses.

Impunitive types:
Bold — or Big Person on Campus:
Anyone who needs warmth and support from a boss or manager should avoid this kind of manager, who is likely to be highly self-interested and self-involved.
Mischievous — or High Wire Walker: Anyone who requires a boss who demonstrates a high degree of trustworthiness and integrity should avoid this kind of manager at almost any cost.
Reserved — or Indifferent Daydreamer: People who want team spirit under a boss who is “present” and provides positive feedback may be particularly vulnerable to disappointment if they work for a reserved boss.
Colorful — or Thespian: If drama in life or work makes you uncomfortable, it’s a good idea to audition other bosses instead of taking a role under the direction of a “thespian,” since people who work for this kind of boss will likely experience interludes of terrifying theatrics.
Imaginative — or Assertive Daydreamer: If you want a warm, connected, and “present” boss, this type is not likely to be a good fit for you, since he will live mainly in his own head.

Intropunitive types:
Diligent — or Micromanager:
If you bristle at an overbearing, command-and-control management style, then probably the last kind of boss you want would be a “diligent” type.
Dutiful — or Martyr: If you want a boss who is comfortable taking credit for him- or herself and his or her team, a dutiful boss will likely make you feel undercredited and underappreciated by the rest of the organization.


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