We’ve all had bad bosses before, whether it was in software development or any other profession full of imperfect human beings. It takes a special kind of willful ignorance to brew the perfect project management and software development storm, so here are six types of people you want to avoid working for at all costs.
1. The ones with no solutions
It seems almost as though their mantra is “just work harder.” It’s an outlook with no foresight, and an attitude that just doesn’t work. They will nitpick and micromanage and their vision is so tunnel-vision and focused on getting the product to market that they fail as a manager in prioritizing the importance of features.
2. Non-technical bosses
These are the people who you have to explain multiple times “why” a technology works they way it does. Their lack of comprehension in regards technological complexity usually results in arguing about what to sacrifice where, code revisions, and seemingly endless clean up.
3. The dictator
Having one of these is like talking to a brick wall. You can spot them from a mile away because they stand out like a faulty pipe joint raining down on everyone around them. Not only are they usually quite short-sighted and unwavering in their thinking, they usually back that quality up with a draconian sense of being right. The worst kind are the ones who are clearly putting up a front and perceive any actual good ideas or input from others as an attack on their intelligence and hegemony, resulting in them becoming condescending and even more deleterious in useless self-defense. They tank team morale and cause everyone to mentally check-out, making things take much, much longer.
4. The one who thinks they’re the end-user
Most managers tend to do this at some point, because its not a bad thing to put yourself into the shoes of the consumer. But forgetting that you’re wearing someone else’s shoes isn’t going to get you too far. An age old programming maxim states that you should design your software as if the end-user is drunk. Assume nothing other than total incompetence, and diminish any chance for user-error you can. That is, of course, unless your boss thinks he has the UX experience he clearly doesn’t. These managers need to be reminded that UX professionals exist for a reason, and they are available.
5. The myopic boss
Lacking foresight is a constant problem that you’ll see mentioned everywhere when it comes to bad bosses. These people are so focused on micromanaging and minutiae that they lose sign of the overall business in favor of getting simple tasks done. They end up outsourcing the think-tank aspect of the business and eventually it seems like there’s insufficient communication between whoever is actually steering the ship, and the poor short-sighted person constantly focusing on the small picture. Faith is a great thing to have in oneself, but not a good thing to have in a process that’s still under development.
6. The green manager
This is the kind of boss who gets too much responsibility before they’re quite ready for it. Occasionally, people take the baton and run well with it, which is an amazing innate sense of balance that should be nurtured over time. But most often, people succeed through trial and (a lot of) error. There is a strength of character and maturity needed here for a manager to be able to get things done in a well-thought out and expeditious manner without sacrificing too much of themselves in the process. Typically, people put into positions of responsibility too soon either attach their noses to the bums of more powerful people in the organization, or they turn into the insecure, draconian dictator mentioned above.
What other types of bad bosses have you encountered? Leave us a comment so we can all learn how to avoid them.