In a recent New York Times interview, Mary Abbajay, the author of “Managing Up, How to Move Up, Win at Work and Succeed With Any Type of Boss,” gave these examples of three types of bad bosses.

  • There’s the “ghost boss” who rarely communicates with you and never seems to be around.
  • The “seagull boss” swoops in and makes a mess of things or takes projects away from you.
  • Then there’s the simple “incompetent” boss. Think Dunder Mifflin’s Michael Scott on “The Office.”

Abbajay says many bad bosses are a combination of all three.

If you think your boss is bad, it may be an illusion based on your false perception or mis-interpretation of her actions. Abbajay says whenever we see behavior in someone that isn’t what we want, we tend to make up a story about why. For example, you might assume your ghost boss doesn’t care about you, but she just might be really busy. Or better yet, she trusts you to do your job.


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