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How to Be a Terrible Boss: A 13-Step Guide

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    Barnabas Piper
Do you want to be an epically bad boss? Do you want to grind employees into dust, crush their morale, and leave quaking dry husks of humanity in your wake? If so, then all you need to do is follow these 13 simple steps. You will be at the top of the heap with nobody around (because they all abandoned you months earlier). Here are the 13 steps it takes to be a truly horrible boss.

1) Expect things from your employees but don’t communicate them.

Your employees will work best when each day holds another mystery of what to prioritize, how to do their work, the best processes to utilize and who to work with. They love guessing due dates and what you really want to see happen. Keep them on their toes.

2) Be rigid in your expectations, even though you don’t communicate them.

Often your employees will miss your expectations, being that you kept them a secret. That is no excuse to be flexible! Be firm and dole out retribution for their failures with a heavy hand.

3) Delegate tasks, then micromanage them.

If you give an underling responsibility for a task, it still works best if you stop in every few hours to see how it’s going and tell him what you would do differently. He does not need autonomy or freedom. Plus you can’t trust employees to make the right decisions!

4) Remember, your ideas are always best.

Take input. Gather ideas from the staff. Make committees to solve issues. And then remember that whatever you thought all along is really the best idea. Only weak people change their positions on things.

5) Create different sets of rules and expectations for different employees.

All employees are equal in the eyes of the law, Human Resources and God, but that doesn’t mean you have to treat them that way. Playing favorites gives those who aren’t something to aspire to.

6) Never admit your mistakes.

You may not even be familiar with the concept of a “mistake.” It’s what employees make all the time that frustrates the ever-living fire out of you. But remember that they view you as somewhat of a demigod and you can’t spoil that by admitting to doing something wrong.

7) Your employees only need the occasional financial bonus to motivate them; nothing else matters.

You can buy morale. You can purchase team chemistry. All that bunk about office environment and worker happiness can be thrown out like your employees’ opinions.

8) See your employees as droids. They have no feelings and never need a mental or physical break.

The only reason you give vacation days is because HR says you have to in order to maintain a competitive hiring presence. But that doesn’t mean you have to approve your underlings using them. And don’t ever, ever send anyone home early because their work is done or they’re not feeling well. What kind of precedent are you trying to set?

9) You’re the boss; you don’t have to abide by the same rules and standards as everyone else.

Punctuality is only for those who don’t make the rules. Politeness is for the weak minded. And fire anyone who suggests anything about “emotional intelligence.”

10) Office doors are there to be closed. Keep yours that way.

Employees need an open door so you can pop in and check on them (if you’re so kind as to give them doors; we suggest cubicles). You, however, are too important for such interruptions. They have nothing to offer you but headaches and stress. So shut your door and keep them and their “ideas” at bay.

11) Evaluate your employees on the time they spend doing tasks, not the quality of work they produce.

The eight-hour workday is a good start, as long as you limit lunches to 30 minutes. Just keep an eye out for those over-achievers who flaunt their 60-hour work weeks and answer emails (usually with “reply all”) at 11 p.m. Those are the ones who deserve to be promoted. There really isn’t a better measurement for quality work out there than the clock.

12) Give your employees to-do lists, not vision of why they are working.

“Why?” they ask. Because it’s on the list of priorities you gave out. “How does this move us forward as a company?” they wonder. That’s not their concern. Their concern is punching in, doing stuff and punching out. Of course, it’s not really your concern either. You have a tee time to make.

13) Your motto must be “change is bad.”

Why would you do anything different? You are master of your dominion, keeper of the keys, Lord of the realm. You don’t need the stress of relevance and progress. That’s the kind of stuff that keeps bosses awake at night and causes ulcers.