The Most Ridiculous Things Bad Bosses Have Ever Done

August 12, 2016

Three-out-of-four workers report that their boss is the most stressful part of their job, and bad bosses cost companies $360 billion each year in lost productivity, according to Inc.

Those stats suggest there are a lot of bad bosses out there, and there are a lot of people with bad boss stories. But what stories are the most ridiculous?

Well, we were curious, so we found news sites from around the world that asked their readers to submit some of the craziest real-life things bad bosses have done. From there, we compiled the best of the best.

So, sit back, enjoy your coffee, and – if you have a bad boss yourself – realize you’re not alone.

1.    The boss who believed in standing meetings

From the Washingtonian:

“He made anyone late to a meeting stand in the corner for the entire time, and he had others who said anything particularly ‘stupid’ stand on their chair or the table.”

2.    The boss who prioritized time management

From the Washingtonian:

“A guy at my old company used to make his employees ask before they could use the restroom—and he would time them. If they were gone longer than five minutes, he would add the time up at the end of the week and make them use vacation time.”

3.    The boss who believed in zero-based budgeting

From The Guardian

“He asked me to Photoshop out the watermark on the free samples of his daughter’s high-school graduation photos.”

4.    The boss who stressed organization

From The Guardian

“I had a manager who sent subordinates to buy her a bag of gummy bears and—before bringing them to her—had them sort out certain colors.”

5.    The boss who believed in positive reinforcement for all

From The Guardian

“As an intern at a newspaper, one of the journalists used to send me to buy flowers for his wife and mistress – along with love notes to them both – taking care not to mix them up, of course.”

6.    The boss who believed in delegating

From The Guardian

“Once, my boss was on a business trip to San Francisco. Our office is in New York. She called me from the hotel room and told me to call the front desk to order her breakfast from room service.”

7.    The boss who believed in delegating, part two

From The Guardian

“My boss decided once that for a team-bonding experience, we should design, print, laminate and then cut out invitations, menus and party bits – all to promote a huge family BBQ, which none of us were actually invited to.”

8.    The boss who loved to double-check

From The Patriot-News Reader

“I had a boss who tried to fire a retired employee. She had told him that he could not retire because there was too much work to be done, but he retired anyway. When she found out, she was heard throughout the office screaming into the speakerphone at the personnel director that she wanted to fire the employee. The personnel director chuckled as he told her that she could not fire an employee who had already quit.”

9.    The motivational boss

From CBS News

“Last week my boss discovered the motivational quote ‘Only in the dictionary does SUCCESS come before WORK’. He ordered a large banner for our work area with an ‘improved’ version of the quote. The banner reads: ‘Only in the dictionary does SUCCESS come before HARD WORK’."

10. The boss who didn’t prepare his preparation

From CBS News

“My boss heard there was an opening for a plant manager in our South American facility. To better prepare himself, he decided to attend Spanish classes on the company's time and at their expense. The only problem? The plant is in Brazil, where they speak Portuguese.”

11. The boss who believed there’s no I in team

From CBS News

“I'm a web page designer for a university. I was called by a prominent organization that we belong to and told that I had won first place for a design. The prize was going to be given to me at a banquet in California. Immediately, I told my boss that I wanted to go and accept the award. Without offering congratulations, he said that the budget was tight and that the university couldn't afford to send me. The following week, my boss went to accept the award for me. After seeing the award, he discovered that my name was engraved on it. He made the committee re-issue the plaque, blank. Now, my award hangs in his office.”

There are a ton of bad bosses out there. Learn how to break the cycle by downloading our free ebook on developing great leaders from within, so something one of your bosses does doesn’t wind up on this list.