7 Leadership lessons from Pop Culture’s Worst Bosses

Warning: This piece has spoilers from tv presentations and flicks, together with The Office, The Devil Wears Prada, Succession, Severance, Working Girl, blackish, and Office Space.

Bad bosses. We’ve all had them. In reality, they’re so commonplace that they’re often characters within the motion pictures and tv presentations we experience. Their transgressions vary from frustrating annoyances to murderous intent, frequently with humorous, frightening, or another way compelling effects.

Thankfully, maximum folks don’t deal often with felonious habits within the place of job. But that doesn’t imply that unhealthy bosses don’t create their very own percentage of chaos. In a contemporary episode of The New Way We Work, Fast Company Deputy Editor Kate Davis and speaker and writer Diana Kander, host of The Growth League podcast, mentioned how some commonplace missteps and peccadilloes can undermine the paintings many of us do to toughen their management and control abilities. Common problems like micromanaging, withholding truthful comments, and failing to handle downside staff are behaviors of which many could also be in charge every now and then.

So, we concept we’d check out one of the most extra well known “bad boss” characters on tv and within the motion pictures to dissect their habits to look if there have been any takeaways. Turns out, management courses are all over the place. Here’s what one of the most worst display screen bosses can train us.

Michael Scott, The Office (NBC, 9 seasons)

Bad boss habits: Steve Carell performed the chief of fictional Scranton, Pennsylvania paper corporate Dunder Mifflin for seven seasons. Michael Scott was once needy and let his desperation for others’ approval, consideration, and affection pressure deficient choices and beside the point habits. This ranged from undermining staff’ alternatives for construction and development to—in in all probability his worst transfer—creating a reckless and false promise to pay for low-income scholars’ school educations. It is simplest when Scott learns to be extra assured in Carell’s ultimate season that he fulfills a few of his management doable.

The management lesson: People-pleasing clouds a supervisor’s talent to make the most productive choices, particularly after they could also be unpopular. And while you don’t put religion to your staff and keep true in your phrase, it’s onerous to domesticate some of the essential components of management: consider.

Miranda Priestly, The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

Bad boss habits: Rude, dismissive, and demoralizing, it’s onerous to consider why someone stays running for this fictional model mag editor-in-chief, performed by way of Meryl Streep. Employees are anticipated to be on-call and work-life steadiness doesn’t exist in her global. Despite her willpower and loyalty, Andrea Sachs (Anne Hathaway) ultimately walks clear of the coveted function when she will be able to’t abdomen Priestly’s habits towards dependable staff.

The management lesson: During Priestly’s extra inclined moments, it’s transparent that her habits is pushed by way of her personal unrelenting perfectionism and the scrutiny she endures. What she fails to be informed, then again, is that if you happen to don’t deal with your staff with recognize and provides them a measure of work-life steadiness, you’ll lose your very best skill.

Logan Roy, Succession (HBO, 3 Seasons)

Bad boss habits: The patriarch of the Roy circle of relatives, performed by way of Brian Cox, is dependable to nobody—no longer even the nearest participants of his personal circle of relatives, who’re heirs to the circle of relatives industry. He appears to be making ready his grownup kids to take over his media empire, however his backstabbing and cruelty know no bounds. His habits destroys his relationships and threatens the way forward for his corporate.

The management lesson: Mixing circle of relatives and industry may also be tough and calls for obviously outlined roles. (It additionally is helping if everybody concerned has even a touch useful ethical compass.)

Katharine Parker, Working Girl (1988)

Bad boss habits: Despite promising her assistant, Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith), that she is going to assist her climb the company ladder, Sigourney Weaver’s Parker as a substitute steals her just right concepts and tries to take credit score for them. When the deception is in spite of everything printed—because it so frequently is—Parker loses her activity, and McGill will get the potential of a life-time.

The management lesson: When you encompass your self with just right folks, acknowledge their concepts and achievements. Stealing concepts, mendacity, and taking credit score for others’ paintings will temporarily spoil a name.

Harmony Cobell, Severance (Apple TV+, 1 season)

Bad boss habits: At Lumon Corporation, staff who paintings at the corporate’s maximum delicate initiatives would possibly elect to go through the “severance” process, which blocks private recollections on the administrative center and paintings recollections at house. Cold and abrupt, Patricia Arquette performs Cobell, who oversees “severed” staff. But she additionally takes good thing about the reminiscence lapse to insert herself into the lifetime of worker Mark Scout (Adam Scott) as his neighbor and a lactation advisor to his sister. In a pivotal finale second, the worlds collide and threaten all of the corporate.

The management lesson: Professional limitations are essential, even in reputedly pleasant offices. Bonus lesson: mind surgical treatment as a task requirement is most probably a purple flag.

Bill Lumbergh, Office Space (1999)

Bad boss habits: Lumbergh, performed by way of Gary Cole, is without equal micromanager, sticking his nostril into the whole thing from how staff fill out paperwork to which administrative center provides they’re authorized to have. Instead of that specialize in results, Lumbergh assists in keeping his staff the place he can see them—even on their break day.

The management lesson: As Kander identified in The New Way We Work and a earlier piece for Fast Company, micromanaging destroys innovation, interest, and a want to transport the group ahead. “The bosses that don’t recognize how they get in their own way, are getting the smallest amount from employees,” she says.

Leslie Stevens, black-ish (ABC, 8 seasons)

Bad boss habits: Stevens, performed by way of Peter Mackenzie, is a spouse within the promoting company the place Andre Johnson (Anthony Anderson) works. He’s additionally a racist, even if he doesn’t see himself that manner. Stevens often drops microaggressions and biased remarks into his conversations. Johnson endures lots of the remarks and frequently responds with quips, however infrequently, the habits and feedback turn into an excessive amount of and lead to a few of the display’s maximum insightful, shifting, and provocative moments.

The management lesson: Racism and bias within the administrative center mirror their presence as a complete. Only when they’re known and faced can leaders hope to create in reality inclusive offices.

Perhaps the rationale that the “bad boss” trope is so commonplace in media is that staff climate such a lot deficient management habits. When we prevent to query why an over-the-top depiction is humorous or compelling, we would possibly finally end up finding out a factor or two about easy methods to be higher leaders in actual lifestyles.

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