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Stanley Bing

How to deal with your crazy boss

Fortune's Stanley Bing shares his take on the five types of crazy bosses, and some strategies for dealing with one, from "Crazy Bosses" (Harper Collins).

Neville Chamberlain: Appeasing Hitler produced "peace in our time" followed by world war, winning this weenie the #1 Wimp of All Time Award.
The wimp
  • Default emotion: anxiety.
  • A soul laboring under the continuous feeling of being inadequate and overwhelmed by incoming demands for action, decision, ideation.
  • Intensely rigid, finding comfort for conviction of not being up to the job in procedure, process, and bureaucracy; exceedingly timid, scared of own shadow; impossible to make clear decisions or communicate them.
  • Prone to be overly impressed by idiotic fads that sweep certain cultures now and then; vast consumer of cheesy business books.
  • Huge generator of paper and forms, which stay on his or her desk for weeks awaiting action.
  • Schedules constant meetings and venues for creation of consensus that arrives and still takes no concrete steps.
  • Eater of credit; takes ideas and plans of others as his own the moment they appear acceptable, jettisons all responsibility or accountability for them the moment any controversy appears.
  • Nauseating capacity to focus on meaningless detail and sit at same table for hours without breaking for coffee or bodily functions.
  • Under fire, may morph into trembling paranoid hiding behind closed door; even when not paranoid, often prefers privacy of own office to company of others.
  • Contagion factor: 86. One enormous wimp at the top of an organization can produce a whole culture dependent on meaningless process. At the same time, may extrude one or more vicious dogsbodies who end up making all the decisions.
  • Level of difficulty: 23. A decisive subordinate can do quite well with a wimp; if, however, you are another wimp - 94.

Tell us about your crazy boss
Is your boss heading for a self-made disaster? Scared of his own shadow? Just plain weird? Share your insane workplace story.
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