The Grey Chronicles


What Type of Boss Are You?

How to Work for an Idiot: Survive & Thrive Without Killing Your BossI started reading Dr. John Hoover“ a self-help book on How to Work for an Idiot (2004), yesterday but in the introductory chapters alone, I was already hooked. The narrative was spiced with humorous anecdotes and advice, influenced by his motivational speeches and books on leadership, creativity, and organizational performance, a constant theme emerged: “Your success when working with difficult peers and difficult people in positions of power all comes down to attitude—yours.”

Thus, instead of summarizing the whole book, as I usually have previously done for all the other books I’ve recently read, I wanted to share the wealth of information offered by Dr. Hoover. In Chapter 2: Will the Real Idiot Please Stand Up?, Dr. Hoover classified the world of bosses into eight sub-categories. The following is the summary of their respective attributes and the manner of dealing with them.

Good Bosses

b_goodGood Bosses lead the way they like to be led, treat others like in the same manner how they like to be treated. They share information “in a thorough, timely manner that it makes people feel included, respected, and acknowledged for their ability to contribute.” They are receptive to feedback. They are fair: “applying the rules fairly, equally, and without regard for workplace political alliances, or the power they yield.” Good bosses beget good employees, and the reverse is also true: Good employees tend to make Good Bosses

God Bosses

God BossesThey think they’re God. and believe they transcend cluelessness. They want to be treated as one—a God, worthy of praises, not arguments. They don“t want to get disappointed, thus don’t argue. They do not wield that much real power, thus they overcompensate for a tremendous lack of confidence. They are about power, usually because power hides incompetence.

Dr. Hoover suggests:

  1. Use your imagination. It pays to consider what will please him and deliver. Trying to subvert or compete with a God Boss will invariably leave you the loser.
  2. Address your God Boss as he wants to be addressed. Resistance will only cost you peace of mind and whatever influence over your working conditions you hope to achieve.
  3. Follow his rules. Even if his rules conflict with company policies, find the middle ground and present him with the illusion that you are doing things his way.
  4. Lose the battles and win the war. Your goal is to create a pleasant and rewarding working environment to the best of your ability. Battling a more powerful foe over the little stuff will leave you unhappy and resentful.
  5. Offer him sacrifices. Seriously. It might cost you less than you think. Even offering his silly little things, but God Bosses firmly believe that, if you’re not for them, you’re against them. When your God Boss is angry, find something or someone to sacrifice on his desk.
  6. Ask forward forgiveness. By saying things like, “If it’s okay with you…” or “Would you mind if…?” What your God Boss will hear is, “You have the power to grant…” and “It’s your will that matters most around here.”
  7. Acknowledge his presence. They don’t think of themselves as invisible. Don’t ever make the mistake of ignoring him.

I have excluded most of the funny anecdotes but only highlighted the attributes. If you want to read, then laugh at the funny scenarios described by Dr. Hoover, you definitely want a copy of the book for yourself. You could buy one from Amazon or read it on-line (note: a previous edition) at Google Books.


Hoover, John (2004). How to Work for an Idiot: Survive & Thrive Without Killing Your Boss. Franklin Lakes, NJ: Career Press, 2004. xx, pp 38-59. back to text

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