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Boss from Hell: My terrible boss loves a good screaming tirade and once sobbed in front of everyone

I kept calm and carried on

I kept calm and carried on

Last month, we asked you to tell us about a boss-from-hell experience and many of you did just that. We’ve (anonymously) shared your horror stories. Here’s another dreadful tale for your mid week.

As a consultant to corporate firms undergoing growth and change, I have plenty of war stories when it comes to bad bosses. I don’t get annoyed; after all I’m here to address business problems.

My usual reaction is quiet amazement at how some people can rise to senior positions, despite obvious negative character traits, and how businesses achieve success even with these leadership eccentricities.

Here’s just one such story. I once supported a CFO of a newly-listed corporate in establishing the finance function. However, he quit just two weeks after I started work, and a month before the first quarterly reporting deadline.

With relevant CFO experience, I was asked by the managing director to fill in for the position, with the potential of taking on the role permanently if I was interested.

Screaming abuse

With only an inkling of the issues, I said I would need a day to assess and establish the overall financial position of the company and agree on targets. His response, however, was a screaming tirade – both personally and professionally directed at me – which the whole office was “treated” to.

I reacted calmly and asked: “Is this not a good time?”, but the question merely served to inflame the MD’s anger. A staff member observing the situation later said such antagonistic behaviour was not uncommon, but most employees reacted by being either submissive or confrontational.

I later learned the MD has a whole suite of other reactions to stressful situations. These include sobbing on his hands and knees in front of employees. Last I heard he has left the firm.

Comments (2)

  1. Oh dear! This sounds so familiar and I had a fair share of meeting such bosses during my 18-year career. The one question which is still puzzling me till now is exactly the same as yours …ie. how come these people can still rise and be in such senior positions when the HR or the management is fully aware of their eccentric and bullying behaviour. Shouldn’t there be alarm bells when there is a high staff attrition rate from the same department? Why do the HR or the management choose to turn a blind eye on the situation and allow the bullying to continue? I know it’s easier said than done but sometimes I felt that the HR or management should just remove the problem rather than letting it persist and allow the morale of the entire team to be affected. But then I guess this is just the sad reality of the majority of today’s working environment in SG!

  2. almost better story: had a boss that openly used steroids and threatened both employees and customers. he once chased someone down the street from the location he transfered in from. planet fitness, MA, is the best.

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