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About Our Book

The aim of our book is to create awareness - which bad boss traits do I have? - and action - what actions do I need to take? - to help ALL bosses be great!

Here's what one reader said about the book:

"It's a book to keep close to hand during a life long leadership development journey. And if you work in an office, you can leave it on your desk for everyone to see as a great conversation starter!"

There are two sections to the book - the first explains the 10 Types of Bad Bosses, and the second explains the Great Boss Building Block Model.


Click on the buttons below to take you to more details on these sections.

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Garry Ridge, Chairman Emeritus WD-40 Company & The Culture Coach

"A must-read for those who are brave enough to look in the mirror, providing practical 'learning moments' and actionable tools that will help you be a better leader."

The 10 Types of Bad Bosses

When we think of bad bosses we conjure up images of cartoon characters with steam coming out of their ears, or holding a megaphone and screaming at their poor defenseless employees. And while these stereotypical bad bosses do exist, the reality is that many other types and traits exist in the real workplace, far beyond the caricature we see in cartoons or Hollywood.

In our book, we explore 10 types of bad bosses, reflecting the traits that exist in many bosses in the workplace (and possibly in you). Below we've provided high level definitions for each, but in the book we also share:

  • Traps - The traps that many of us fall into that lead us to these actions and behaviors. This will help you understand and acknowledge where you are now so that moving forward you can step away from these traps. 

  • Consequences – The issues and problems that can occur as a consequence of the bad boss traits and behaviors. 

  • Things a Great Boss Ponders – Things for you to mull over to help you think through and reflect on what has just been shared, and get you ready to take action towards being a great boss!

Definitions of Bad Bosses

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Doesn't show up for their people, ghosting them, and not giving them the time, attention, and feedback they need to do their job and feel valued. 

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Doesn’t listen to what their people say. They ignore input, ideas, and perspectives from their people, thus missing out on what they have to say, and making their people feel undervalued.

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Keeps information to themselves, or shares it in ways that don't really help the people they're supposed to be helping.

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Doesn’t show their people recognition, gratitude, or appreciation, making them feel unvalued, invisible, and unappreciated for their actions and contributions.

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Withholds the truth to avoid causing discomfort to others, aiming to please by giving responses they believe are wanted. However, this approach fails to provide the honest communication that others need and deserve.

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Prevents or gets in the way of their people’s development and career progression, blocking them from achieving their goals, mastering new skills, or contributing to the company’s success.

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Deals with situations in a reactive and urgent manner, moving people from fire to fire with no apparent strategy, impacting their ability to plan, learn, grow, and achieve more meaningful and long-term achievements.

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Overly involved in their people’s work, constantly controlling and prescribing what and how work is done.

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Assigns responsibility to someone(s) for a fault or wrong, casting blame and refusing to take any accountability themselves.

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Uses power in order to bully, control, and coerce processes and outcomes, expecting strict compliance and offering their people a low degree of autonomy.

The Great Boss Building Block Model

So what do you need to do to be a great boss? What actions can you take? To help with this, in our book we share our Great Boss Building Block Model™. It’s something we developed based on our own individual journeys as a boss (great, good, and bad!), and in working with and supporting others throughout our careers. The model has 14 different elements, or what we’re calling “building blocks.”


There are two types of blocks - the six on the bottom, which we call the “foundation” blocks, and the eight on the top, which we call the “connecting” blocks. 

Each individual building block strengthens the structures you need to develop and maintain strong relationships with your people – ones where they’re engaged, motivated, productive, and able to be their best selves. Together, the blocks you choose will build resilient and lasting structures that can withstand the challenges and tests of time (and people).

The Great Boss Building Block Model™

Definitions for each Building Block


You hear and decode what your people say and suggest, showing that you value their input and contributions.


You help your people create the best approach and plan for them to develop their abilities, learn new skills and achieve their goals.


You believe in the value of your people, recognizing their abilities and contributions, and treating them with dignity and courtesy. 


You understand what your people feel and need based on their individual and diverse situations, challenges and frustrations.


You share information with your people openly, honestly, transparently and continuously.


You support and facilitate actions and activities to help your people learn, grow, discover and explore solutions to help them achieve their goals. 


You believe that your people will do the right thing, having confidence in their honesty, integrity, and reliability.


You take action to encourage and support your people through understanding and empathizing with their individual and diverse needs.


You provide information to your people on how they’ve behaved and performed to help them grow, learn and improve.


You give your people the freedom, power, control, and space to take ownership of their work.


You determine and display to your people who you are, what you believe in, and your true self.


You show your people that you recognize, acknowledge, value and appreciate their efforts, accomplishments and contributions.


You motivate your people by driving them towards a common purpose to achieve milestones and overcome obstacles and challenges.


You reveal to your people the full spectrum of your true self, including your emotions, struggles, and imperfections.

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