You May Know One, You May Work For One or You May Be One: The Bosshole!

From the Urban Dictionary: an employer of a particularly evil nature, completely devoid of empathy or concern for anyone else, the deadly hybrid of boss and asshole.

In this enlightened time, when we speak fervently about leadership skills and innovation, it is improbable that bossholes still exist. We do know that this is not a genetic trait but learned. No MRI or research is going to find the gene or brain defect that causes it. There are substantial resources dedicated to describing it. Books, articles, definitions, shirts, hats, coffee cups, a website and even a game are in the works.

At the website there is a boss rating system.  The terminology includes the Great Boss, the Good Boss, the Partial Bosshole, the Bosshole, and the Complete Bosshole.   There may even be some Master Bossholes. There is even an online


Bosshole Quiz.  Everyone seems to agree on most of the characteristics that accompany the style. They include taking credit for your work, poor communication, misinformation, ignoring personal needs, self-importance, and being a workplace bully.  Oh yes, violence in the workplace includes bullying.  That is a whole different subject requiring several more paragraphs. Let’s leave it until another day.

In the book Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best and Learn From the Worst, Robert Sutton takes real-life examples to reveal what makes a good boss and what makes a “Bosshole”. He uses an example of the boss who thinks that the more time on the job, the better the employee.  There are many bosses who mistakenly think that putting in a lot of time is what makes a good employee. That really does not make sense. A happy, well balanced employee is good for business.

You can make a complete study of the characteristics of the common Bosshole, but if you work for one, you know it.  If you are one, you may not know it. So, you need to study and find methods to mend your ways. We need leaders and leadership.  Great leaders make things happen, good things. Great leaders generate great teams.  Great leaders are good for healthcare.


  • Marilyn Sackett, MEd, RT(R), FASRT

    Marilyn Sackett is passionate about mentoring and education. She has experience establishing and teaching at the colligate level, she was a Director of Imaging for a large healthcare system in the Texas Medical Center, and she led the charge to improve radiation protection and licensure in the state of Texas, to this day she holds license #1 for radiology in the state. A former Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award winner and a Fellow of the American Society of Radiologic Technologists, Marilyn is a pioneer in radiology education.

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