Is your boss a TOT: Terrible Office Tyrant?


On the job, we have to deal with all sorts of personalities, and frankly, some people are more difficult to get along with than others. But what if your boss is a TOT (Terrible Office Tyrant)? How do you handle childish boss behavior and still thrive in your position?

TOT’s can exhibit a wide variety of childlike behaviors, according to Lynn Taylor, a nationally recognized workplace expert. Common TOT traits include tantrums, bullying, stubbornness, neediness, mood swings and short attention spans. While many employees simply endure the bad behavior of their bosses for fear of losing their jobs, Taylor says the key to handling these types of difficult personalities is “looking past the professional facade to the underlying childlike motives and instincts.”

So how does one “TOT-proof their office? Below are a few tips that Taylor addresses in her new book, Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant:

  • Set limits and boundaries to bad behavior
  • Be a role model: a positive, proactive problem-solver
  • Timing is everything; choose your moments strategically
  • Use humor, the great diffuser of tension
  • Let managers save face when decisions go bad

So, do you work for an office tyrant? Have you tried any techniques to improve your workplace relations?

12 comments Add your comment


July 15th, 2009
1:49 pm

Where the owner is the boss, good luck. Otherwise, having to endure tyrants says so much about the structure of our workplaces. America is supposedly a land where people can speak without suffering dire consequences. So much for theory. We should have workplace-based worker organizations (probably not unions) that have rights of consultation and some co-decision-making power. And definitely be free from firing for views expressed. With the means for voice, office tyrants would be dealt with. Sadly, we don’t have such. Northern Europe and Scandanavia do have.


July 15th, 2009
2:07 pm

Delta is ready when you are.


July 15th, 2009
2:18 pm

Try to work remotely as much as possible. Also read: “The No Assh**le Rule”


July 15th, 2009
2:22 pm

Having co-workers suck!!!!


July 15th, 2009
2:55 pm

Umm what’s the unemployment rate in Georgia again?>>> though so.. deal with it.


July 15th, 2009
2:56 pm

Awwww Tom! Are you from Fayco??????


July 15th, 2009
3:56 pm

Oh, God yes! Not to use thy name in vain. My boss is horrible. I see bipolar traits………>>>>


July 15th, 2009
4:33 pm

I love my boss!! He is so patient, kind, and laidback. Man I hope I never have to leave this job or my boss.

Jobless in Atlanta

July 15th, 2009
5:41 pm

My boss is the reason why I’m jobless! She’s quick to let people know that she’s a christian and active in the church! Several of my former co-workers were christians as well. (yeah, right!) These were the worst people I’ve ever encountered. Tyrants….in Jesus name!


August 26th, 2009
6:37 pm

My former boss, Bill LaMacchia, Jr. likes to treat his executive team with disrespect; using antagonization, fear, intimidation, screaming and hysterical rants to belittle and demean them. It is obvious that he leads a very shallow life, but that is no excuse for his treatment of people. He has been the worst boss, by far, and because of him I am much more wary as to the attitude and personality of the person I choose to work for.


December 20th, 2009
6:47 pm

In spite of all the pessimistic talk here, most “bad bosses” are not incorrigible. You CAN change your workplace situation with this approach – if I did (using her book), you can, too. Check Taylor’s YouTube video:


January 17th, 2010
12:02 am

I’m glad to see Lynn Taylor’s work being mentioned in the media. As a mid-level manager, I use her approach to “humanizing the workplace” quite successfully. Her book “Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant” is the best workplace relations help book I’ve read.