4 fictional Hollywood bosses not to learn from

Published: 19/09/2018

Continuing our theme from the previous blog which covered the idiotic David Brent, we'll take a look at bosses through some of our favourite Hollywood films. All of these bosses are mean, egotistical, and do things which are borderline illegal. But all of them have one key thing in common: they are bad at managing their people. Whether it be a volcano lair, a fashion magazine or even an imperial star destroyer, bosses in film are often portrayed in a negative light. Let’s take a look at some of our favourites:

Darth Vader (Star Wars)

Now we don’t know about you, but we think the idea of having Darth Vader as our line manager would give us sleepless nights. Any kind of failure will likely result in death as seen here. It can’t be any fun to be burnt to a crisp, as our dark lord was, but surely he should be cutting his underlings some slack. No one can be perfect all the time. Sometimes intergalactic domination can be tricky to accomplish. After all, there’s a lot of planets to get in line. Vader is definitely one angry guy, who seems to enjoy bullying those below him - but does it get the work done? Who knows, but as a business owner, you should probably realise that venting at an employee who hasn’t done a task right is probably not the correct approach. It will make you look a bit nuts and will no doubt scare your employee and make them perform worse. If someone is under performing or has failed a task, have a quiet and calm word. Darth Vader might have a great mask but his employee engagement is shocking.

Miranda Priestly (Devil Wears Prada)

Meryl Streep executed the role of Fashion Editor Miranda Priestly to perfection in 2006’s The Devil Wears Prada. She won’t kill you (not literally anyway) but she will make you feel like you want to fall into the ground. Miranda is an incredibly influential woman and consequently has the fashion industry fawning over her. But she uses her status to be over demanding and frequently makes her assistants lives hell with her ridiculously complex requests as you can watch and wince at here. As a business owner, you should have expectations for your employees to meet, this is the basis for a good working relationship. But you need to have reasonable demands that you think they can meet. Going over the top will leave your staff frustrated and overworked. You’ll probably be looking for their replacement when they can’t take anymore.

Dr Julia Harris, Bobby Pellitt and David Harken (Horrible Bosses)

Three horrible bosses who are the central figures of the film... Horrible Bosses. No list would be complete without this terrible triumvirate. These guys are bad, so bad that it leads to three of their respective employees hatching a plot to murder them. All of these employers are guilty of, well, the works really. Blackmail, bullying, sexual harassment, you name it, these horrible bosses are guilty of it. Now we assume 99% of bosses don’t conduct themselves this way. But if anyone is abusing their employees, the best thing we can say is stop. The chickens come home to roost sooner or later, so don’t take advantage of your position to be cruel.

Mark Zuckerberg

The real Mark Zuckerberg has not been having a good time of late, but the one portrayed in the film The Social Network is ruthlessness personified. Jesse Eisenberg as the Facebook founder is clever, calculated and ambitious. He has created a tool that will change the world and make billions. But he pulls no punches and removes his co founder and best friend, Eduardo Saverin from the business, whilst being pursued by the Winklevoss twins for intellectual property. Zuckerberg falls out with his best friend (unsurprisingly) and angers a lot of other people on the way to success. But is this an approach a business owner should take in order to be successful? Absolutely not. You can drive your business forward, grow and not treat people like dirt on your shoe. There is an assumption that to be successful, you have to be ruthless and to an extent that is true. Anyone who wants to grow a business needs to be willing to push hard for success. But that doesn’t mean you should be adopting dirty tactics to get what you want.

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