Human Resources News & Insights

Is this guy the toughest boss ever?

HR managers are often the shoulder to cry on or the person to “just listen” when employees are having a tough time with their bosses. But who listens to disgruntled employees when the boss is a U.S. Congressman?

U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner, a Democrat who represents parts of Brooklyn and Queens, NY, has a reputation as one of the toughest members of Congress to work for.

“I push people hard,” Weiner admitted in an interview with The New York Times.

Take this example: John Graff worked as a scheduler for Weiner. One day the congressman was on a routine conference call but became convinced that Graff hadn’t provided him with a crucial piece of information.

Graff was in the next room and suddenly heard Weiner yelling at him through the wall. Then, according to Graff, Weiner started pounding his fists on his desk, kicked a chair and unleashed a string of expletives.

Two weeks later, Graff resigned after a short stint working for Weiner.

The Times reports that Weiner has had more turnover of employees in his office than any other member of the New York U.S. House delegation in the last six years. About half of the congressman’s staff has been on board for less than a year. Since 2007 he’s had three chiefs of staff.

Why did the newspaper go to all the trouble to dig up this information about Weiner? Because he’s a top candidate for mayor of New York City next year.

The paper concludes Weiner’s actions as a boss of 20 or so employees in his congressional office offer clues about how he might handle New York’s 300,000 municipal workers.

Blame it on Brooklyn

Weiner’s toughness isn’t limited to occasional rants.

He’s also a technology fiend who requires little sleep and rarely takes a day off. He routinely instant messages his employees on weekends, often with one-word codes: “Teeth” means your answer reminds me of pulling teeth. “Weeds” means you’re too much in the weeds.

Even in normal conversation, Weiner speaks at a high decibel level.

Weiner blames his brusque nature on his New York roots. “When you grow up in Brooklyn, you know, sometimes arguing is the sport,” he said.

The congressman attributes the high turnover on his staff in part to the high expectations he sets for his employees.

Some former employees, including Graff, who left Weiner’s employment still have good things to say about him.

But some on the outside who have to deal with Weiner’s office say the turnover has created an air of instability.

And his constant texting has irked some. During a panel discussion on the middle class earlier this year, Weiner worked on his BlackBerry nonstop while the session was in progress.

“The clock is always ticking,” Weiner explained.

Do you have stories about difficult bosses? Let us know about them in the comments box below.

Print Friendly

Subscribe Today

Get the latest and greatest Human Resources news and insights delivered to your inbox.


  1. Several years ago I accepted a job with an organization that outwardly appeared reasonably well run. In short order I determined that the CEO intentionally created an atmosphere of chaos for chaos-sake. I detected that he had some attention challenges himself so the only way he could “even the playing field” between himself and his staff was by creating mass confusion. I was ultimately able to convince him to stay out of the day-to-day so we could save the organization. He was a disaster to work with and had a brutal temper; he was the type of executive that always had to have someone in the “penalty box” (just for fun).

  2. Mary Martin says:

    Tough Boss?

    No, not tough, just a monster. He uses the excuse that he “demands alot of people” to abuse them in sadistic ways. A real leaders makes people WANT to work hard for them. Real LEADERS CARRY their weight, they don’t “throw it around”.

    Anthony Weiner sounds like a “weiner” alright. Just a scared little tyrant who abuses his authority. I’ve worked for plenty of bosses just like him, unfortunately there are more creeps in positions of leadership than there are great bosses who have compassion and respect for those who work for them.

  3. I’ll skip the obvious pun on this jerk’s name. For more than 37 years I have worked in human resources, much of it as a manager in a government agency. I have defended employers and advocated for employees. I have dealt with ego-centric, insensitive individuals like Weiner and its interesting how they often defend their behavior with cliches and try to shift responsibility elsewhere, in his case he blames Brooklyn. As Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do.” He may not see it but the rest of us see him for what he is.

  4. What I would like to know is, what can be done about that kind of behavior from of a person on that level. It sounds to me like the reason this keeps happening is the behavior is never addressed. I am very passionate about people. I believe in taking care of people’s needs, making sure they are doing okay physically, mentally, financially, and most important, spiritually. We are Human Beings first. I am so fed up with people being mistreated and abused. These people have families to go home to and should not be stressed out about their jobs. I refused to be tormented and in fear. Walking around on eggshells, afraid to make a mistake. This is no way to live and certainly no way for anyone to treat someone. Just because someone has power, that does not make them right. I am reading this book called (Integrity at Work, Finding Your Ethical Compass in a Post-Enron World) I recommend that people get this book and read it. There are some very helpful ways of dealing with that type of behavior. You can’t keep running, you have to stop and fight at some point. We get so caught up in our material things and money, we allow ourselves to be treated this way and end selling our dignity, self respect and our values. You have to train people how to treat you. Our well being is very important. These types of behaviors need to be addressed. Quitting the job does not solve the problem, becasue you take it with you. Remember, the way leave a place is the way you enter a place.

  5. B D Smith says:

    I teach others about the productivity gains from developing a positive work environment. This egotistical, blame-throwing, arrogant jerk may never learn, but sooner or later he WILL pay.

  6. Jerry, you “hit the nail on the head”! The quote from Aristotle says it all.

  7. I have worked with someone similar. He is at the same level as myself but the staff repeatedly come to be about his behavior and decisions. I used to get in heated arguments with him in regards to his behavior but it never helped. We are to coexist and manage together but he makes everyones job more difficult including mine.

    I have resorted to just quoting company policy in regards to any wrong decision he would make and inform the staff to follow company policy regardless of what he decides. They then have myself and the policy to back up any recourse. This has worked.

    When I see he is out of control, I attempt to ask him privately what really is bothering him. Most of the time it is the pressure of the job itself. I find our boss also having difficulty with him also but there is nothing we can do about not employing him due to the company structure.

    I am sure someday I would also leave this company due to him but currently I stay for myself.

  8. The admin assitant had been counseled by the VP in regards to her attendance and poor performance. She came into work one day even though she was feeling ill. She came down to the HR Office to vent after the VP was screaming at her through the bathroom door while she was on her knees throwing up.

  9. Who does the HR Director turn to when the abusive boss is the COO and CEO? After a year and a half counseling employees who had suffered the public humiliation, the mis-representations, the arrogance, and bullying behavior of three senior executives, I no longer counseled them on how to appropriately respond as professional grown-ups to these playground bullies, but instead helped them find new positions out of the company. One department alone experienced a 100% turnover in the 18 months I was the HR Director. The turn-over rate in this company is constant and yet these childish execs believe employees leave because they “just can’t make the cut.” I finally counseled myself into a new job, too. And, guess what? The company is failing because it cannot keep talent. And my own career and mental health are definitely on the upswing. When will bullying bosses ever learn that it is not in the best interest of their company to mistreat their “most valuable asset?” It has to be more than a public relations statement in the employee handbook.

  10. The Controller of a non-profit agency was so paranoid that she used to follow staff members to the ladies’ room and throw open the door quickly in an effort to catch them talking about her. She would also peer into the crack in the stall doors to ensure that her employees were in the bathroom. It turned out that she was right to be paranoid. She was stealing from the agency was was dismissed. on the day of her dismissal, all of the employees in the building including those who did not report to her cheered.

  11. So much of the time, executives who are like this man are rewarded rather than reprimanded because they supposedly “get results.” But what I have seen is that they are master manipulators when it comes to making themselves look good and making others look bad. They twist facts, blame others, take credit when it isn’t due them and back-stab themselves higher and higher up the ladder. I am weary with dealing with the fall-out and with getting hurt by them myself. But until their behavior is no longer rewarded, I’m afraid people like this will continue to prosper at the expense of others.

  12. These types of managers always expect much more of others than they do themselves. Makes one wonder how these people come to power. I once had a boss who demanded respect through tactics of fear and intimidation. Threatening that “you may soon be without a job.” If ever a project was running behind and the staff kindly asked of her help or input she would reply “I wasn’t hired to push a pencil!” and “I don’t care if you have to work 24 hours 7 days a week, my job is to oversee that the work gets done!” Granted a manager’s job is to delegate work and effectively manage his or her staff, but her idea of managing was pointing out everything that everybody was doing wrong. She also made herself very scarce during the busiest times of the year, i.e., out sick, on vacation, sabbatical, and other personal appointments, and yet she was very well paid. For what? She never “rolled up her sleeves.” Finally after the most talented of the staff left her employment, she was terminated from her position. The company was otherwise a great place to work, but this one person made it a miserable experience. My advice, if you are a manager, please treat your staff with diplomacy and respect, set good examples for you them to follow, and if you don’t care what your staff thinks of you because it has no bearing, then it is time for you to change your attitude, or you may find yourself without a job.

  13. U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner, a Democrat who represents parts of Brooklyn and Queens, NY.

    What I would like to know is, what can be done about that kind of behavior from of a person on that level.

    Well he is an elected official and as long as people in his district are dumb enough to keep voting him in they get what they deserve.

    If you notice, except for the ultra big wigs in companies, jerky managers and their bad behavior eventually get themselves canned………after many people have suffered.

  14. It got so bad that one manager (10 years) was sent to therapy after he admitted that all he thought about was taking a gun to the VP’s head on his drive to work. The really sad part is that when the company sent him to the company therapist, the therapist told the manager that he knew the VP and his behavior and suggested that he find a new job. The VP is also co-owner so not really anything can do about it but suffer or leave.

  15. Anthony Weiner sounds like a jerk, not just a bad boss but obviously not getting the results he could achieve if he was competent as a manager, which he isn’t or he wouldn’t be creating the high employee turnover. If subordinates don’t stay long enough to gain experience to become competent in their jobs, then Anthony Weiner isn’t getting what he could from them. He’s in government work so his incompetence as a manager isn’t apparent because the bar is so low. Managers like him put private industry firms out of business if they don’t get rid of him.

  16. Being “tough” and being “abusive” are two different things. People generally respect someone who has been “tough” on them. Likewise, people generally fear people who have been abusive to them. Based on the descriptions in this artical I’d have to say that this man’s behavior is not “tough”, it’s abusive and it doesn’t matter whether the “abuser” is the President of the US or just an ordinary person or whether he/she inflicts the abuse at work, at home or out in the world, abusive behavior is not acceptable… PERIOD.

  17. “Master manipulator” describes one of my previous supervisors to a “t”. This woman took over for our previous CEO and came in with a bang! At her first all staff meeting with all employees present, the first words out of her mouth were “I will only be here two years to clean this place up”. What an impression to all the staff………
    At her first Director’s meeting, she chewed cream cheese and bagels with her mouth open and spoke while eating saying “the company will no longer supply food for meetings” as she proceeded to eat more than her share.

    There were many instances of verbal abuse with this woman but the final straw for me was when she stood outside my office door (all my employees were in offices around me) and in a loud, raised voice, told me to fire two of my employees. She called them by name. When I tried to get her to come inside my office and shut the door, she wouldn’t. I asked her later on what grounds she wanted these two employees dismissed, she said “just do what HR does however you have to do it”

    I gave a month’s notice and moved on. Within that year, 3/4 of the company turned over……..she stayed there over 5 years, not the 2 she promised!!!!

  18. and afterthought………….has anyone seen the movie “The Devil Wears Prada”? Great movie and sums up this article!

  19. Weiner is a power abuser to the extreme, like so many who are in power. The question for New Yorkers is how can his behavior be exposed to the voters before they make their decision on who will be mayor? I hope this report and blog can be made public knowledge or his opponent can expose his behavior during the election.

Speak Your Mind