[[quoteright:320:[[WesternAnimation/{{Dilbert}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dilbert3.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:320:[-Stupid fruit! ...[[BestOutOfInfinity Best 3 out of 5]]?-] ]]

->''"Maybe you could tell me what is going on. And please, speak as you might to a young child. Or a golden retriever. It wasn't brains that brought me here, I assure you that."''
-->-- '''John Tuld''', ''Film/MarginCall''

While ThePeterPrinciple states that all managers are incompetent by definition, TheDilbertPrinciple claims that the most incompetent and irrational workers will be KickedUpstairs where they can no longer disturb the productive flow (at least in theory). This is the origin of the PointyHairedBoss.

IncompetenceInc is a likely place to find a PHB, but just about any organization with a large hierarchy will do. Occasionally he will be surrounded by ''very'' competent workers when ConservationOfCompetence is in effect.

Very often such a boss is not merely incompetent but [[BadBoss evil]]; the kind of guy who takes all the credit for his employees' success but blames them for his own failures. In these cases he can be ''more'' contemptible than the [[CorruptCorporateExecutive CEO]] whom he serves: while the CEO is only concerned with padding the bottom line (thereby keeping the company humming along), the Pointy-Haired Boss will sink to any depths to protect his job--a job little better than that of his subordinates, yet one they are completely unqualified for--and will cut the knees out from under employees to [[NeverMyFault make themselves look competent.]] On other occasions, they may have been competent and serious about their job at one point or another, but a combination of having to deal with a bunch of angry employees with (frequently unfounded) axes to grind and higher-ups who were around only to micromanage to hell and back and act as nuisances eventually drove them to stop giving a fuck altogether and be just barely competent enough to not attract the ire of the upper management.

Occasionally he'll also hold the title of BenevolentBoss as well if his incompetence is more towards the job than their people skills.

All too often this is TruthInTelevision. Compare with the military's GeneralFailure. Shares a lot of overlap with a CluelessBoss.

Though not unheard of, this trope [[JustForFun/IThoughtItMeant has nothing to do with actual]] [[ShonenHair pointy-haired]] [[BossBattle bosses]].



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* In ''Manga/MonthlyGirlsNozakiKun'', Nozaki's former supervising editor Maeno is one. He is [[ItsAllAboutMe more concerned with himself]] than with his job, and he doesn't seem to realize how much trouble he causes for everyone. Moreover, his incompetency caused several cases of embarrassing misprints (including TyopOnTheCover), and it was implied that he never actually read Nozaki's manuscript at all.

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* The {{trope namer|s}} comes from the original [[http://www.unitedmedia.com/comics/dilbert/the_characters/ Pointy-Haired Boss]] in the daily comic strip and former animated TV series ''ComicStrip/{{Dilbert}}'', seen above playing chess against a [[FundamentallyFunnyFruit pineapple]] -- and ''[[EpicFail losing]]''. (Count the captured pieces!)
** According to Scott Adams's 1996 book ''The Dilbert Principle'', the truly Pointy-Haired Boss is a reflection of the ''abandonment'' of the aforementioned Peter Principle. In the past, competent people were promoted until they reached a position just barely overreaching their talents; now, however, the ''absolutely'' incompetent are ''immediately'' KickedUpstairs -- where, kept out of contact with the customer base and daily work load, they will do the least harm.
** Adams draws just about ''every'' manager with pointy hair. A minimum of 99% of them are lesser reflections of the original. Interestingly the PHB was originally a unnamed balding manager who was more [[CharacterizationMarchesOn cruel than stupid]]. Then one day Adams accidentally drew the hair on the sides of his head slightly pointy and thought the resemblance to devil horns to be eerily appropriate. Then he started making him gradually more stupid while his hair kept getting pointier. And the rest is history. There's been the odd strip that actually ''sympathizes'' with the PHB and have him getting angry or frustrated for good reason. Presumably such instances come from the occasions when Adams solicits ideas from his readers, and a boss or manager was the one who got his attention.
** Most strips actually are reasonably sympathetic to the PHB, inasmuch as it's not ''his'' fault he's woefully incompetent. Catbert is more explicitly antagonistic; the PHB is just trying to be a manager and failing horribly at it. Then there's the CEO of the company - the guy who the Pointy-Haired Boss reports to - who's just as incompetent as he is, if not more so. In strips where the PHB has to deal with one of his engineers ''and'' people from other departments or companies he is often cast as the OnlySaneMan, since none of them have any social skills whatsoever.
** [[http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2006-10-06/ Of course, he manages to get some pretty good evil moments in too.]]
** [[http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2004-08-29/ And some useful moments as well.]]
** Adams himself, when running a restaurant, realized that he was becoming a PointyHairedBoss himself.
* W.A. Thornhump was a ''literal'' Pointy-Haired Boss in ''ComicStrip/BloomCounty'', and ''predated'' the boss from ''Dilbert'' by a decade. This was only reflected in his looks, though; he was evil, but not incompetent.
* ''ComicStrip/{{Retail}}'':
** Just about anybody at the level of store manager or higher is portrayed as a PHB, with Stuart being the most prominent.
** Following her promotion, Marla is trying to avoid becoming one, but upper management's demands (and [[TeachersPet Josh's]] insistence to [[YesMan follow corporate orders to the letter]]) are making it difficult.
* Ralph, Sally's original boss in ''ComicStrip/{{Sally Forth|Howard}}''.
* Rose Trellis (at least most of the time) in ''ComicStrip/OnTheFastrack''.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* Mr. Perkins, the evil head of the Bank of Evil ([[TakeThat formerly Lehman Bros]].) in ''WesternAnimation/DespicableMe'' certainly [[ShoutOut looks like]] the original (or [[WeaponBrown the unrated version of him]]) but he's actually scarily competent.
* King Malbert the FatIdiot from ''WesternAnimation/{{Igor}}''.
* [[SmallNameBigEgo Oscar's]] FatBastard boss, Sykes from ''WesternAnimation/SharkTale''.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* In ''Film/TheHeat'', Detective Mullins' boss is an incompetent and jaded version of this, and ends up as the ButtMonkey of Mullins constantly looking for his balls.

* Lt. [=LaGuerta=] in ''Literature/{{Dexter}}'' got her job on talent for political maneuvering, and is in way over her professional head, showing no apparent ability as a detective. Her behavior toward subordinates could also qualify as harassment in some cases (such as her nowhere-near-subtle sexual overtures toward Dexter). This was introduced in the [[Series/{{Dexter}} TV adaptation]] as well, but was gradually dropped over the first season and disappeared completely by the middle of the second, along with her infatuation with Dexter.
* Many of the Network Supervisors of the ''BastardOperatorFromHell'' series certainly are this, but it's semi-justifiable in that a position with such a high turnover rate probably doesn't particularly attract the employment agencies.
* Several of the officers in ''{{Sharpe}}''.
* [[HistoricalDomainCharacter Vice-Chancellor Nesselrode]] is portrayed as this in ''TheDeathOfTheVazirMukhtar''.
* Hamnpork, leader of the Clan in ''Discworld/TheAmazingMauriceAndHisEducatedRodents'', may have been competent as top rat before they became "educated". Once the rats become sentient, he's too old to make the adjustment to thinking and becomes a bit of a figurehead, nudged into doing whatever Peaches or Darktan want him to. Played with, as he later shows just why he became leader of the Clan during a BadAss moment [[spoiler: in the Pit]].
* ''Discworld/NightWatch'' gives us two examples in the past version of the title organization. The first is Captain Tilden, a decent enough man who was a competent military leader, but is woefully unqualified to run a police organization. The (largely [[CorruptCop corrupt]]) Watch runs rings around him. Later on he is replaced with the future Lord Rust, a GeneralFailure who is a far more dangerous sort of stupid. Vimes winds up laying him out with a single punch and effectively taking command himself (which he was arguably doing anyway under Tilden).
** Many books involving Vimes have him involved with point haired bosses somehow, usually in the form of the Ankh-Morpork aristocracy or Military figures. He usually tends to tell them what they want to hear and ends up doing what he was going to do anyway by deliberately misinterpreting orders
* George O. Smith's first "Venus Equilateral" story has a particularly memorable example... or at least a particularly memorable screwup by a PHB. The guy arrives, starts screwing things up and annoying people, tensions run higher and higher until there are pointless fights almost constantly... then an engineer swears, runs up to the center of the rotating station to get his bearings, then runs to the air plant - then runs to scream out the PHB. Two days ealier, he'd gone poking about the workings of the station, and been confused by the air plant; he'd been expecting some manner of machine, but all he'd found was a big plot of sawgrass, '''''so he had some workmen clear it out...'''''
** For those of you wondering what the problem was. The plot of sawgrass was the air plant: it filtered and scrubbed the air simply by being sawgrass.
* ''ThePhantomOfTheOpera'': Deconstructed with Opera managers Richard and Moncharmin in the original book: Everybody knows they get their jobs [[ScrewTheRulesIHaveConnections thanks to their connections]], [[EvilIsPetty that they play petty politics with the singers instead of recognizing their true talent, and they solve any problem firing those employees involved…]] [[ScrewTheRulesIHaveConnections except those who can defend themselves]]. [[StealthInsult Nobody really respects them and they are accustomed to cruel pranks]], and that is the cause they never take seriously the Phantom’s menaces and think that Debienne and Poligny’s warnings are just a PracticalJoke… until the FallingChandelierOfDoom incident.
* ''[[Literature/VorkosiganSaga Falling Free]]:'' Bruce Van Atta: a former engineer, transferred to management where he would hopefully cause less damage. When Leo Graff sets off his plan to reconfigure the Quaddie's space station so that they can steal it, he tells Van Atta that he will be surprised by how much of the station, that Van Atta thinks is being decommissioned, can be "recycled." Van Atta insists that all of Leo's plans go through his office--so he can take Leo's name off them, and replace them with his own so he can take the credit.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* In ''Series/ThirtyRock'', Jack Donaghy is promoted to oversee the production of Liz's comedy show after having invented a microwave. He seems to be a competent businessman, but clearly has no understanding of comedy. Note that he acted more pointy-haired in earlier episodes. This had all but disappeared by the second season. All of his summer shows were great hits, chief among them ''MILF Island''.
-->'''Jack:''' I've been reading up on humor, I found this hilarious strip called ''ComicStrip/{{Dilbert}}'', and I want to know, can we do that?
* In ''Series/AreYouBeingServed'', much of the senior staff at Grace Brothers could fit this category. Mr. Rumbold is the most blatant example, but a recurring theme is that ''everyone'' in a position of authority at the store is incompetent in one way or another; Captain Peacock is a blowhard, Mrs. Slocombe is far too self-absorbed to be much help to anything [[DoubleEntendre except for her pussy]], Mr. Grainger is worn-out and well past the point when he should have retired, and Young Mr. Grace is virtually senile. Only [[TheBarnum Mr Humphries]] can handle additional responsibilities while escaping mostly unscathed.
* ''Series/TheBrittasEmpire'' revolves around one of these running a previously ordinary leisure center. Gordon Brittas can, through sheer tactlessness and incompetence, induce psychological breakdown in pretty much anyone who vists the center. He stops by groups of happy people to offer well-meant "words of encouragement" and they storm off crying. He insults visitors until they're willing to pull a gun over a dispute about a cup of coffee. He tries to settle a problem with an unruly child, and ends up getting the center attacked by a Roman Recreational Society complete with ''war-elephants''. His behavior did inspire many people to have the "I Spy Brittas" game where they have company outings to his center and score points every time they witness his various hand gestures and idiosyncratic tics and hear his various speeches. Bonus points if you get him to talk about ''The Dream''.
* Captain Brass comes off very much as an incompetent and biased boss in the first episode of ''Series/{{CSI}}'', but it may just be that his promotion put him in over his head -- when he is demoted to Homicide in the second episode, he becomes every bit the equal to the crime lab folks in professional competence. His demotion to a position of competence is actually a ''violation'' of ThePeterPrinciple; something that is even more rare in real life than it is in fictional entertainment.
* This is how Major Norton was portrayed in Creator/{{Disney}}'s ''UsefulNotes/DavyCrockett'' mini-series, though he may have just seemed this way against [[{{Badass}} Davy]].
* ISO Administrator Mike Goss in ''Series/DefyingGravity'' is shaping up to be this, grinding subordinates faces in their mistakes while refusing to admit to or back away from his own.
* The vacuous, hero-worshiping, management-speak spouting Gus in ''Series/DropTheDeadDonkey''. He would appear to be a living, breathing example of the Adams principle.
* Dougie in ''Series/{{Enlightened}}'' is a sort of example. While he is actually rather good at programming, his people-management skills are horrible, and he is pretty socially inept.
* The laughably incompetent Colonel Klink of ''Series/HogansHeroes''. It's been mentioned that he's from noble stock, so he most likely got the position through nepotism more than any real leadership ability. He confirms in one episode that his family pressured him into the military to get rid of him. However, he is also a career officer with decorations for bravery in UsefulNotes/WorldWarI; he used to be a pilot. It is almost certain he got promoted to his current position in an attempt to get rid of him, both as a bumbling fool and as a non-member of the Nazi party.
* ''Series/HomicideLifeOnTheStreet''
** Detective Gharty is incompetent both as a beat cop ''and'' as the head of IAD, but turns out to be proficient when he finally lands as a homicide detective. When he is finally re-promoted to head the homicide division in the finale movie, he loses some of his competence again, becoming a shill for the department brass. It is noted that he's not entirely incompetent in the role, but in Giardello has some pretty big shoes to fill -- and many of the other detectives note that "he ain't no Gee." Gharty is treated as a rather sympathetic case. While he is intelligent and capable, it has been shown on multiple occasions that he really isn't suited for the rough life of a Baltimore police officer and should have retired years ago (he has earned two citations for Bravery in the past). Gharty also seems painfully aware of how unsuited he is but still helps the main characters and tries to protect them from Gaffney.
** Averted cynically with Roger Gaffney. He is shown as an incompetent detective, especially when compared to the main characters and is rerouted to a dead end department, but sleazes his way to a high end position and gets the Captain's spot Gee had earned. Given the show's cynical view of the bosses, Gaffney fits in perfectly among men with even less moral standing than himself and who happily abuse power for their own ends.
* ''Series/TheITCrowd'':
** Denholm Reynholm is an AffablyEvil CEO who is fairly insane and rather terrifying to the IT staff due to his unpredictable and occasionally illogical behavior.
** Denholm's son Douglas, who succeeds him, is a would-be lothario and idiot ManChild. He once checks to see whether a gun is loaded by sticking it in his mouth and pulling the trigger. Because he has the hots for Jen, however, he's much more friendly with the IT department.
* In ''Series/MadeInCanada'', Pyramid Productions CEO Alan Roy has no idea how to properly run a film and television production company. His management style is based on reading (but not understanding) best-selling business books, and his ideas for how to "improve" the various films and television series made by Pyramid are universally inane and/or inappropriate (such as re-casting a fly-on-the-wall reality series with himself and two other Pyramid executives as the contestants (leading the series to be cancelled), or lightening the tone of a gritty detective series to such absurd levels that an episode about a murdered prostitute is re-written to focus on a lost kitten (leading ''that'' series to be cancelled)).
* ''Series/{{MASH}}''
** Lieutenant Colonel Henry Blake exhibited signs of this, as he was a good doctor but an almost criminally incompetent administrator (though not quite as dim as in [[{{Film/Mash}} the movie]]). Radar practically ran the unit, only requiring Blake to sign off on documents. One time he got Blake to sign ''blank'' pieces of paper even as Blake railed about not knowing what he's signing. That said, Blake was never malicious and generally did try to do the right thing even if he didn't know exactly ''how'' to do it.
** The few times [[{{Jerkass}} Frank]] [[TheNeidermeyer Burns]] was put in charge, he was literally a criminally incompetent leader (as well as a doctor, but that's another trope there), bordering on BadBoss turf.
** Hawkeye himself, while regarded as the best surgeon, did not do well when put in charge of the unit. Anytime that situation presented itself, his friends would have reactions in the realm of "Oh God, NOOOOO!" That said, Hawkeye was perfectly aware that he had no talent for leadership and tried to refuse command.
** ''Any'' commanding officer other than [[AFatherToHisMen Colonel Potter]] usually got portrayed this way.
* A ''Series/MrShow'' sketch about downsizing features a boss (played by Creator/TomKenny) who ends up firing many of his employees in order to boost profits . . . then notices he's the only one sitting at the table. Realizing he's the only one left, he [[GoMadFromTheIsolation goes mad from the isolation]] until his assistant brings him back to earth. He thanks her [[spoiler:then fires her]].
* ''Series/TheOffice'':
** Michael Scott is a classic illustration of ThePeterPrinciple: he was (and is) a genuinely superb salesman, which got him promoted to the post of Regional Manager -- a job he is absolutely unqualified for. Though he can be selfish and petty, his employees are generally competent and sometimes back him when it's important enough. His evil tendencies fade over time, but his general inability to manage remains. His branch is always one of the top performers within the company.
** Andy Bernard is (along with Pam) the weakest paper salesman, but he gets promoted to regional manager. He terminates a major account on a technicality and the office works better during the three months he's not there.
* ''Series/TheOfficeUK'': David Brent also seems to have some sales skills, but is a terrible boss. He's extremely self-centered and spends most of his energy trying to get his employees to think he's cool rather than manage the office properly. WordOfGod responded to criticisms that Brent would never reach a management position with a retort that a brief look around any kind of corporate-style organization ([[BitingTheHandHumor including]] Creator/TheBBC) would reveal that major positions were being filled by people who were even ''worse'' than Brent.
* Major Neuheim of ''Series/PrivateSchulz'' is pretty much what Colonel Klink would be like if he was a die-hard Nazi.
* Captain Frank Hollister of ''Series/RedDwarf'' is revealed to have only reached his rank through blackmail (from the lowly position of Doughnut Boy no less), implying that he is possibly even less qualified than Rimmer or Lister (though clearly cleverer and/or more ambitious).
** Rimmer manages to be this despite only being in charge of one person (or in the case of the books, the most unimportant group of workers on ship).
* The Television version of ''Series/StuffYouShouldKnow'' features Steve, a rare female example. She keeps order in the office by fostering paranoia among the other staff, and switches show priorities based on her daily whims and complete misreading of social trends. She's somewhat of a more effective manager than others on the list, but that could be because the rest of the office is just as crazy as she is.
* ''Series/TheWire'' has several outstanding examples, both in city government and the Baltimore Police Department, with almost all authority figures fitting in somewhere between CorruptCorporateExecutive and Pointy Haired Boss. The running theme throughout the show is that all organizations are fundamentally crippled by management acting to get themselves promoted rather than succeed at their mission.
* Arthur "Big Guy" Carlson, of ''Series/WKRPInCincinnati''.
** Carlson's mother put him in charge of her station specifically [[SpringtimeForHitler so it would lose money and be used as a tax write-off for her corporation]]. When the new program director changed the format and the station started to make money, she wanted him fired.
** "As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."

* The "bankers in charge" in DoctorSteel's "Lament for a Toy Factory."

* Commander, later Commodore, Povey from ''Radio/TheNavyLark''. It certainly didn't help that ''HMS Troutbridge'' was crewed by the biggest screw-ups in the Royal Navy, but many of the messes Povey found himself in were entirely of his own making.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* Many {{RPG}}s with diversified point-buy systems have characters suffering from PHB syndrome, especially if rank is among the characteristics to be bought. You can create a character that uses 95 of their 100 points on their traits and 5 on (e.g. military, noble or clerical) rank ''or'' you can use 80 points on traits and 20 on rank. Guess which character will be more competent...
* ''TabletopGame/{{Paranoia}}'' has the CPU services. While every service has a few of these (read: everyone in it above the Troubleshooters' clearance, plus everyone at the Troubleshooters' clearance, plus the T-Shooters), only CPU will deliberately promote them.
* The ''TabletopGame/{{BrikWars}}'' rulebook 2005 and 2010 has a picture of a pointy haired minifig holding a piston to illustate half-minds. Curiously, he was illustrating the ''cleverer'' mind, the other minifig was holding the pistol to his face.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Jeanne Frasoric, the head of the Bruma Mages Guild in ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion''
* Department of Death Boss Don Copal in ''VideoGame/GrimFandango'' might not have any actual hair, but if he did, it'd be pointy.
* Cave Johnson from ''VideoGame/{{Portal 2}}'' combines this trope with MadScientist for a CrazyAwesome blend of gross fiscal mismanagement, InhumanResources, and revolutionary super-science wasted because he can't figure out what it might be actually good for (e.g. marketing gel that bounces with 100% elasticity as a dietary supplement).
* Toothpick from ''VideoGame/SlyCooperThievesInTime''. Although he's the resident ManChild, he is also [[BadBoss cruel to his own employees]]. He also [[{{Expy}} the game's version of]] [=CutMan=].EXE from Anime/MegaManNTWarrior.
* Nobles in ''VideoGame/DwarfFortress'' tend to be like this. For instance, nobles will periodically ban and unban the export of their favorite types of materials (like iron). So, if the noble has recently unbanned the export of iron, you might take the chance to sell some iron items to a caravan... only to have the noble re-ban iron ''after the caravan has packed up and is heading off'', but before they disappear off the edge of your settlement. Once that caravan disappears off the edge of your settlement, whoever helped export the iron will be punished.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* The Magic School's Headmaster in ''Webcomic/{{Furmentation}}''.
* Lord Stanley the Tool from ''Webcomic/{{Erfworld}}''. He is not only is a PointyHairedBoss, he's a ''BadBoss'' who threatens to kill Parson for simply noting that Stanley is [[TheNapoleon short]], and an EvilOverlord. And to top it all off? He believes that he is ''holy'', and on a MissionFromGod (though in his defense, there's a good chance that he ''is''). However, this may fall under the "promoted beyond his capabilities" aspect of the trope, as he's a pretty savvy tactician and capable warrior.
** Although, as the story progresses he seems to be going through CharacterDevelopment to be less of a BadBoss, as he actually is putting effort into trying to be nicer to his subordinates, and he has shown several moments of competence, such as negotiating an alliance with the Juggle Elf tribe all on his own.
* The head developer of ''Clichequest'', the satirically stereotypical MMORPG that ''Webcomic/TheNoob'' is set in and around, is an idiot, {{Jerkass}} and SmallNameBigEgo to boot.
* Mike in ''Webcomic/BetweenFailures'' is self-aware and trying not to be one of these, but his management training was inadequate to prepare him for the job, and those in charge of him have fobbed him off on one of the least important branch stores rather than trying to help him.
* Dr. Phage in ''Webcomic/AwfulHospital'', though it's not so much a case of idiocy as it is a case of being [[CloudCuckoolander insanely weird]] even by the hospital's standards, along with a bad, bad case of BlueAndOrangeMorality. His thought process is so darned alien he looks like an utter moron.
* George Fennec of ''Webcomic/KevinAndKell'' is owner of Hare-Link, but only got that position because his daughter, the former owner, wanted to avoid a potential conflict of interest situation when her mother wanted her to promote her new stepfather. He makes hardly any useful decisions for the business except for once filling in for Kevin as a representative for a deal with Carrot Computers, and tends to be quite distracting. When he passes out after it dawns on him that his pregnant rabbit wife will likely have a litter of babies rather than just one[[note]]It really is just one, though[[/note]], Kevin notes that they can finally get some work done.
** George is actually a benign example. His ex-wife was emotionally blackmailing their daughter into firing her boyfriend's father and promoting her step-father, and Fionna did not want, so that George offered her a way-out. And he seldom makes business decisions because he trusts Kevin to run the company with as little interference as possible, since Kevin had been the company founding and owner for the longest time.
* Horns, the ''Webcomic/WeaponBrown'' version of Dilbert's PHB is decidedly not like the original. For starters we're introduced to him as he's [[spoiler: ''[[KlingonPromotion murdering Mr. Dithers]]'' to take charge of The Syndicate]]. Then again [[spoiler: he forces the MadScientist version of Dilbert to rush CAL-v1.N and HOBS' awakening and ignores "Dilbert's" warnings that the two are unstable and uncontrollable]].
* Mullet Boss from ''Webcomic/BasicInstructions'' fits this trope to a T
* Dr. Breign from ''Webcomic/TheSnailFactory'' is the quintessential incompetent boss.
* Commander Alvin Theodora from ''Webcomic/DemonFist'' fits this perfectly, although he got his position by {{nepotism}} rather than being KickedUpstairs. Idiot? Check. [[KnowNothingKnowItAll Doesn't realize it]]? Check. [[NiceToTheWaiter Rude and dismissive to subordinates]]? Check. {{Narcissist}}? ''Double check''.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''WebVideo/ShinyObjectsVideos'': The boss in "Magiconomy" is perfectly willing to banish his employees to the nether dimensions for making suggestions he doesn't like.
* [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbqC7nHDEOU Damn You, Recession]] from ''Those Aren't Muskets''. The boss decides to cut costs. Later on, it's obvious his "methods" are just ideas to act out certain fantasies of his. The employees don't see how his ideas would work and call him out on it.
* ''WebVideo/MrDeity'' is often treated as this to the CelestialBureaucracy and the universe itself. He tends to [[GodIsInept rely on needlessly complicated and not at all thought-through plans]] and [[JerkassGods knowingly allows all kinds of awful things into his creations even when there's no real reason to]].
* In ''WebVideo/TheGreatWar'', host Indy Neidell explicitly compares General [[WorldWarOne Conrad von Hötzendorf]] to the original PHB from Dilbert. Despite having a controversial reputation among military historians, the series emphasises von Hötzendorf's tendencies as a GeneralRipper who was at least partly responsible for the war breaking out in the first place, and expresses bafflement that he is still considered by some to be a military genius.
* ''Roleplay/DinoAttackRPG'' has Elite Agent French Fries, who made several incredibly poor choices that had disastrous consequences. Of note are his decision to expose the previously top secret campaign in Antarctica (at first seeming like a good idea, only to accidentally cause massive riots and escalate the already mounting tension between the idealist and realist sides of the team into a whole new level of violence). Later on he attempted to perform a court martial against George and Rotor with conflicting charges, implement a "brilliant" idea that involved everyone walking very slowly toward a horde of mutant dinosaurs, and finally got beaten up by several different people for his trouble.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* The ''WesternAnimation/{{Dilbert}}'' TV series. See the Comics Strips section for more on ''ComicStrip/{{Dilbert}}'' in general. The TV incarnation of the Boss focuses more on him being a {{Cloudcuckoolander}} rather than a flat-out MeanBoss.
* Mr. Larrity from ''WesternAnimation/CodeMonkeys'' outdoes perhaps even the {{trope namer|s}}; the man has no clue how to run a video game company (other than knowing that Games = $$$), generally treats his staff like crap, displays unapologetic [[StayInTheKitchen sexism]], has been known to do such outrageous things as bet Gameavision on a ''clearly'' bad Poker hand (that includes cards ''[[WhatAnIdiot not even found in a standard deck of cards, like a blue Uno Reverse]]'')... one could go on forever and not even ''scratch'' the surface.
* Principal Pixiefrog from ''WesternAnimation/MyGymPartnersAMonkey'' is hampered by his perpetual fear of lawsuits and his difficulties getting students and staff alike to take him seriously.
* The AnimatedAdaptation of ''WesternAnimation/TakAndThePowerOfJuju'' had the Chief of Tak's village.
* ''WesternAnimation/CatDog'': Rancid Rabbit.
* Major Monogram from ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'' drifts into this sometime. While most cases Doofenshmirtz is usually doing something to warrant sending Perry to stop him. There are a few instances where Doofenshmirtz is usually taking an off day such as going on a blind date, meeting an old teacher, going to a convention, ''actually being sick'', etc., but Monogram doesn't really bother to look into these case and send Perry to "stop him" anyway.\\\
Then again, even in those occasions, Doofenshmirtz was doing something that should be stopped. In the blind date, Doof had developed a device to deprive people of their emotions if his date failed; to impress the "old teacher", he tried to blow up the moon; the convention was for evil scientists so, there was a reason to think someone (even if it wasn't Doofenshmirtz) would do something Perry should stop; when he got run over by an ice cream truck, he tried to hit the truck with a giant tire. Even when Major Monogram sent Perry to Doofenshmirtz because Doof was picking up empty bottles for recycling, it turned out it was for some plot ("It's green ''and'' evil! I call it 'greevil'!").
** On top of that, it's sometimes implied that Perry is OWCA's best agent, while Doofenshmirtz is their least serious threat.
** Doofenshmirtz himself proves to be this for Doofenshmirtz Evil Incorporated (both [[MadScientistsBeautifulDaughter his daughter]] and his MinionWithAnFInEvil proved to be more competent than him).
* Zapp Brannigan from ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'', a celebrated space captain who couldn't fly his way out of a meteor shower. He puts all the work on his assistant Kif and takes any credit he can. His strategies for any threat are usually AttackAttackAttack, sending hundreds of RedShirts to their demise while he sits back and does nothing. The only reason he hasn't gotten himself offed [[note]]other than that one time, [[StatusQuoIsGod but you know]][[/note]] because circumstances usually prevent it from happening and at best he walks away with a few bruises.
** Fry became a literal one of these when... [[NoNameGiven That '80s Guy]] bought out Planet Express and promoted Fry to the position of Vice Chairman simply on the fact that they were both from the '80s.
* Pops from ''WesternAnimation/RegularShow'' is this. He's the boss at the park, but he's incompetent, childish, clueless, and very naive. However, unlike most examples of this trope, he's a BenevolentBoss. He's an incredibly sweet man, and always has a kind word for everyone. Everyone at the park really likes him, even though he's an oddball. Benson is the opposite, frequently threatening to fire Mordecai and Rigby over unfair or mundane reasons.
* Heavily lampshaded with Randy Marsh in the ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' episode, "A Nightmare on Facetime".
* Lucius Heinous VII from ''WesternAnimation/JimmyTwoShoes'' combines this with the ManChild and CardCarryingVillain tropes.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Archer}}'':
** Mallory, Archer's boss/mom, whose mind tends to fly on missions and who sometimes becomes an emotional wreck.
** Happens to the KGB as well in season 3. Not that Major Jakov was especially competent, but he is eventually replaced by [[spoiler:Barry Dylan, a former ODIN agent rebuilt as a cyborg]]. Which might be fine, as [[spoiler:Barry]] was good at his job, but becoming a cyborg seems to have exaggerated his BunnyEarsLawyer tendencies into full blown insanity. He has since been replaced by [[spoiler:Katya Kasanova]] (also a cyborg and former agent), and it remains to be seen how competent she is.
* Nester from ''WesternAnimation/ScaredySquirrel'' is the manager of [[BadJobWorseUniform The Stash n' Hord]], but doesn't even know how to run the place right.
* Mr. Wilter from ''WesternAnimation/ChalkZone'' is a teacher of a SuckySchool, but he's [[TooDumbToLive that stupid to teach a school]].
* Robin on WesternAnimation/TeenTitansGo is literally ''and'' figuratively a PointyHairedBoss.
* Pumpers from ''WesternAnimation/{{Breadwinners}}'' due to [[FakeUltimateHero thinking as himsef as]] TheAce and for having a [[SmallNameBigEgo massive ego]].
* Stan Pines in ''WesternAnimation/GravityFalls'', a shady grifter and cheap skate who runs a tourist trap called the MYSTERY (S)HACK, and uses every trick in the book to make a quick buck, Dipper even marks him as mediocre boss. However Stan has a very [[DarkAndTroubledPast deep and dark past]] which explains how and why he got to be who he is.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheBatman'' has GCPD Chief Angel Rojas in its first two seasons. The man is incompetent, a glory hog, petty, an UngratefulBastard, and refuses to learn from his mistakes. He couldn't solve some of the Riddler's easiest riddles. On a couple of occasions, he's trying to take credit for Batman's work. He's a BadBoss, openly belittling detective Ethan Bennett in front of his other subordinates just because Bennett supported Batman; this, along with the Joker's MindRape, drove Bennett to become the show's first Clayface. Even after Batman saved Rojas from Clayface and later Mr. Freeze and Firefly, he's still a jackass to him and when he learns Bennett's partner, Ellen Yin, was in an alliance with Batman, he fired her and used her as a hostage to get Batman to come to him, so he could capture him. Karma then bit him in the ass in [[Recap/TheBatmanS2E13NightAndTheCity the episode he pulled that last stunt]], as the TropeNamer for TheCommissionerGordon had just debuted and became Commissioner, ergo outranking Rojas, and proceed to both end Rojas's manhunt for Batman and force Rojas to release and reinstate Yin.
* Mary Gibbons from ''WesternAnimation/TheMightyB'' is a sadist of the [[SuckySchool Honey Bee Academy]] but doesn't even know how to run a school properly.
* Professor Pamplemoose from ''WesternAnimation/{{Sidekick}}'' is stupid and thinks he knows how to run a school right.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* The inversion of the US military expression "[[TheChainOfHarm shit rolls downhill]]", is sometimes an inversion of the meaning, but usually "sometimes shit rolls uphill" refers to a commander who shouldn't be one.
* Many a ButtMonkey sports team earns this status due to executives that seemingly make one bad decision after another -- be it the owner, that usually only gets out in case of bankruptcy, or the general manager, who in some cases still manage to keep their jobs for a long time.