Context: a business manager who supports their team but refuses to enable them through innovations. I am looking for a noun that describes a particular type of person (male, female, or trans) by encompassing a set of opposing characteristics.

The marketing team was falling behind because their boss was:

— Too NICE to argue with

ENCOURAGING and positive

WELL-INTENTIONED but dumbly so.

IGNORANT of what the new technologies could provide

ANTI-INNOVATION simply because the learning curve made her feel uncomfortable and stupid.

IMMOVABLE because no one above her knew how things were playing out.

MYOPIC fits as well, as does small-minded

— a ROADBLOCK, which also fits since the boulder in the middle of the road did not mean to stop traffic.

I have searched multiple thesaurus sites, tried Googling a set of ten adjectives, and looked into slang and ethnic slang sites for possible pearls of language.

If this was just about one person I could get by with a paragraph, but it is about a rapidly increasing population of impedimentary managers slowing the rate of AI adaptation as we enter into the age of leveraging it for the sake of being more competitive.

Any help would be most appreciated.

  • 5
    Cordial but disagreeable--that's a tough one!
    – DjinTonic
    Commented Jun 7 at 11:18
  • You mention myopic; what's wrong with it? Or similar terms like short-sighted, or more general short-termist, or user405662's examples, also indicate people who're lacking in wider strategic vision.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Jun 7 at 13:18
  • 1
    I don't think there's a single term that encompasses the conflicting features of the boss.
    – Barmar
    Commented Jun 7 at 15:43
  • I agree with everything said, but still hold out hope. Perhaps we need a new slang term. Certain terms, some derogatory, are made up for the very purpose of defining what is otherwise unsaid. For example… Kevin, Karen, noodge, schmuck, etc. all hold a specific set of characteristics in one package of description. I’m hoping we can find one already in use. Myopic is part of it, but not a noun. A dinosaur is on point, but more forgivable (like a doty old man) than a responsible leader. Old fogey is also dismissive and ignores the failed responsibility to champion needed changes. Oy. Commented Jun 7 at 18:02
  • Terms like litter-bug, wedding crasher, party pooper, Debby Downer come to mind. They were made up to describe people of a specific nature. Maybe something like Techno-Mule? Or some derivation? Commented Jun 7 at 18:15

4 Answers 4


The boss is someone who never rocks the boat, which means they value calm and the status quo over all else. Someone who is willing to rock the boat accepts disruption, conflict, difference of opinion, and change as by-products of progress.

  • This is true and in a time of accelerated change the latter is more needed than the former. Commented Jun 9 at 10:10
  • While this is likely to make them ineffective, I don't see how it implies that they're inept.
    – Barmar
    Commented Jun 10 at 16:04
  • @Barmar, If change is badly needed, such a character is certainly inapt for a leadership role, and if they're unable to deal with disruption or difference of opinion, that is a form of ineptness in a managerial role.
    – TimR
    Commented Jun 10 at 16:22

The Dilbert comic strip popularized the stereotype of the pointy-haired boss:

an incompetent micromanager

(from Wiktionary)

The character is generally well-meaning, but clueless, so their ideas are usually bad.

The slang abbreviation "PHB" is commonly used to refer to them.

  • Not to sound too PC, but the controversies surrounding Dilbert's creator may have cast a shadow over references to it.
    – alphabet
    Commented Jun 8 at 1:02
  • @alphabet Sorry, but PHB seems like the best answer, and I don't think I can explain it without mentioning Dilbert.
    – Barmar
    Commented Jun 8 at 4:03

I think the word precluder is very, very close. I realize it’s not a proper OED word, but maybe it’s time.

Precluder n. One who precludes.

It’s not derogatory unless one sees it that way. Mostly, it is just a meh descriptor. Simple, plain, easy to understand.


  • But it doesn't carry the connotation of "cordiality." I doubt if one could come up with a word incorporating both these qualities.
    – user405662
    Commented Jun 8 at 9:41
  • If the business manager's views are dismissed in the end and the team moves on with their own thinking, you could consider throttlebottom: an innocuously inept and futile person in public office
    – user405662
    Commented Jun 8 at 9:48
  • I have never heard of throttlebottom. But it is an attention getter. Will look into it. Thanks. The cordiality or niceness of the boss is important because people are less likely to challenge a nice boss. This keeps them in place and the inertia continues. Hmmm. Commented Jun 9 at 10:15

Some who avoids the chaos and uncertainty that accompanies change when innovative ideas are explored - innovation metathesiophobic It is rather a mouthful though.

  • Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Commented Jun 8 at 15:33
  • Definitely a mouthful, but I would leave them very impressed by my ability to use it in a sentence. LOL Commented Jun 9 at 10:11

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