9 Most Common Types of Bosses And The Ways To Manage Them

Being competent is a desirable trait but not enough to get you to the top. Understanding your bosses is another (even more) crucial part for your career success. It’s important for you to recognize the kind of boss you have and figure out the best way to build beneficial relationship.

Here are the 9 most common boss types:

1. The Climber

Climbers are all about getting themselves promoted. They are only interested in you when you can help or affect their way to the top. They are good at organizational politics. They never have colleagues; only competitors. They spend endless time and effort figuring out how to win status, claim credit, and build alliances.

Facing climbers, you must be clear in your own mind that loyalty is simply not part of the relationship. If you make them look bad in any occasions, your time will be quite difficult afterwards. If you're working for a climber, do what you can to make him look great and most importantly be the one who support his back when his competitors are trying to stab him.

2. The Civil Servant

Civil servants believe that their position and importance lies in an ability to make everything run by the book. They are resistant to change because they see the current situation (which is the one that put them in power) as the best of all possible worlds. They love meetings especially those that review and discuss the activities of others.

Civil servant enjoys living in “large corporations” but not working in small firms because the lack of a crowd makes it too obvious that they aren't really doing very much. They are predictable and easy to please. Document everything in detail and limit all your activities to what's been done in the past, even if it no longer works.

Warning: Your creativity may not work with civil servants.

3. The Old-fashioned

These bosses have been around since the old days and they have no idea what’s actually going on in the world. Those who are close to retirement are often quite easy-going; those who continue to work because they can't afford to retire can be very mean. Working for old-fashioned trains your patience as you need to listen to the same “war stories” multiple times. They are however very good at office politics. Old-fashioned are mostly looking for two things: respect from the young generations, and reassurance that they're still relevant. They make great mentors, because they tend to be generous with their advice and time.

4. The New Stars

New stars here means those barely-out-of-college bosses who are assigned to manage a group of experienced employees. New Stars are energetic, enthusiastic but secretly afraid that nobody is taking them seriously.

Because that insecurity is so huge, follow two essential rules when working for New Stars: (1) respond positively to the energy they bring to their job; and (2) never, ever remind them of their relative inexperience. Be prepared for the time wasted in repairing problems created by new stars’ inexperience. You may want to consider finding work elsewhere if you cannot tolerate New Stars’ learning curve.

5. The Social Director

Social directors see management as a community-building process. They consider the personal interactions that happen in the workplace as important as (and sometimes more important than) the actual work itself.

Social directors always try to manage by consensus. They call a LOT of meetings and spend a LOT of time letting people air their opinions and ideas. Working for a social director requires you to constantly build alliances and gather supporters. If you want a decision to be made, you'll need to get everybody on the team to back it publicly.

A word of warning: when it comes to handling their own emotions, social directors can be pressure cookers. They either let off steam through a series of hissy fits, or they suddenly explode. If it's the latter, try to be elsewhere when it happens.

6. The Sales Star

Selling is part of every job, and every boss should be able to sell his or her ideas up and down the management chain. The problem with this type of boss is that selling is the only thing he or she does well. These bosses are usually created when top sales professionals are promoted into management.

Sales star bosses tend to be self-motivated, aggressive and good at building relationships, understanding needs, and generating workable solutions. That's because they're salespeople.

Therefore, the way to deal with sales stars is to encourage them to sell! Bring them into situations where a deal must be closed, or terms negotiated. They'd really rather be getting their hands dirty (as it were) than managing people anyway.

7. The Dictator

This is the classic "It's my way or the highway" boss. While most people find this management style annoying,  working for a dictator has some advantages. They make decisions quickly and efficiently, without over-analyzing everything.

Another advantage of working for a dictator is knowing exactly where you stand. Why should your boss bother to stab you in the back when it's more convenient to stab you in the front? Unfortunately, dictators tend to mute the outside opinions and furious when it comes to change.

The tricks to working for a dictator are (1) follow orders, (2) follow orders, and (3) be ready to jump to another job when you see the dictator driving your company (or your division) over the cliff.

8. The Lost Lamb

Sometimes people who have no management talent end up in a position of authority. This generally happens when a manager leaves suddenly and top management needs somebody to hold the fort while it finds a replacement. Lost lambs have no idea what to do other than continue whatever policies and strategies were previously in place. They know they're placeholders and dread doing anything that will be held against them once they're pushed back into the ranks.

What these bosses want is for you to move your projects forward without bringing ANY difficult decisions to them. They are, however, easily convinced to make minor decisions in your favor simply to keep you happy.

The biggest danger with a lost lamb is that if you end up making the lamb too successful, top management may conclude that the temporary assignment should be permanent, and you'll be carried with the dead weight of the lost lamb for the foreseeable future.

9. The Hero

There are indeed men and women in this world whose personalities and characters make them well suited to manage other people. They're the "natural leaders," but they're as rare as diamonds in deserts.

Heroes prefer to coach others than to do things themselves. They have abilities to figure out exactly what their employees need in order to do a superlative job and then how to get that for them. Heroes always give their teams credit for the wins but take personal responsibility for the losses. They believe that "the buck stops here" not that "shit rolls downhill."

There are two problems with working for a hero. The first is that the hero will probably get promoted or be recruited to work elsewhere. The second is that once you've worked for a hero, it ruins your ability to work for the typical stupid.

Credited to: James, Geoffrey. "The 12 Bosses You'll Find in Every Workplace." Inc.com. Inc., 11 Apr. 2016. Web. 09 May 2017.