No matter how much you love your job, your happiness is inextricably tied to your relationship with your manager. If you have a dream boss, you can stop reading right now. If not, here are a few tips on how to get along with various types of bosses that can prove to be more frustrating.
The Silent Type
Workers with chatty bosses might long for a silent leader. But often, this type seems to think you’re a mind reader. The Silent Type provides little to no direction on projects and then becomes frustrated when you don’t deliver to his expectations. Perhaps it’s no surprise then that a Robert Half survey found the most common mistake companies make in managing their teams is inadequate communication.
How to deal: Every boss has his preferred method of communication, whether it’s email, in-person check-ins, phone, IM or sticky notes. Figure out your boss’s favorite way to interact, and then use it — but sparingly. Peppering silent types with constant questions and messages will only increase their distance. But initiating a regular checking-in routine with a method you know is comfortable for your boss can encourage him to provide you with the feedback you need.
These managers are extremely driven and have high standards, both of which are admirable qualities. But among all types of bosses, Perfectionists are the least likely to delegate, constantly second-guessing your decisions and, frustratingly, micromanaging every step of the way.
How to deal: There’s no quick solution to this one. Until a Perfectionist trusts you, you won’t be able to convince her to give you more control. The key is to anticipate your boss’s concerns and questions, and have your answers and solutions ready. Focus on doing the best work you can, and offer updates without waiting for your manager to ask. In time, a Perfectionist is likely to cut you more slack when she realizes you’re capable of doing your job to high standards.
Mr. or Ms. Moody
Different types of bosses mean different personalities. Unfortunately, this one is rarely in a good mood. Maybe he or she is overworked and stressed, or just consistently gets up on the wrong side of the bed. Either way, Mr. or Ms. Moody’s bad temper means that you have to deal with passive-aggressive or outright rude behavior. This leaves you walking on eggshells and going out of your way to avoid your manager.
How to deal: Fight the urge to treat Mr. or Ms. Moody in kind. Responding to a jab or snub with an equally nasty or passive-aggressive move will only cause tempers to flare. Besides, your reputation as a professional is on the line. But the old adage “kill them with kindness” isn’t ideal in this situation either; your sugary-sweet attitude will likely irritate your boss even more. And suffering in silence isn’t good for your work relationships or mental health. Instead, be calm but blunt, and address any rudeness in a straightforward manner. Pointing out uncivil or unprofessional behavior while maintaining your composure may help defuse your boss’s ill temper and encourage more appropriate interactions. If that fails, you may have to seek help from the human resources department.
This is one of the most challenging types of bosses to handle. Egotistical managers create a toxic workplace. They take pleasure in keeping workers “in their place” and resent other people’s successes and achievements.
How to deal: It may be tempting to try and bring your boss’s ego down a notch, but that often works better in movies than in real life. Instead, treat your manager with respect and remember that how she treats you is not an indication of your worth as an employee or a person. Short of trying to grin and bear it, there may be little you can do to change an Egoist’s behavior. If you’ve reached your breaking point, your best bet may be to consider a different job. There are a million types of bosses out there. But regardless of your manager’s quirks, keep in mind that you are not alone. Find support and get advice from other team members or members of your professional network. Just don’t fall prey to badmouthing or other unprofessional behavior. Together, you can help create a supportive, friendly atmosphere with your fellow employees despite your silent, perfectionist, moody or egotistical boss.
This article was brought to you by Robert Half International, the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm with a global network of more than 400 staffing and consulting locations worldwide.