Slacker to Psycho: What Type of Boss Do You Have?

Find out how to cope with treacherous management personalities

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Managers come in all shapes, sizes and personalities. Being able to choose your supervisor is like being able to choose family members— impossible. Figure out what type of boss you have and how to deal:

The Monster: Whether your boss is a nit-picker, a micro-manager or just a complete psycho, it’s conclusive that you have the worst type of the boss. This person may be a controlling egomaniac who always seems to be on your case. The monster manager may come into your office or cube at any time, going ham for no reason or may fault you for the tiniest things.

How to Deal: Unless you switch jobs, you’re in for the long haul. It’s important to still show respect to your boss and your job, but don’t be too afraid to stand up for yourself by having a conversation with them about their behavior. If behavior is overly abusive, it may be best to find ways to avoid one-on-one interactions with your boss, maybe by corresponding mostly via e-mail or through an assistant. If all else fails, it’s time to look for another position within the company or another job altogether.

The Crowd Favorite: This is the complete opposite of the monster boss. While we know that no boss is perfect, this type is fun, supportive, capable and inspiring. They will give you all the tools that you need to succeed and will always follow up, and they are usually a pleasure to work with. They know how to make the tough decisions, but can do it in a way that is respectful and professional for all involved.

How to Deal: Try not to brag too much and take advantage of this situation. Stay on point and don’t forget that though this person is so awesome and might even seem like a friend, they’re still your boss. Be sure to draw clear lines based on company culture and professional ethics. Keep an open relationship with the fun boss and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Be sure to keep in touch with them even when you move on from the company. Hey, it’s great to work with awesome people throughout your career.

The Slacker: The slacker boss is defined by laziness, disarray and empty promises. They will wait until the last minute to get a project done and then cry to you (or yell at you) for help when an approaching deadline looms. The slacker boss will promise raises and promotion but fails to report to upper management on how well you’re actually performing. After the initial meeting, you may think that the slacker is soft-hearted and easy to get along with when the truth is that they may be spineless. They will tell you exactly what you want to hear, then turn around and do the exact opposite. He or she will leave you hanging out to dry and will be anything but supportive.

How to Deal: Share your concerns with the slacker. Be up front and honest with him or her. If your manager still fails to show support, it may be time to talk with higher management. Also, it’s a good idea to keep a record of what you do and your accomplishment in the event you have to defend yourself or fight for your own promotion or raise to the higher ups.

The Overachiever: The overachieving boss is the person who is consumed with taking their job and duties to the next level and expects the team to do the same. This is great until you get a work email at 9pm or when a day doesn’t pass without your director interrupting your lunch for project updates. Nine to five? Vacation time? Those don’t exist in their world. To overachievers, their job is essentially their life and they feel that it should be the same for you too.

How to Deal: Continue to go hard on your work flow but don’t drive yourself crazy. During your work week, give your manager status reports daily or even hourly if that’s what it takes. Eventually you will gain his or her trust that you can do this job well, but still need time to recharge. Also, if the after-work emails and calls are becoming too much, have a candid conversation about your work ethic and set boundaries if possible.

Ideally, you must strive to adapt to your manager’s leadership style, while still getting the guidance and support you need to be productive and successful.

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