One person who can make or break your motivation to go to work every day is your ‘Boss’. Getting on the right foot with your boss is critical for your career as well as your well-being. During your career, you are likely to encounter different types of bosses who exhibit disparate leadership styles. Actively disengaged workers (those who hate their job, boss, co-workers, or all of these things) are 2X more likely to be diagnosed with depression. Considering this, it is crucial that you get to know the different types of bosses to work well with them.

Here are the five types of bosses you are likely to encounter during the course of your career and tips on how best to work with them in the company culture:

1. visionaries

Think Amazon’s Jeff Bezos or Tesla’s Elon Musk. They can not only predict what’s going to be hot in future, but also make ambitious plans to get there. Visionary bosses are innovative, experimental, and have a strong pulse on the market and consumer behavior. Such bosses typically look for employees who are quick to take initiative, are self-driven enough to create their own growth path. More often than not, they would want you to come up with plans to achieve your self-development goals, and based on that, give you the needed support.

how to work with visionary bosses?  

Be a good listener, demonstrate enthusiasm, and don’t be afraid to take risks. You can make mistakes but learn from them.  Visionary bosses will appreciate you more for your risk-taking approach - rather than fail-safe approach. It is best to go to them with bigger business decisions than smaller day-to-day issues. The key to working with them is to understand their vision and be resourceful in helping your team and the organization work towards it.

2. micro managers

Micro managers are hands-on. They like being kept abreast of all the nitty-gritties of daily work. According to a recent survey by Leadership IQ, 41% of leaders who micro manage are on a power trip of their own, often commanding juniors and refusing to accept ‘no’. You might even hear such a manager say, “if I have to explain everything, I’d rather do it myself”. Working with such managers is tricky as they would expect you to share their burden - without allowing you to work completely independently.

how to work with micro managers?

Be honest and convey your thoughts on being so closely monitored. At the same time, proactively lay out your plans and ideas ahead of time – before your manager asks for it. You could also share instances where a more hands-off approach could have better helped you and your team. Such conversations are tricky, but they must be made in a mature, non-confrontational manner in order for you to have a healthy working environment.

3. coaches

They motivate employees to perform to the best of their abilities, set realistic goals, and offer support and guidance along the way. Coaches might often ask if you are doing things a certain way or check upon the progress of a task. They might also initially come across as micro managers, but they are mostly proactive about letting their people grow. However, being a coach isn’t something that comes easy to managers.  According to a recent SHRM-Globoforce Employee Recognition Survey, 93% of managers need training on coaching employees.


how to work with coaches?

Be open about your fears, lack of skills, motivation, or need for training. Actively participate in goal setting and heed your bosses’ advice as you go about achieving the goals. Do not be afraid to own your mistakes. Such bosses  welcome questions and appreciate a ‘help-seeking’ approach.

4. collaborators

Collaborative managers value team relationships and seek interactions to drive new ideas, execute projects, and build a culture of caring and sharing. They are empathetic team players who appreciate cooperation and commitment. Given today’s volatile business environments, 75% of companies rate teamwork and collaboration as a ‘very important’ leadership quality. It is often more exciting to work with such managers as they are likely to balance their involvement with yours in a given task. They are least likely to act as your superior and  enjoy treating people equally in the team.

how to work with collaborators?

Always be ready to work with and for the team by giving your honest opinion in meetings and brainstorming sessions. Be assured that your opinion will be welcomed, so make sure you contribute. Such bosses often come across as more friendly and open, so you may want to build a personal rapport beyond your work.  

5. competition seekers

Competitive situations excite these bosses and they play to win. Athletic personality traits such as love for speed, discipline, goal-chasing, and aggression define them. You might see these bosses leading teams in corporate matches or betting on challenges. They set the pace for work with aggressive goals and are not afraid to work long hours to get the best outcomes. But this can be good - 59% of successful leaders say that the ability to ‘provide goals and objectives with guidelines and directions to achieve those’ is one of the top 10 leadership qualities. Such managers are more likely to appreciate similar traits in their team members and would want to see your competitive side - both in and out of office.

how to work with competitive bosses?

Work hard and put your best foot forward in all projects and meetings. At the same time, don’t be afraid to ask for clarifications when needed or when you feel the targets are unrealistic and can negatively impact your work-life balance. You might want to make your personal work goals clear to show that you are focused and target driven.

Irrespective of your boss’ personality type, you must know what communication style works for both of you, and what you need to learn - to not just survive but thrive under their leadership. In the work culture, your boss-employee relationship doesn’t have to result in a win-win every time but getting the basics right will result in better outcomes for everyone involved.