Breakdown of Boss Types

If you're old enough to read this and care what it's about, you've likely had a boss at some point. They come in all sorts but here's a few of them you're likely to encounter. Some of them may be multiple types at once or may not fit in any of the below. Everyone's different and can't always be shoved into boxes.

  1. The Power Tripper

    This person loves being able to order people around. Whether they have actual or implied power, they want everything their own way and will yell, throw things, swear, threaten punishment, whatever they deem necessary to get what they want. They're like Eric Cartman from South Park with the whole "Respect my authoritah!" thing going on. They're going to be unreasonable so don't bother reasoning with these assholes.

    Best course of action if you have this kind of boss is to see if they have real or implied power. If it's only implied or they do something beyond the pale, then get evidence and take up their actions with the next level above them. If that person/corporate backs them or there is no other level, get the hell out of there! Regardless of the outcome, they will try to retaliate for undermining their "authoriah" but if the level above them agrees with you, they'll keep a close eye on them or get them out of there.

  2. The Jobsworth

    This person does everything by the book, no matter how long it takes to do it. The motivation might be "work to rule" or CYA in case something happens. You're getting 0 flexibility out of them unless the policies allow for it. They're not sticking their necks out for anybody.

    You may be able to live with this person assuming all goes smoothly. Their behavior is totally governed by the policies and procedures of where you work, so at least they're predictable to a fault. Any conflicts will get sorted out by the book, even if that does mean harsher punishment for those involved.

  3. The Future Retiree

    This person is burnt out and just coasting. They don't care about anything anymore aside from making it to their retirement date. As long as they hit their numbers and they don't get into trouble, you can probably do whatever so long as you don't do anything that they have to get on your case about. If they're going by the book at this point, it's not because they want to but because they have to.

    This is another person you can probably live with assuming all goes smoothly. They're going to be more flexible than The Jobsworth because they don't care anymore. However they're not going to cover for you if any of that flexibility breaks the rules. If any conflict happens and they have to do a bunch of work to resolve it, they'll be more irritated that you brought it to them than it having happened.

  4. The Snake

    This person is invested in climbing the corporate ladder by any means necessary. You'd best keep notes and CYA any time you're in their presence in order to not get stepped on. They have no reservations about making things up in order to make you look bad. You and your coworkers will be pushed to work like dogs if your output numbers are tied to their success.

    Either this person needs to be exposed and sacked for what they are or you should leave. That's the sort of boss that leaves you with mental scars.

  5. The Parent

    This person thinks they know better than you but they probably don't. They pretend to care but really don't. This kind of person will underestimate any failures and not really do much about it. Problem people fester because they don't have the heart to move/replace them. How you do is more to do with your relationship with them than your actual output.

    As above, keep your head down, smile and nod, and all will go well. Don't try to upset the apple cart. If you can't hack it much longer then find somewhere else to go. This person tends to stay around a while until a disaster forces them out.

  6. The New Business Major

    This person has no idea what to do outside the context of their books. The mechanics of the business outside of the numbers on the sheet are unknown to them. What's clear is that without explanation of how things really work, you're not going to get through to them. Their loyalties lie entirely with the company unless you can show how being flexible can be beneficial to their bottom line.

    You're going to need to convince them how helping you helps them or they're probably either going to become The Jobsworth, The Power Tripper, or The Snake. There's an outside chance that they'll become The Parent well down the road.

  7. The Micromanager

    This person doesn't entirely trust their employees. They'll double check their work, bug them for status updates, and generally be a pain. Maybe they'll get better over time, but a lot don't. If you can show the manager that they can trust you, they're less likely to get on your case, otherwise you might be better off finding somewhere else to go.

  8. The Predecessor

    This person probably does know better than you, at least up until about the last few years. They've been where you've been and is more likely to fight on your behalf against management when it's clear management is pushing things. They're more likely to jump in and help when the team is overburdened or lacking in knowledge if it's an area of their experience. However it does mean that they're more likely to sack people when they're messing up or lack critical skills in the position.

    This is one of your better managers. Be competent in areas you were hired for, get along with others, don't screw up too much, and you should be fine. You can be more honest with this type of manager than with the preceding types as long as you're speaking the truth. They're far more likely to see through any bullshit.

  9. The Facilitator

    This person isn't as skilled in your particular job but does try to have a general idea about everything that's going on. They're more likely to be upper management than your direct supervisor. They're not inclined to meddle unless something is up the creek. They'll pop in every once in a while to see how things are going on the ground but don't panic unless they're around you every day. Then things are messed up and they want to know who/what they need to get things back on track.

    This is another one of the better than normal managers. You need to choose your words more carefully and have backup for claims you make, but ultimately their intentions are usually good. Usually being in italics because they have the same goal (getting whatever needs done done) but their approach may differ from yours and you may suffer in the meantime.

  10. The War Leader

    This person manages to lift the spirits and motivate those around them. This is probably going to be a more charismatic version of The Predecessor though The Snake may try to become one as well, so be mindful of their intentions.

    If this The Predecessor, then the benefits will only be amplified. However if this is The Snake, then run like hell! A War Leader/Snake combo will build a cult of personality around themselves and anyone who gets in the way will be attacked not only by them but their followers.

Day 49 of #100DaysToOffload