The 6 Types of Bosses You'll Meet in Your Career
These might seem like minor details, but by interacting with your boss in the way he or she prefers, you'll be more effective—with the ultimate goal, of course, of making your boss more effective.
Below, we outline a few of the most common leadership styles, inspired by Daniel Goleman's work in Leadership That Gets Results, and tips to help you identify and "manage up" to each.
1. The Director
Leaders with this management style expect their employees to do what they tell them to do—period. Often, they motivate with consequences, rather than incentives. If you report to this type of boss, make sure to not only follow his instructions but also communicate that you're following his instructions—tell him exactly what you've done and how you did it. Once he trusts that you respect his authority, you can start to introduce your own ideas.
2. The Authoritative Leader
This manager focuses on the big picture—both for the company as a whole and your individual career. She motivates her team to work toward a unified objective, but doesn't necessarily give each employee much guidance in how to get to that point. When you communicate with this kind of leader, she'll want to hear less about the specifics of what you did, and more about how it fits into the ultimate goal, so it pays to focus the conversation on the results rather than the process.
3. The People Person
For this manager, people come first. This boss cares deeply about keeping his or her employees happy and making them feel like they belong. With such an emphasis on relationship building and maintaining a positive environment, however, this leader can have a hard time managing healthy conflict or providing constructive criticism. To succeed under this type of manager, you should clearly communicate how you're feeling—but you may have to specifically ask for feedback on ways you can improve.
4. The Team Player
Leaders in this category prioritize teamwork and consensus. Rather than telling employees exactly what to do, this leader would ask, "What do you think we should do?" If you have this type of boss, don't shy away from offering up your opinions and suggestions—keeping in mind that your ideas should benefit the team as a whole.
5. The Pacesetter
This type of manager is a high performer and, often, an overachiever. Her priority is excelling at her own job, which means she can have a hard time delegating tasks to her employees. With this type of manager, you have to proactively ask to take charge of projects and tasks. By following through and consistently delivering great work, your boss will realize she can trust you to make her look good—securing your spot as an integral member of her team.
6. The Coach
This leader has his eye on the future. Rather than only focusing on the tasks at hand, he helps employees develop new skills and improve over time. To succeed under this type of boss, you need to be open to feedback and willing to look at every task as an opportunity to grow—rather than something to check off your to-do list.
Reprinted from the Book The New Rules of Work Copyright © 2017 by Alex Cavoulacos and Kathryn Minshew. Published by arrangement with Crown Business, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
Alexandra Cavoulacos is the Founder & COO of TheMuse.com, where she leads the Product and Operations teams, creating and launching new features weekly. Alex has spoken on WNYC and at SxSW and was named one of INC's 15 Women to Watch in Tech and Forbes 30 under 30.
Kathryn Minshew is the CEO & Founder of TheMuse.com, a career platform and community helping 50+ million Millennials find inspiring careers at innovative companies. She was previously named to INC's 35 Under 35 and Forbes' 30 Under 30 for two years in a row.