How to deal with these 5 types of bosses

Hey, guys! Welcome back to my blog! As you can see, I’ve made some format changes to my page. Fall season is here, and I always have a lot of spirit when it comes to the holidays. Therefore, I made my page a little more “autumn-like,” and I hope you enjoy!

Back to the point, I read this article about why December is the best time to look for jobs. (If you haven’t already, please refer to my Workin’ Wednesday series to learn all about resumes, interviews, business attire and more.) And it got me thinking, what is something that everyone has to deal with when starting a new job? Bosses, I thought. So I figured this would be a great time to discuss five common types of bosses, what they act like and how to handle them. Everyone can (or eventually will) relate to this post, so I’m hoping I can help at least one person today.

*Disclaimer: For the sake of avoiding a long post with awkward sentence structure, you may see me refer to these bosses with either a “him” or “her” pronoun. I am, in no way, implying a correlation between these boss types and their genders; I just rather not use the phrases, “him or her” or “his or hers” on every line. Thanks in advance for understanding!

It's time to work a little harder.

Boss #1 – the Micro-manager
This is the boss who needs confirmation for every little thing you do. Every move you make must be validated and any new ideas you have cannot leave your head until it’s gone through him first. Sheesh, you can’t even respond to an email without sending him a rough draft first!

If you’re having this problem with your boss, then you, my friend, have a Micro-manager on your hands. Look, the mature side of me would tell you that you should just do what he tells you. He’s the boss, and you’re not. And until you get to the position where you can call the shots, you have to answer to people above you.

However, there might be a quicker way out of this. *evil smile emerging* And this way is called reverse psychology. Since your boss won’t let you lift a finger without his approval, then you’ll do just that. Start sending him updates on everything. Let him know when you’re about to schedule a meeting. Email him before sending out a press release. Call him before you speak to your client. And make sure you message him before securing a venue for your upcoming executive luncheon. He’ll eventually get tired of you bugging him, and he’ll have no choice but to let you do your job. Without his constant nagging.

Boss #2 – the Sloth
I’m not sure which is worse: a boss who micromanages or a boss who doesn’t do anything at all. This boss has no idea what she is doing. She is unorganized, incompetent and possibly delusional. You almost wonder how your boss held on to this job for so long. Maybe she has a friend on the board? Either way, she is never on time, and you are the one who always has to pick her up slack. At this point, I believe a promotion is in order. Am I right?

Let’s take a step back, though. I definitely understand your frustration, but there’s always another side to the story. Your boss may be dealing with things going on at home or  even something internal, such as a battle with self-esteem or depression. And while we are constantly told to separate our personal lives from work, how many times have we actually followed that rule?

With that being said, the best way to handle this is to talk to her. Let her know how you feel (in a respectful way), and remind her that you cannot be productive at your job when you are doing her work, too. Usually, a one-on-one talk fixes the situation. Worst-case scenario, if talking to her doesn’t work, then you can always go above her. Try talking to your adjacent boss (someone who is at the same level as your boss, but has a different team to lead), your director (your boss’ boss) or an HR representative.

clip from the movie, The Devil Wears Prada
I still haven’t seen this movie!

Boss #3 – the Overachiever
Piggybacking off of the lazy boss, there is always a manager who thinks he can do it all. He will take on his work, plus your work, plus your team member’s work, plus the work of the receptionist…leaving you with little to do. I know what you’re thinking. This sounds like the perfect job! But for some, this is a terrible job.

If you’re anything like me, you actually like to come to work, and DO SOMETHING. Having nothing to do every day gets really boring, really fast. It starts to become a waste of your time and a waste of your skills. Before you know it, you’ll be dragging yourself to work every day and that lack of motivation will start to affect the way you view your job. The little work that you do get will eventually suffer. At that point, you’ll spend the next three years doing nothing. Try getting another job with that on your resume.

To avoid everything I just mentioned above, use your free time to create ongoing projects for yourself. For example, if you’re a graphic designer and you notice that the branding manual is out-of-date, fix it! Inform your boss of your intentions and get to work! Another good example: I work as a media and events coordinator. So whenever I’m having a slow week, I spend my time studying social media, updating our social calendar and working on future posts. For me, it’s fun, and it’s a great way to use my time. Once your boss sees you taking initiative, not only will he be impressed with you, but he’ll start to entrust you with more tasks!

Boss #4 – the Pessimist
No matter how hard you work, how much overtime you put in or how happy your customers are, you’re still a failure. And you can always do better. Harsh, right? Well, there are managers out there who are perfectionists…meaning, you will never be good enough for them.

I’m not saying that bosses should hold your hand and praise you every time you get a new follower on the company Facebook page. But every good leader knows that there is power in positive reinforcement. And letting your team know that they are appreciated goes a long way. So if your boss makes you feel like you and your team suck at everything, then it’s time for you to step in.

picture of a conference room

This solution calls for someone who is a bit more outspoken. (If this isn’t you, try talking to your boss one-on-one or talking to someone that’s above her.) At your next team meeting, when everyone’s going around the table and discussing what they’re working on, use your turn to discuss some of the positive things that are happening in the company. If productivity is up, say it. If customer morale is up, say it! If you reached your sales goal for the second quarter, then SAY. IT. If your boss won’t acknowledge you and your team’s hard work, then someone has to. And it just might have to be you. But at least, your team will know that someone is noticing. And remember, an employee who receives recognition is an employee who works harder.

Boss #5 – the Big-headed One
Your boss is the King, and you all are his peasants. Not really. But don’t you hate when someone treats you that way? I once had a boss who thought that he was more important than everyone else. Because he held a higher job title, our jobs didn’t matter. It was as if he were a one-man show. He took credit for everything, and we were just the dirt under his shoes.

It’s very frustrating, I know. What this person fails to realize is that without a team, there would be no boss. There would be no team to lead. With that being said, don’t rely on your boss to push you and motivate you. Start making your own connections, building your own foundation and doing your part to empower your team. Give credit where credit is due. Encourage team-building activities with your colleagues, and make sure that everyone is on the same page. If necessary, designate a new team leader. This can be an unofficial leader: someone who works on your team, knows how to keep the team together and can step in whenever your boss is being difficult. If your boss starts to affect productivity or team morale, then it’s time to bring in a mediator (i.e. your senior director or someone from the HR department).


That’s all for today, folks! As you can see, I like to face challenges head-on. I believe that if no one can help you, then you have to take matters into your own hands. I hope that this post has encouraged you all to be a better employee not just for yourself, but for your entire team.

Do you have any thoughts or ideas you’d like to add? Feel free to let me know in the comment section below.

Thanks for reading! 🙂

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Hello! My name is Tammie and formally, I’m a graduate from the University of North Texas with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations, a minor in Spanish and a certificate in technical writing. Informally, I’m an energetic 29-year-old who enjoys to write, give professional advice and explore my creative side.

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