Working with a boss is just a natural part of life. Whether you work a typical 9-5 desk job reporting to a manager, or you work as a freelancer reporting to clients, it’s important to understand how to work effectively with a boss.
Today, we’ll help you identify different kinds of bosses and how to work with the type of boss you have (or might have in the future).
A workaholic boss works long hours, sometimes during the weekends, and seems to have endless energy.
It may take some extra effort to keep up with this kind of boss, but the payout can be worth it when you and your team reach goals far ahead of schedule.
The key to keeping up with a workaholic boss is finding the perfect work-life balance. You can achieve that by setting clear boundaries at work and at home so the two don't interfere with one another in a detrimental way. Make sure to take natural breaks such as evenings, weekends, and holidays to rejuvenate, and then give 110% when you're at the office with your boss.
If your boss tends to do things the way they’ve always been done, you might be working for a traditionalist boss.
Under a traditionalist boss, you’ll learn some great time-tested methods of solving common problems.
While you may need to work harder and more tactfully to think outside the box, a traditionalist boss provides a very secure work environment where few risks are taken.
Sometimes a coworker or colleague may get promoted to work as your boss. This type of boss is typically a craftsman or technician—meaning they’re really good at accomplishing the tasks assigned to your team.
To work with this type of boss, be patient as they learn how to manage people in addition to being very talented at their craft. Then soak in the expertise and experience this boss can offer.
If your boss constantly follows up on every little piece of your project, you might be working for a micromanager.
And while micromanagement has a lot of negative connotations, sometimes it’s comforting knowing someone has your back and is watching each step as you go.
To work with a micromanager, be proactive in reporting status updates, milestones, or other details even before they ask.
Many bosses are driven by goals either set by themselves or their superiors. If you work with a goal-setting boss, focus your work around the goals they care most about.
When you give progress updates, make sure they’re reported in relation to the goals your boss and your team have identified as important.
Some bosses are promoted to their management position because they’re naturally a leader. These are Alpha bosses, and they possess special character traits that often make them uniquely qualified to lead a team.
To work with an alpha boss, respect their leadership and soak in everything they’re willing to teach you. The more you become part of “the pack,” the more they’ll take you under their wing.
If you have a boss who gets caught up in the smallest of details, you probably have a detail-focused boss.
To work with a boss who cares about the little details, take extra time to polish up a presentation or add a little extra something special to a project. They’ll notice.
Some bosses care about “the numbers” more than anything. These numbers might include sales, impressions, days without injury, or any number of important metrics.
To work well with a numbers-focused boss, identify which numbers they care about, and then focus your daily work to contribute to the improvement of those numbers.
Busy Beaver bosses are always preoccupied with some project, meeting, initiative, or report. This can be a good thing for employees who are more autonomous, leaving you with time to move forward on your important projects.
To work with a busy beaver, don’t plan on “popping in” their office for a meeting. Set time on their calendar and come prepared to have an efficient and effective meeting.
Finally, we’ve got the quiet boss. Some bosses prefer to just keep their heads down and get the work done—which can be a blessing if you’re not the social type.
To work with a quiet boss, you may need to ask for specific feedback and learn to communicate asynchronously through email, Slack, or other means.
There are many more types of bosses out there, and working with each kind is a fun and exciting challenge.
Do your best to identify how your boss works and make plans to work smoothly with them on a daily basis. If you need further assistance, consider reaching out to a career counselor for advice.