The Advertiser - How to get a handle on your boss - Michelle Gibbings

In this article for the Career One section of The Advertiser, Michelle explains that there are four distinct types of boss and how to deal with them. 

Having a good professional relationship with your boss can lead to higher engagement and more opportunities but building this requires more than a one-size-fits-all approach.

There are four distinct types of boss and each must be dealt with in their own way, says Michelle.

The Mercenary

These bosses have little awareness of their effect on others and care primarily about themselves. They see themselves as all powerful and the smartest person in the room. They have little interest in other people or in improving, because they believe they already have this leadership thing ‘nailed’. The best way to deal with this boss is to keep your head down, do the work and stay out of the firing line. Workers should not make comments, yet must also come across as strong and confident as this boss see weakness as a character flaw.

The Believer

This type of boss is not a bad person, but they may be an ineffective leader.  They care a lot but lack self-awareness. They’ll often think they are doing a great job leading, because they genuinely care about their team and try to put the team first. People can thrive under this type of boss once they know how to work around their limitations. Seek to understand them and leverage ways to manage them. They are usually open to feedback, so you can talk to them about how you might better work together.

The Illusionist

Like the mercenary, this boss cares primarily about themselves. Unlike the mercenary, they are aware of the negative effect they can have – they just don’t care. They are good at managing up and can charm the pants off you, although when things go wrong you could find yourself under the bus. To work with this boss, remember that the more you make them look good, they more they will want you around. This can be good for you development and there can be opportunities, but remember…you will be expendable and have a use-by-date. Ask (them) questions about how you might better support them, while taking care of your own needs too.

The Liberator

These are “the ultimate good boss” as they are both deeply aware of their effect on their team and are also very caring. When they stuff up and make a mistake, they own it. The will support you and your career aspirations. They won’t just be nice and say what you want to hear. Instead, because they care, they will challenge you to do better and give you constructive, healthy feedback. Workers can make the most of having this boss by using the opportunity to learn and become their best self.


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