What Type of Boss Do You Have? 

There are many different leaderships styles out there, and those can definitely depend on the business you’re in. There are also a multitude of personality types and traits that are drawn out by the different needs, actions and stresses of the workplace. Your boss’s managerial style will be reflective of daily and big-picture tasks, production, their employees – a lot of factors contribute to how those in charge approach leadership.

However, according to Ximena Vengoechea, a design researcher at Pinterest, and contributor at Fast Company, who writes extensively about work culture, mentorship and management, there are really only four categories that your manager falls into:

1. Hands on, and in it for themselves

2. Hands on, and in it for you

3. Hands off, and in it for themselves

4. Hands off, and in it for you

Let’s see how Vengoechea describes how managers fit into these types:

Hands On, And In It For Themselves

Vengoechea advises to run far and fast if you are working for a hands on, in it for themselves. She says that this is the type of power tripping boss that will not only micromanage you, but take credit for your work – all while not really trusting your efforts. Some traits to look for are indecisiveness, nitpicking, poor supervisory skills and unrealistic expectations.

Hands On, And In It For You

Vengoechea describes this boss as someone who might have some micromanaging tendencies, but is ultimately more proactive about helping you grow. She advises using this opportunity to be receptive, learn how to communicate more effectively, and to see their hands-on approach as mentorship.

Hands Off, In It For Themselves

There are two reasons your boss might be hands-off: either they trust you, or or they could be checked out of work in general. What you can do in this situation is be proactive about following up, and try to build that bridge to deepen your rapport.

Hands Off, In It For You

Of course, there are many different opinions about what type of boss you might have and what that means for your work environment. Our relationship with our boss is a huge part of our job satisfaction, day-to-day-happiness, and how we view our future and growth within a company. As Vengoechea puts it, its important to remember the tenets of ‘managing up’, which is more a matter of helping your boss manage you for mutual success. The most effective leaders are adept at integrating the demands of managing up and down – and that includes you!

That means understanding management goals, how you can help, learning what communication styles work for them and for you, and sharing those wins.


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