You may have seen them, sense them and get a feel of them in the course of your working life; and they may appear, in all shapes and sizes, as your boss, manager, superior and such. These are the group of people who are part and parcel of your life and you can’t avoid them. But, you can manage them.
There is a saying, “Know thy enemy, know thy war.” By understanding each unique type of boss, you will be able to deal with them perfectly well.
From my biased sort of point of view and analysis, I give you your 8 types of bosses:
1. The Micro Manager
The Micro Manager usually does not have a good sense of trust on the employees’ abilities. Someone who micro manages always wants to be sure that the employees are always at work. They will usually install CCTVs in the office to ‘inspect the workers, like an eagle eyeing on its prey.
Because the micro manager wants to manage everything, work related or even non-work related; time is often wasted on doing things that are non-productive for the company.
Therefore, productivity becomes very slow for a company that is consistently under the rule of a micro manager.
When sales are low, bosses will usually transform themselves into micro-managers unintentionally, they will start check on your MC records, punctuality, how long you took during your lunchtime and all the little things one can ever imagine.
There is only one way to deal with micro-managers, “MAKE THEM BUSY” with productive work. The employee must stand up and create opportunities and growth for the company thus making your boss so busy that he or she has no time to micro manage.
2. The Fengshui Master
Well, this is the easiest one to spot even at your first job interview. Count the number of crystals, good luck trees, Buddha statues that you have noticed in your office. Anything that is more than one, confirms that your boss is the Fengshui Master.
The Fengshui Master believes in ‘outside forces’ or ‘destiny’ other than its employees and themselves who will bring growth to their business. Hence, such bosses always seem to be indulged in the habit of adding more monuments in the offices rather than believing in their company’s capability to create the opportunity to spur more business.
The more crystals, rituals or stones they have, the more ‘secure’ they will be. Hence, for the employees, always make sure that your boss is not a diehard Fengshui Master. In order to deal with the Fengshui Master, you need to show them the reality of business that Lady Luck will only smile on companies with concrete plans, action and efforts.
3. The Dictator
This type of boss is the least capable of all. He or she will use fear as the weapon to motivate the employees to work. One such tactic use is the consequence of losing one’s job if job is not done well. The Dictator will usually shout and scold their employees for whatsoever reason. The Dictator feels good when people fear them.
Why I said the Dictator is useless, is because they don’t give respect to their employees and co-workers. And using fear and shouting as a means to control employees is not cool at all. Employees under the dictator are usually unhappy and afraid to make mistakes and company morale will always be at an all time low.
There is no solution to deal with the dictator, I would recommend you to quit and find somebody who deserves your respect as a human being.
4. The Smart Alec
The Smart Alec boss is someone who thinks he or she is the most intelligent person of all in the company. They are usually the intellectual types of people. They will usually look down on the employees in their particular skills, experience and education while thinking that the employees are always doing things wrongly.
True enough to say that the Smart Alec bosses are really somebody who is very talented andintelligent in their industry. However, companies under the Smart Alec will not grow big and fastif the boss does not put his or her entire trust on the employees’ talents.
No man is an island. A company success cannot solely depend on a single person; it is everyone’s effort. There is another Chinese idiom saying, “One mountain can never have two tigers”; good talents will eventually leave their Smart Alec boss, therefore, such company is not able to grow faster and bigger.
To deal with the Smart Alec boss, you need to dialogue with him or her, asking your boss to give you full responsibility and trust in handling your own work without any interference. Dialogue here means a two way communication while understanding each other’s perspective better.
5. The Squeezer
This is the most commonly seen phenomenon especially in Singapore. It’s the exact opposite of the Smart Alec. The Squeezer is someone who knows how to make good use of each employee’s skills and talents fully. Thus, people working under the Squeezer, usually will have many good career prospects.
However, as the word Squeezer implies, such boss will tend to squeeze every single drip of ‘talent blood’ from each employee even until they are ‘very dry’. For most of the times, the employees are physically and mentally tired under the management of the squeezer. They will usually complain about the lack of work life balance under the management of the squeezer.
In order to satisfy the thirst for more business, the squeezer usually gives the least amount of rest days for the employees and at the same time giving them the maximum amount of work each day; so that he or she could continue to squeeze and squeeze.
In the long run, good employees may tend to leave for jobs that will give them better offer, more leave benefits and most importantly giving them a better work life balance. However, before you even submit your resignation letter, give the Squeezer a chance by telling him or her about your ‘limit’ or you can also negotiate for a higher salary to justify for the increased amount of work and responsibilities given to you. Most bosses should be able to understand and empathize with your situation.
6. The Shadow
As the word suggests, the Shadow is somebody who is always not around or never exist at all. The Shadow is also known as the sleeping business partner. The Shadow might be also working or operating others businesses such that he or she has no time to concentrate on one. This type of boss tends to lose focus and its employees have no clear direction as to where the business is heading. Such business without a concrete direction will never do well especially if it is a newly set up business. Unless the business has already been making profits confidently and automatically, bosses should never become a Shadow yet.
Being a shadow in too many businesses, not just wear ones out physically as well as mentally; and business may not go very smoothly as well.
7. The Peacock
The Peacock boss has a very big ego. Take a look at the prospective company’s website before you go for their job interview. If the website shows too much of the boss portraits and pictures, it is ‘telling’ you that this boss is the true blue Peacock. You might need to reconsider joining that company.
Peacocks usually places vanity more than anything else. They usually like to show off their talent, fame, recognition and wealth such as luxury cars, jewels and such. They will always want to win everything.
Having ego is good as it improves business competitiveness, however, having a very BIG and insatiable ego can be very bad especially when the boss does not know how to control and contain it.
For example, if a particular business competitor moves to a bigger office; the Peacock will want to move to an ever massive office than the competitor. Although moving into a massive office might satisfy the ego within, the Peacock might forget to factor in the huge investment costs involved and also may face the possibility of not able to sustain the business in the long run.
To deal with the Peacock boss, you may need to have the courage to speak up your own opinions and thoughts so that your bosses are able see the realistic consequences of their business if they continue to feed their ego.
8. The ‘Perfect’ Boss
In my opinion, what constitutes the perfect boss is never the Mr Nice Guy either. The Perfect Boss is somebody who has 10% of each type of characteristic mentioned above except for the Dictator.
Just like eating and drinking, we always do it moderately; anything that is too excessive may be harmful to our health.
Hence it is OK to be a little bit of micro manager so that quality control can be done. Be a little bit of the Fengshui master, as it might make you happy and at ease at times. Be a little bit of Smart Alec so that you could impart your intelligence and talents to your employees and trusting them to perform equally well or much better than you.
Be a little bit of a Squeezer so that you can realize the individual potential of your employees that can contribute greatly to your company. Be a little bit of the Shadow, for that is what the purpose of setting up a business is all about; to ‘free’ you and make you be on the business instead being in the business.
Be a little bit like the Peacock, so that you can continue to challenge yourself to outsmart your competition and win your market share.
However, never try to be the Dictator. Don’t even think about it.
The remaining 40% of the Perfect Boss should be summarized into one word, “Respect”.
Respect your employees, learn from them and help them get what they want and they will work hard for you, making you rich thus making your business dreams come true. The employee and employer relationship must always be mutual; learn to speak up so that it will make work happier and businesses more prosperous.
“The teacher needs to be taught in order to teach others.”
Be humble and continue to learn new things from the people around you including your employees so that you will learn to be a better superior.
In summary, by understanding the 8 common types of bosses in the world today; you will be able to appreciate your bosses no matter which category they are in.
[Remember, just in case, you have ‘Like’ my article on Facebook or Tweeted it when your bosses
happened to be inside your Friends list; please make sure you tell them that they are the 8 th Type of boss mentioned in this article.]
Jacky Tan, Senior Marketing PR Manager (Asia Pacific), Evorich Flooring Group
The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Singapore Business Review. The author was not remunerated for this article.
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Jacky Tan is a brand strategist, professional marketing writer, blogger, speaker, and author. He is also the chairperson and keynote speaker for Marketing Asia Conference 2016. Jacky leads boutique marketing and branding agency 'Jack and Chaz Pte Ltd'.