The Different Types of Managers & How to Work with Each?

Learn about 6 different types of managers you’ll likely encounter in the workplace and how you can work effectively with each to take your career forward.

Throughout our working lives we’re likely to work under multiple managers, with each having their own unique leadership style. From the more easy going “let me know how it goes” managers to the more micromanaging “I need this done by 5” personalities, identifying the different types of managers you’re likely to encounter in the workplace and how to best deal with each, is crucial to not only career advancement but also making each day in the office a more pleasant one for all. Keeping in mind these profiles are somewhat stereotypical and every boss of yours will be a unique human being who can’t be slotted into a neat little box (like anyone really), the following examples developed by US psychologist Daniel Goleman are still a handy guide for those of us seeking a more harmonious and productive 9 to 5!

  • Management Style #1: The Visionary

  1. Listen to your managers’ ideas carefully & take note of what they’re trying to achieve
  2. Jump right in & help them brainstorm their ideas with your team
  3. Provide practical advice & options for how their ideas can be turned into a reality
  • Management Style #2: The Coach

Just as a sports coach will bring high levels of energy and discipline to the sports field, the coach management style will aim to bring high performance into the workplace. Coaches are highly people-focused and view the success of their team members as their own personal success. This makes them great to work with, especially if you’re new to a role and still ‘learning the ropes’. However trouble can arise if you don’t take responsibility for your mistakes or don’t display the same enthusiasm for your job as they do.

  1. Listen to your manager carefully and take on board their advice & feedback
  2. Set clear, realistic goals for your on-the-job performance & discuss practical strategies with your manager on how you can achieve those goals
  3. Take responsibility for your mistakes & aim to do better next time
  • Management Style #3: The Sensitive Boss

Sensitive bosses are genuinely concerned with the emotional wellbeing of their workers and are determined to create a workplace that is as harmonious and responsive to individual needs as possible. To do this, sensitive bosses aim to create close connections between individual workers through shared team activities, whilst minimising stressful or confronting situations. However a downside of this leadership style may be indecisiveness or an inability to give honest, critical feedback where necessary.

  1. Be open and courteous in communicating with both your manager & colleagues
  2. Aim to build strong relationships with your co-workers built on trust & respect
  3. Provide honest feedback tactfully, where necessary & take on board any feedback you receive concerning your own performance
  • Management Style #4: The Democratic Boss

One of the easiest types of managers to work with, democratic bosses are focused on open collaboration within their teams and are underpinned by a strong belief that the best outcomes are achieved by all parties bringing their ideas to the table in pursuit of a common goal. However, their strong focus on ‘open-source’ management means they can often be indecisive and the decision-making process considerably slowed down as a result.

  1. Contribute actively to team discussions & give your honest opinion on new ideas
  2. Listen carefully to your manager & colleagues
  3. Seek clarification if any points are unclear & don’t commit to big decisions until you understand the obvious implications
  • Management Style #5: The Commander

Arguably one of the most difficult management styles to work under, commander bosses know exactly what outcomes they want from their team and they sure aren’t afraid to let you know about it! Commanders expect strong discipline and speed from their team and may often shout commands in very clear terms – as their name suggests. They can also tend towards micromanaging. But at the end of the day, they just want the job to be done on time and to the highest standards possible.

  1. Communicate with your manager regularly so they know you’re busy at work and be sure to communicate possible delays or complications well in advance of deadlines
  2. Focus on getting concrete results for your team, not just ‘ticking boxes’
  3. Actively contribute to team discussions with well thought out ideas & present your manager with a range of practical solutions to the problem at hand
  • Management Style #6: The Pacesetter

In the fast paced nature of our modern economy, the pacesetter is focused on winning the race and winning it with pride. Similar in personality to commanders, pacesetters can also be quite direct and demanding, expecting the best from their team members and impatient if tasks fall behind schedule. However, they can also be highly energetic and will often do their best to bring motivated team members along for the ride!

  1. Seek clarification on tasks and your role before you begin. This will save precious time!
  2. Communicate clear and regular updates with your manager & team members on the progress of specific tasks
  3. Display a strong, consistent work ethic & aim to do the best job you can possibly do (which ideally, should apply for any job you do working under any of the different types of managers outlined above)

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