There are 6 types of managers — Here’s how to handle each of them

Learning how to work with different types of managers is key to fast career advancement. Here are six types of managers you will likely meet in your career, and tips on how to work with them

The micromanager

A micromanager wants to supervise everything you do. You may find yourself constantly making reports, and you may not feel empowered to make any decision. 

The key to coming out on top is to build trust. You should be proactive in getting your manager involved in your day-to-day. Here are some specific suggestions you can follow:

  • Set up regular update meetings
  • Specify all the tasks that you have completed and plan to do
  • Ask your manager for his input on your work
  • Review materials with your manager first before sharing them with anyone. 

The autocrat

An autocrat makes almost all the decisions without considering inputs from subordinates. Although such a leadership style can provide clear directions in certain situations, in a team with multiple capable and knowledgeable team members, it can hurt morale and lead to resentment. 

Building trust is also key to having a successful work relationship with your autocratic manager. However, unlike a micromanager, an autocrat doesn’t care as much about the details of your tasks, as long as you deliver them on time with good quality. Therefore, instead of providing constant updates, focus on completing your work to your manager’s satisfaction. An autocrat likes to feel that she is in control. Therefore, be sure to inform your manager of any important news, so she will never be surprised. 

Although working for an autocrat may be challenging, shift your perspective, and treat it as an opportunity for self-development. 

The manager that you find difficult to understand

I once worked with a manager whose way of thinking was difficult for me to understand. I could sense his frustration when he explained to me ideas that were obvious to him, only to be met with a face of confusion. 

The best way to work with such a manager is to employ an iterative process. For example, I’d do a draft first, ask for his feedback, modify, and ask for his feedback again. In this way, you balance the risk of your manager thinking that you aren’t taking any initiatives and the risk that you spend long hours working on something that doesn’t even satisfy his requirements. There is nothing worse than pretending to understand. Always ask questions. 

The one who wants to be your friend

“Friendly relations between bosses and employees support good work and good performance”, says Mark Franklin, practice leader at CareerCycles and co-founder of OneLifeTools. However, we must respect the boundaries.

Here are some no-no’s when it comes to maintaining a friendship with your manager:

  • Do not complain about work issues. Office gossips can travel far.
  • Do not flaunt your friendship openly in the office. It can lead to friction between you and your other co-workers. 
  • Do not talk too deeply about your personal life with your manager. You never know if your confession about drunken nights will cost you a promotion down the road. 

The one that has a strict boundary between professional and personal life

On the other hand, you may encounter someone who doesn’t disclose any information about her personal life. You may work with her for five years without knowing her hobbies and what she does on the weekends. 

Although you may wish that your manager could share with you some little joys in her life, as long as she is honest and fair, it doesn’t really matter. Respecting people’s preferences is the best policy. 

The one that inspires you

On the bright side, throughout your career, you will hopefully meet at least one person that truly inspires you. I had the privilege of working with someone whose generosity, kindness and leadership went far beyond my expectations. He motivated me to get my job done well and better. 

If you have a manager like this, congratulations. Try to observe and learn as much as possible to from this person. Hopefully one day, you will turn into a manager that inspires others too. 

Although having an employer certainly has its perks, working with different kinds of managers is a challenge that we will face. If you want to become a superstar employee, follow the tips above. They will help you shine at work!