Thursday, April 12, 2012


How to Handle Different Types of Bosses

You can stay out of your house longer if you don't like your wife, ignore your parents' calls when you are too bored to talk to them, but bosses... that's a tricky one. Whether you like them or not, you have to interact with them, and if you are planning to stick around in your job, you have to keep them happy. While not everyone has a boss from hell, you sure as hell hate something about your boss that you just can't ignore. We give you the most common archetypes and with the help of life coach Malti Bhojwani, here are tips on how to deal with them.

The Dangler 
So you've planned a big tour through Europe with your friends, a la Zindagi na Milegi Dobara, after speaking to your boss. This kind of boss has promised you can take the leave if you put in a few extra hours. A week before your flight, they turn around and say you can't leave because there is a bigger project in the offing. You are stuck with The Dangler. They promise things in return for more work and do not fulfill those promises. 

Deal with it
If you see this often, email your boss copying everyone else in the meeting about the promises and expectations. Practise writing self-appraisals, train yourself to look at the big picture and type out a self-appraisal every month to send to your boss. This will keep him in the loop about what you are accomplishing for the company. Remind them of their promises every once in a while. Have full faith in yourself - you are a valuable employee or you wouldn’t be here. Fearless is the only way to be. These bosses smell fear instinctively. 

The Best Friend
This type is great to hang out with, and if you weren't working together, you guys would’ve been best chums. But when the boss is upset if you don't reveal personal things or forces you to hang out with him/her even if you have plans, it becomes problematic. They are always in your face and everything you do can turn into an emotional argument about how you hurt them. 

Deal with it
These bosses don't have a life. Limit the personal info you share and keep your work and social life separate. You aren't being rude, just drawing boundaries. 

The Viper
If you have barbs thrown at you constantly like, 'My kid makes better presentations than you' or 'I'm glad you wore that dress, it reminds me of what my grandma wore when I was a kid', then you are stuck with the viper. When they get to work, all they seem to want to do is spread their venom around and sink those fangs into you. 

Deal with it
Keep this one at arm's length, you don't want to be stung. Practise communicating directly with your boss keeping your worth in mind.

The Number cruncher
You have been working really hard, but the project that was a done deal suddenly slipped through your fingers. Your boss is aware of the effort you have put in, but is still on your back because the numbers are down. This species does not understand anything other than stats. Your blood and sweat are just body fluids to them. 

Deal with it
Do your homework to display a comparative report on numbers between yourself and your competitors. Document the number of attempts/ hours spent per project.

The Invisible Man
If the only person you can turn to during a crisis at work is the mirror, then you have are suffering from the absent boss syndrome. They are always at meetings, imagined or real, and when it's not workrelated, they are chilling with the wife and kids at a sea-side resort in Lakshadweep, while you are pulling 15-hour days in the office. 

Deal with it
Find ways to get schedule weekly meetings with them. Try not to be spiteful that they are away. It could also be that they are not aware that you need them.

The Flaming Fury
When was the last time you saw your boss smile? If your answer ranges between never and the last time they fired your colleague, then we sympathise with you. While anger is an emotion that is usually associated with bosses, this one is in the extreme. Whether you are doing a good or a bad job, it doesn't matter. All you receive is a little spittle when they are screaming down your face and a few insults to wipe your face with. 

Deal with it 
Be as humorous as you can, smile at them, treat them as a human being you care about and see if your 'love' will rub off. They are the ones who probably think the only way to get anything done is to be pissed off. Offer them some kindness and see how the relationship shifts. Often it is your reaction and expectation that they are pissed off that causes the cycle and it just keeps going on and on. It takes only one of you to change the dance between the two of you. So why not take the lead? 

The Softy
This is the one who walks on eggshells around you, apologizes when they ask you to do something, get walked all over by stronger employees and you often feel sorry for them. They are scared of you and this can be very disempowering. 

Deal with it
A good approach is to resume the role of a cheerleader and point out to this boss their strengths and show them appreciation. Make this boss look good to their superiors and to your colleagues. 

The Early Riser
Early to rise, early to bed. Okay, maybe the saying is the other way around, but this could well be your future if you are stuck with The Early Riser. They are obviously going to be stepping on toes, and your very simple day-to-day job can turn into a political drama. 

Deal with it
They want to gain rank and accolades for themselves. Don't feel bad, for often their promotion could mean a promotion for you too. Support this boss in looking good. 

The Nitpicker
Your office is a minefield if you are suck with The Nitpicker. If you put your left foot forward, they demand that you should have put your right and if you put your right, they ask why you didn't swing your hands enough. They will always find faults in everything you do. 

Deal with it
Set your boundaries. Let them know you are uncomfortable with them breathing over your shoulder. Request for an ‘Operation Manual’ if they want specifics.

The Memento-r
If your boss uses the Five Ws to being every second sentence then unfortunately you are stuck with The Memento-r. He forgets important meetings, ideas that you pitched, and sometimes even forgets that you exist. While you wish you can tattoo everything you spoke about on his body, you realise he is soon going to run out of skin. 

Deal with it
Help this one out with reminders, emails, post-its, notes. Speak to your colleagues to support this type of boss. Realise and acknowledge that they are in that position due to particular skills or expertise that they possess. If they tend to forget important information, communicating that with them and setting structures in place to help them would only help you in the long run.

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