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5 Types of Managers and How to Deal with Them

Disciplinarian, gentle, nervous, narrow-minded…No manager is alike and facing our manager without offending may be a real challenge. Here are 5 main types of manager and how to cope with them:

  • The Bureaucrat: is generally agreeable, is cautious in making decisions; he will probably have a great need for power. They apply control through strict administration of the rules. A bureaucrat tends to be authoritarian. They might use powers granted by the company when dealing with subordinates. They use sanctions that his or her position in the organization provides.

How to cope: The best approach is to know the rules and policies of your organization so that you can present proposals is such a way that they are seen to be consistent with the system.

  • The Autocrat: Has very strong views on what ought to be done in any situation. They don’t listen very well to their subordinate, and they issue instructions that they expect to be carried out without question. They are intolerant of those who make mistakes. They use sanctions that his or her position in the organization provides.

How to cope: Confrontation should be avoided. If you have a source of power that is unavailable to your boss, then often, he or she will cultivate the relationship.

  • The Wheeler-Dealers: Are often very senior managers who spend much of their time negotiating with other department over allocation of resources. Their need for power is high. Control is achieved by interpersonal influence rather than by force. Their management style may range from consultative to participative to laissez-faire. They often delegate.

How to cope: With this boss, it is essential to become proactive. They expect staff members to use their own initiative, to take decisions and, making sure that the boss is kept informed rather than asked.

  • The Reluctant Manager: This person has been promoted on the grounds of technical competence. Reluctant managers generally let their departments run themselves, and they do not encourage staff in any way. They are likely to have a high need for achievement but low need for power and affiliation. Their management style is so easy going. Sanctions are rarely used.

How to cope: The main problem with reluctant managers is getting them to engage in any interpersonal interactions at all. If you need an advice, present a number of alternatives from which the manager can choose, with your own preferred alternative strongly supported by evidence.

  • The Open Manager: This manager has a very firm belief in the value of participation and getting everyone involved. He or she holds regular meetings to review progress and decides on future actions. He or she has little need for power, a high need for affiliation, and may have a high or low need for achievement. Such managers are highly participative.

How to cope: Open manager engenders commitment; thus you will become involved. That’s why saying NO can be helpful in some circumstances.