Whom Do You Work For? Eight Types of Bosses

Forty-three percent of workers recently surveyed by CareerBuilder.com reported they do not feel valued by their employers. Dissatisfaction with management techniques is a main contributing factor with four in ten stating their corporate leaders play favorites and nearly one in four reporting their direct supervisors do not take time to help them develop or improve.

An employee's experience with management begins with the direct supervisor. Today's workers are voicing concerns with their supervisor's ability to lead, with 42 percent stating they can do their boss's job better. Part of their criticism is attributed to the amount of individual attention given to employees as well as perceptions of character. Twenty-four percent say their supervisor does not take time to review job concerns and 22 percent say their supervisor is not trustworthy.

John Hoover describes eight types of bosses in his book 'How to Work for an Idiot.' He suggests categorizing your present and past bosses into one of eight types. Your boss history may reveal some things about yourself: you may want to fulfill a subliminal desire for self-punishment; your industry attracts a certain kind of boss; you're unlucky; you're an idiot or all of these. The secret to surviving and thriving if you work for an idiot is the right attitude, language and behavior.

So whom do you work for?


The Good Boss

Good bosses treat everyone with fairness regardless of office politics. Communication is key - a good boss keeps an open door policy, supports a constant flow of communication, and encourages others to do the same. Following these ideals builds good relationships with those with more power as well as those with less power.

Bottom line, good bosses follow the golden rule of leadership -- they lead the way they like to be led.


The God Boss

These guys think they are God. They most often appear in church settings or missionary organizations. They are megalomaniacs to the extreme. You must address the God Boss just as he wants to be addressed, follow his rules and create the illusion you're doing things his way. God Bosses are about power, usually because it hides incompetence.


The Machiavellian Boss

"Machiavellian Bosses don't think they're God. They are extremely intelligent and know better," says Hoover. This boss views the world as an enormous pyramid and the one spot at the top belongs to him or her. You may be run over or become a casualty but don't take it personally -- it's not about you and never was. Machiavellian Bosses are highly focused and highly motivated. They are very aware of self-perception and have little regard for anyone else.


The Masochistic Boss

This boss believes that punishment is deserved. He or she will suck anyone possible into the world of sick behavior, gathering a swarm of co-dependents. These co-dependents continuously offer their affirmations, but to no avail. Nothing ever gets done in a masochistic department -- with failure comes punishment from upper management, so these people thwart success to avoid the reduction in pain and misery. These people will never feel good about themselves and will make sure you don't either.


The Sadistic Boss

This is the person with a bottomless suggestion box positioned over a wastebasket or a sign that reads "When I want your opinion, I'll give it to you." The harder you work, the more this boss piles on you. If you goof off, this gives the boss more ammo for beating you. People up the food chain know more than you think, but never talk badly about your sadistic boss. Staying positive will bring you admiration.


The Paranoid Boss

This person is suspicious of everyone's motives, including yours. Anything you do may be an attempt to undermine your boss. Most of this exists largely in one's imagination, but it can become a reality. Whether there actually is a conspiracy or one is invented, the result is the same. A project is tanked -- thus feeding the idea that someone is out to get your boss.


The Buddy Boss

Buddy Bosses want to be your best friend and hang out all the time. She won't want you to get in trouble and not like her, so it might be worth spending some time. With this type of boss, though, you might rather double your workload than pal around with her. Getting along with the Buddy Boss means hanging out and ignoring everything you're paid to do. The downside: you'll be working nights and weekends making up the work you should be doing during business hours.


The Idiot Boss

This boss, or an I-Boss, comes in many forms, according to Hoover. He says the I-Boss is the lowest common denominator on the chain of bosses. "They are here to test our faith, secure our sanity and teach survival skills." Idiot bosses are characterized by cluelessness and stupidity. They might as well have just wandered into an office and started running it.

Next: Worst Boss Stories -- Ever! >>

Copyright 2004 CareerBuilder.com. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without prior written authority.

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