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Recruitment coach Nicole Grainger-Marsh reveals nine types of managers you'll meet in your career


Understanding your boss’ management style is likely to give you a greater chance of promotion at work, according to career expert Nicole Grainger-Marsh.

The accredited executive coach, from Sydney recruitment agency Precision Sourcing, says there are nine types of managers who approach projects, staff and workplace problems in very different ways.

These include overly controlling ‘micromanagers’ and passive people-pleasers, who try to be everyone’s friend at the expense of productivity.

There’s also impulsive, indecisive and disorganised ‘I needed it yesterday’ managers, as well as what is perhaps the most difficult style to collaborate with: bosses who offer no information about what they’re looking for at all.

Ms Grainger-Marsh unpacked these telltale traits in a blog post for Seek, advising Australians of how to deal with specific management styles to help them climb swiftly up the career ladder.

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Understanding your boss' management style could give you a greater chance of promotion at work, especially if they are a 'micromanager' who struggles to loosen the reins (stock image)

Understanding your boss’ management style could give you a greater chance of promotion at work, especially if they are a ‘micromanager’ who struggles to loosen the reins (stock image)

Sydney career coach Nicole Grainger-Marsh

Sydney career coach Nicole Grainger-Marsh

1. The micromanager

Bosses who rigidly monitor every element of their staff’s work, no matter how mundane, are what Ms Grainger-Marsh calls ‘micromanagers’.

They can be controlling and frustrating to work for, but she says the best way to foster a stronger relationship is to prove that you are trustworthy enough to be left to your own devices.

Consistently delivering results and making good on your promises helps micromanagers to loosen the reins and step back, if only a little.

2. The passive manager

Natural people-pleasers are likely to be passive managers whose primary concern is keeping everyone happy, often at the expense of productivity.

A deep desire to be liked leads to a lack of constructive criticism, Ms Grainger-Marsh warns, which should be provided by those in leadership roles.

To encourage frank critique, she recommends asking for positive feedback first to put the passive manager at ease.

Asking questions like ‘what can I keep doing more of?’ and ‘what worked well about that project?’ can then transition into helpful analysis of how your work can improve.

Natural people-pleasers are likely to be passive managers whose primary concern is keeping everyone happy, often at the expense of productivity because they struggle to offer constructive criticism (stock image)

Natural people-pleasers are likely to be passive managers whose primary concern is keeping everyone happy, often at the expense of productivity because they struggle to offer constructive criticism (stock image)

Poll

What is the most frustrating type of manager to work for?

  • Passive 3 votes
  • No detail 2 votes
  • Missing 3 votes
  • Indecisive 2 votes
  • Impulsive 2 votes
  • I needed it yesterday 0 votes
  • Spread too thin 3 votes
  • Micromanager 10 votes
  • All about me 3 votes

3. The ‘I needed it yesterday’ manager

Disorganised bosses who spring deadlines on staff at the last minute are what Ms Grainger-Marsh dubs ‘I needed it yesterday’ managers.

But while frustrating, she says there’s not much you can do unless the short notice is negatively affecting the business.

She advises focusing on what you can control and pre-empting the likelihood that they will demand something of you without warning.

4. The no detail manager

People who delegate tasks without providing any information about how they want it done have a ‘no detail’ management style, Ms Grainger-Marsh says.

To succeed under this, she says you need to become a ‘master’ in clarification who asks questions until the request becomes clear.

‘Paraphrase back to your manager what your understanding is,’ Ms Grainger-Marsh said. 

‘This gives them an opportunity to confirm or clarify further.’ 

The nine types of managers 

1. Micromanagers

2. Passive managers

3. Indecisive managers

4. Impulsive managers

5. Missing managers

6. No detail managers

7. All-about-me managers

8. Spread themselves to thin managers

9. ‘I need it yesterday’ managers

Source: Nicole Grainger-Marsh via Seek 

5. The ‘missing’ manager

Rarely available with a near constant ‘out of office’ set on their email, these absent or ‘missing’ managers provide little direction or feedback, good or bad.

Ms Grainger-Marsh says it’s vital to secure face-to-face time by scheduling bi-monthly or monthly meetings that they can’t back out of.

To keep them abreast of your day to day achievements, she recommends sending a bullet pointed list at the end of the week, creating written proof of what you’ve bee working on.

6. The impulsive manager

Impulsive managers make decisions without thinking which can cause chaos in professional settings, but Ms Grainger-Marsh warns that questioning this personality type is ‘the worst thing you can do’.

Fast-moving people who act on impulse will become immediately defensive when their judgment or authority is questioned, she says, so the best response is to simply repeat what they’ve told you to do.

This gives the manager time to reflect on the likely outcomes of their decision, creating what Ms Grainger-Marsh calls a ‘circuit breaker’ which gives perspective on the call and its repercussions. 

Disorganised bosses who spring deadlines on staff at the last minute are what Ms Grainger-Marsh dubs 'I needed it yesterday' managers (stock image)

Disorganised bosses who spring deadlines on staff at the last minute are what Ms Grainger-Marsh dubs ‘I needed it yesterday’ managers (stock image)

7. The spread-themselves-too-thin manager

Perfectionists who feel nobody can complete a task quite like them are likely to be managers who ‘spread themselves too thin’.

These bosses struggle with delegation, according to Ms Grainger-Marsh, so getting on their good side involves asking for more responsibility in a way that doesn’t threaten their authority or question their competence.

‘The framing of the discussion should be about how you can take on additional responsibility for your own development and career progression,’ she said.

8. The all-about-me manager

Clear communication is key with ‘all about me’ managers who care most about how projects and staff issues affect them personally, Ms Grainger-Marsh says.

Carefully crafting questions and requests in a way that sounds beneficial to them while avoiding words that could be construed as critical is vital if you want to progress under this leadership type, she insists.

Perfectionists who feel nobody can complete a task quite like them are likely to be managers who 'spread themselves too thin', so it's vital to avoid threatening their authority or questioning their competence (stock image)

Perfectionists who feel nobody can complete a task quite like them are likely to be managers who ‘spread themselves too thin’, so it’s vital to avoid threatening their authority or questioning their competence (stock image)

9. The indecisive manager

Indecisive managers are notorious for making their staff feel out of control, with ever-changing deadlines and decisions flying back and forth before without any progress.

But as human nature is almost impossible to change, Ms Grainger-Marsh advises focusing on the things you are individually responsible for instead.

Channelling energy into a smaller number of tasks that you work on alone will give you a sense of empowerment and achievement, she says, enough to help you bear the stress of your boss’ indecision.

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