Working Effectively with All Types of Managers

As you work your way up the ladder from entry-level employee to an eventual CEO position, you will likely work with many different types of managers along the way.

Understanding the various management styles and how to work effectively with each can make life a lot easier for you, as well as help you shape your particular management style when you start playing at that level. Following are some examples of management styles and the best strategies for working with them.


Micromanagers are very controlling and often have trouble delegating tasks. They may make employees uncomfortable by continually looking over their shoulder and correcting them as they work.

The best way to handle a micromanager is to submit to it initially. Showing resistance or frustration can amplify the overbearing behaviours. Instead, build trust by consistently keeping your word and delivering your work in excellent condition. Over time, a micromanager will loosen their grip.

Passive managers

Sometimes managers are afraid of making their employees unhappy and don’t offer the kind of feedback necessary for positive growth. You may also not get clear instructions or understand their real expectations of you. That can lead to a feeling of frustration or failure, wanting to achieve highly at work but not having the necessary information to do so.

Dealing with a passive manager means that you will have to step up and ask questions. To avoid a conversation that feels too confrontational to your manager, begin by asking for positive feedback on the successful elements of your work, before following up with questions about how you could do better.

Indecisive or impulsive managers

It can be challenging to work for a manager who hesitates to make decisions or who reacts quickly but then changes their mind. In this case, you don’t have control over the way the organisation runs, but you can focus on how you react to the chaos.

Focus on the things you can control and don’t worry about the rest. Arrange your work in a way that tackles the most flexible elements of the project first, and leave the set-in-stone portions until after your boss has had some time to rethink.

Don’t confront or challenge an indecisive or impulsive manager. Instead, repeat what you’re hearing from them in a non-judgmental way. This allows them to augment or adjust their instructions.

Missing managers

If your manager is rarely available, it is your responsibility to keep track of what you need from them.

Try to schedule a regular meeting and come to it prepared to address all of those questions. Bombarding your boss as they come through the door for a half-hour won’t get you anywhere.

It can also help to recognise when your boss is most available. That is when you approach them.

For example, if your boss is rarely in the office but works at night, write an email during your regular working hours. Then send it later in the day when you know it will pop right up on their screen.

Though you may not want to respond to any advice until the morning, at least you will have it available when your workday begins.

Understanding what manager you have affects your productivity. It also reduces stress for both of you. Moreover, the ability to work with all types of people is vital to advance your career aspirations.