5 Common Types of Bosses and Strategies to Handle Them

Working in the financial sector for years has exposed me to various kinds of bosses. Some were challenging to work with, yet I was lucky to have mostly supportive ones guiding me. Moving into sales and marketing, I observed that bosses often tried to form a strong bond with their sales teams.

Angry boss with employees

Perhaps they saw the sales team as the heart of the company, which is why they took extra care of us. However, that didn’t mean things were always smooth. The sales team sometimes faced tough times, especially when we didn’t meet expectations. That’s when you’d really see what your boss was like.

How to Work Well With Your Boss?

Bosses are people too, with their own likes and dislikes. If you know how to play your cards right, you can work with them, not just for them. I’ve known colleagues who weren’t top performers but kept their jobs because they were on good terms with the boss.

Understanding how to work with your boss is a crucial skill that will help you in any job. It’s a key factor in how far you’ll go in your career. While not all bosses fit neatly into five categories, if you recognize yours here, I’ve got some advice on how you can thrive in your workplace.

1. The Boss with a Superiority Complex

This type of boss often raises their voice and looks for chances to criticize others. They seem to think they’re always right and others are wrong. They’re quick to react, preferring to reprimand someone rather than solve the problem at hand. You’ve probably met a boss like this before.

You can tell by their restless demeanor, not just by their tone but also in their posture. If you glance into their office, you’ll notice they’re constantly moving in their chair. Their presence alone can make you tense, anxious about what they might say next.

boss with superiority complex
How to work with them?

To handle this boss, be ready for some tough criticism. They seem to find satisfaction in seeing employees endure their harsh words. If you can do this without showing that you’re upset by their behavior, you’ll stay on their good side.

However, if you try to outsmart them or challenge them, you could jeopardize your position in the company. You may be better suited to working with a different type of boss.

2. The Boss Who Flaunts Their Power

This boss loves to show off their authority, not just at work but sometimes even at home. They enjoy playing the role of the boss and think it’s the most important job in the world.

They’re overly protective of their position and want to seem like they have everything under control, even when they don’t. They may ignore mistakes made by employees, pretending not to notice them.

boss flaunting power
How to work with them?

This boss values discipline over actual performance, believing that with discipline, performance will follow. If you have a boss like this, it’s best not to break the rules too often. And if you do, try not to let them find out. Show them respect, let them feel in charge, and you should be able to continue your work without issue.

3. The Boss Who Feels Out of Place

This boss seems to have landed the role without being quite ready for it. Perhaps they were promoted due to a lack of other candidates, not necessarily because they had the right skills. They’re that person the management had to rely on, despite other options not being available.

In meetings, they often boast about their previous successes, but when it comes to inspiring the team, they fall short. They emphasize the importance of performance but don’t have the management prowess to back it up. Despite their shortcomings and the quiet jokes about them, this boss is diligent and willing to correct their mistakes.

They lack confidence and struggle to stick with a plan when things go awry.

How to work with them?

Offering guidance to this boss is usually appreciated; it’s a chance to build a positive relationship with them. Don’t expect leniency, though – they’re focused on proving themselves and can’t afford slip-ups, either from themselves or their team.

With time and patience, you may find that they grow into the role. Their willingness to learn can eventually make them a competent leader.

4. The Boss Who Intimidates

This boss is all about business, with an aggressive style and a commanding presence. He seems to have a big ego, which he doesn’t leave at the door when he comes to work. Sometimes, it feels like he’s trying to manage the team with an iron fist.

He may come across as threatening to ensure tasks are completed, but he won’t push too far due to his own insecurities – he fears losing his influence over the team.

He’ll occasionally ignore mistakes because he wants to maintain a certain level of control. By nature, he’s more reserved and likes to keep to himself.

agressive intimidating boss
How to work with them?

The best approach with this boss is to respect his space and avoid unnecessary interaction. If you’re clever and can find a way to connect with him, you might even be able to develop a rapport and enjoy some flexibility at work.

But be cautious not to take it too far, as he could also be the one to show you the door if you cross the line.

5. The Boss Who Excels and Influences

This is the ideal leader, someone who steers the company and its employees with skill. They bring a positive energy to the workplace and convince everyone that they can achieve great things, even when times are tough.

They’re serious about their work but aren’t too hard on their team. Influential bosses might not always be motivational, but they know how to push people to their peak performance. They’re very professional and expect the same from their employees.

inspiring boss
How to work with them?

If you do your job well, you’ll find this boss easy to work with. But be careful: if they sense you could overshadow their ambitions, they might see you as a rival and could steer you out of the company.

An influential boss often has a trusted circle who keeps them updated on office dynamics. Stay focused on your tasks, and you’ll likely remain in their good graces.


While we might not all have the chance to work under great leaders, we all must work under a boss – the one who leads an organization or manages a team. Bosses mobilize people towards the company’s goals, and often, people don’t quit their jobs; they quit their bosses.

So, what’s your boss like, and how do you manage your relationship with them?