How many hours a week do you work? 37? 45+ ? How much of that time is spent with your manager? If you’re working in an office or close working environment then I would imagine 50% or 100% of the time. One of the main reasons why people leave a company is because of bad styles of management and that normally lies with their direct line manager.
A few of the most common and traditional styles of management from a business managment textbook are defined as:
- Laissez faire
Below are four examples of typical ‘types’ of managers I have personally experienced first and secondhand in the world of advertising in London and beyond:
- ‘The micromanager’ – usually comes from a manager who is lacking trust in their subordinate(s) and their ability to do the job ‘as well as they could’. This isn’t necessarily related to the workers ability but more so on the managers inability to work well in a collective and trust in the work being achieved as a group.
- ‘Your New BFF’ – can be nice to start with, you can go for lunches together and share stories about your personal life. But eventually the role of manager and subordinate will need to be re-established and this could be harder for one of both parties to reinstate. Furthermore it’s important to maintain a work-life balance and if you become too close it could be harder to leave work behind and get some headspace.
- ‘Straight male privilege’ – is quite obvious once you discover it and is well established in every office across the UK and US. But whether you are male or female working with this type of male manager firstly ensure they do not consistently take credit for your work. Try to be present in meetings where you know your work (no matter how big or small the contribution) is being presented. In meetings don’t accept being spoken over and try to ensure your points are heard. If you already know what you want to achieve in the meeting then try to get the backing of another team member who you know will be present in the meeting and will ‘have your back’. Sometimes just having someone else repeat your point will inspire the right person to hear and act.
- ‘Passive aggressive’ – this is possible one of the hardest behaviours to deal with especially in an office environment where any emotion is exacerbated. Working with a manager behaving this way often can be very challenging, they have a tendency to engage in indirect hostile behaviours by acting in ways that expresses stubbornness, they often communicate with subtle insults and deliberately fail to accomplish required tasks. This type of manager can be inconsistent and stressful to work with and it’s wise to be prepared for last minute changes and working late.
As a more junior member of the team having the skill of managing upwards is something that is never really taught in the workplace or spoken about so much but is a skill that’s incredibly useful to your workplace survival. Understanding these styles of management are important to increasing your awareness of why you maybe unhappy at work or struggle to communicate effectively with your manager. If there are patterns of behaviour from your manager that hinder your daily happiness or career progression then don’t be afraid to speak up whether it be directly with your manager or a mentor who can advise.
Read more here on how to manage and limit workplace stress.