What kind of Managers do you work with?
Updated: Oct 20
There have been articles recently written in Harvard Business Review and Forbes about organisational culture, how to work with your managers and what kind of leaders you work with and have in an organisation. I thought it might be apt to muscle in on my perspective on the managers I have encountered while working in organisations. To be clear, there is no exhaustive list of the types of managers one can and will encounter in any organization. What is more important to note is that the types of managers in one way or more can be why people leave organisations.
Type 1 – The Over-Promise and Under-Deliver Manager
This type of manager will agree to almost everything to get your support but never deliver what they promise. They will find reasons to cover their inability to lead others. In an organization I used to work for, a manager told me he liked my ideas and would provide all the support I needed to develop the business. Two weeks later, he turned mental and started to pick on everything I did (even when he had earlier agreed on the course of action). He became very temperamental and demanded ridiculous results. ‘You should not go to network events if you cannot guarantee you can get business from attending these events’.
Type 2 – The Elusive Manager
This type of manager, to me, is the most peculiar. This type of manager will paint you a very rosy picture of the role you are employed for, share his strategy (broad strategy – the organisation’s), and lead you to believe that you have all the support and tools to become successful. In my last role working for an organisation, I had a manager who started very nice, and then he started to keep things to himself. We used to do weekly catch-ups with another colleague, but that eventually stopped. He would not share his strategies, and we were all left to our devices. I was happy to have the autonomy and to be able to look at different avenues to bring in revenue. He kept me away from what other colleagues were doing in other regions, even when I often insisted on being involved in their weekly meetings. What perplexed me was that we sat close to each other (in an open-plan office), but he did not communicate. I remember that on various occasions, clients would call, and I could not help because I was not kept in the loop. After attempts at trying to get him to communicate openly, I gave up.
Type 3 – The Sly Manager
This type of manager, the most sinister of the lot, will take credit for work done by someone else and does not like to be outshone by others. In one of my earliest jobs, I reported to a managing consultant based in Singapore. It was particularly interesting that as someone who has been in the organisation for 3 years and has done various projects, she has conveniently ‘forgotten’ to tell me the procedures and processes. When I approached her for information on clients, projects or even products, all I got from her was, ‘they are all in the shared folders. Look for them yourself. Surprisingly after sieving through folder after folder, the information I was supposed to find was never there in the first place, was incomplete or outdated. She, somehow, was always able to have that information (updated) on hand. I found out later from other colleagues that sharing was not her virtue, as she kept most of the information in her folders on her computer
I remember one incident where she got upset that I made contact with my peers in Europe. She told me that I should not initiate contact with other colleagues as all introductions should be done by her. I ignored her and collaborated well with my colleagues in Europe, the States and Australia. Needless to say, I had various altercations with her (not because I chose to do so deliberately), but the games she played were just too petty, and unfortunately, she had the upper hand as she sat next to the boss, I was swiftly told off.
I learned from all this that there are all sorts of people in an organisation. When some are given power, rightfully so or not, some will choose to lead others by doing things that benefit them, while others will lead others like a good leader should. While one cannot choose who one works with, one needs to either work around such managers or take the bold step of leaving the organisation.