Leadership

Who’s Your Boss? – Understanding Leadership Styles

In every work environment, you encounter different leadership styles among managers. Some might have exceptional leaders, but others might experience a manager with not-so-great leadership. Leadership styles vary broadly from one manager to the next and from situation to situation. So, how do you know what type of leadership style your manager has? Here is a list of the most common leadership styles and a description of what they are to help you identify the type of manager you work for.

1. Authoritarian.

The authoritarian leader exudes extreme power over their employees. This leader calls all the shots and does not leave much decision making up to the team. They have a vision they want to achieve and know exactly how they’re going to get there … no matter what. With this type of leader they won’t ask employees to do something – they will tell you to do something. If so, to keep the peace, do what is asked without griping or complaining.

Leaders who fall under this category are also classified as transactional leaders. Basically, these are no-nonsense leaders who lay down the law to their employees from day one. Team members have no say and the manager doesn’t really focus on helping the team grow and develop – they just want the work done right.

2. Bureaucratic. This individual is a rule follower and makes sure that the team sticks to the rules. They don’t allow for team brainstorming or coming up with creative new ways to accomplish work. To stay on this leader’s good side, make sure you are following the rules. Over time, this leader may become comfortable with new ideas that you propose – just remember to relate them back to the company and show how they follow the rules and meet company standards.

3. Democratic. A democratic leader is the exact opposite of an authoritarian. They involve the team in decision-making processes, and take all suggestions into account when making the final decision. Also, a democratic leader is considered to be a transformational leader because they focus on the future and on positive growth at work. They want to help others become better leaders as well.

With democratic leaders, feel free to voice opinions or suggestions that you might have. Tell them why you believe in an idea or support or dislike something in the workplace. They will respect your interest in the business.

4. Laissez-Fair. A leader with this style tends to be hands off and allows the team to make all the decisions. In French, laissez-fair means “leave it be” or “let it be.” Basically, this leader leaves everything alone and puts the team in charge. However, this can create a stressful, chaotic environment that lacks direction and goes nowhere.

Unfortunately with this type of leader, they are not very interested in an organization, and there is little that an employee can do to improve the situation. An organization needs leadership to survive. If your organization is dealing with a laissez-fair leader, it might be in the best interest to elect someone into the leadership role who will be involved in the organization.

As you can see, the top leadership styles vary widely and range from the good to the bad. Apply this information to find out what type of leader you work for and to make the best of your workday.

Bad Boss of the Week: Wall Street’s Gordon Gekko

This week’s bad boss is corrupt corporate raider, Gordon Gekko from the 1987 film Wall Street. Gordon, played by Michael Douglas, is a dishonest Wall Street player who values the almighty dollar above all else. His unprincipled priorities leave no room to value companies or employees beyond financial profit. His love for money does not even flinch in the face of illegal activities.

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Watch more Wall Street videos on AOL Video

If you’ve had a bad boss who would stop at nothing for a buck, here are some tips to help you survive the greed:

  • Money can be a great motivator, but it can not buy you happiness. Don’t get caught up in the highly contagious greed.
  • If faced with illegal or unethical demands, choose to do the right thing no matter what, even if means finding a new job.
  • Help your boss realize how their decisions impact others.
  • Find value in things outside of work.

Share your bad boss stories at www.100worstbosses.com. For more information about 100 Worst Bosses – Learning from the Very Worst How to Be Your Very Best and the Movin’ on Up Bad Boss of the Week, click here.

Bad Boss of the Week: A Christmas Carol’s Ebenezer Scrooge

Ebenezer Scrooge – the self-centered, tight-fisted, hum bug in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol – is this week’s bad boss. His constant malice, degrading demeanor, and entire lack of work/life balance make him the classic bad boss.

While there’s a great deal to be said for hard work, knowing how to balance business with life is an important and necessary skill that eluded Scrooge for much of his career.  He spent most of his life at work and expected his employee, Bob Crachit, to do the same, only reluctantly giving him Christmas day off.

Have you found that your work/life balance can be more work than life?  In order to keep pace with a workaholic boss, here are three things you can do to reprioritize your life and still meet their expectations.

1. Discuss and understand your employer’s expectations
2. Take time to evaluate your goals and priorities
3. Establish an agreed-upon plan in advance, including deadlines and time off.

To view a clip of Ebenezer Scrooge in action, click here.

Share your bad boss stories at www.worstbosses.com. For more information about 100 Worst Bosses – Learning from the Very Worst How to Be Your Very Best and the Movin’ on Up Bad Boss of the Week, click here.

Bad Boss of the Week: In Good Company’s Carter Duryea

In Good Company’s Carter Duryea doesn’t have any over-the-top quirks, personality traits or attitude issues that make him impossible to work for. In fact, he’s quite likeable – even charming. What makes him this week’s bad boss is his inexperience. His lack of work experience causes him to have tunnel vision and he fails to focus on his clients’ needs.

Carter replaces a highly qualified twenty-year executive veteran of an advertising company after a corporate takeover. When Carter takes a mature, and seemingly conservative, client out to a hip-hop concert, his ostentatious sales approach exposes his inexperience as he fails to connect with his client. To watch a clip, click here.

So how do you cope with an inexperienced boss? Start with these 4 tips.

  1. Recognize and acknowledge the skills they have
  2. Be patient
  3. Guide and teach them
  4. Give them time and space to grow

Share your bad boss stories at www.worstbosses.com. For more information about 100 Worst Bosses – Learning from the Very Worst How to Be Your Very Best and the Movin’ on Up Bad Boss of the Week, click here.

Bad Boss of the Week: Arrested Development’s Gob Bluth

Gob (pronounced “Job”) Bluth’s colossal incompetence and complete lack of qualification and experience make him this week’s Movin’ On Up Bad Boss of the Week. Gob is a deficient magician who is briefly appointed – by his mother – to be president of the family business, The Bluth Company, on the sitcom Arrested Development.

Hopefully, you’ve never had a boss so incompetent, inept, and unfocused that they’ve managed to make their office into a pool room, turn their desk into a massage table, and cost the company $45,000 in damages – all within their first three hours on the job. But, if you’ve ever had a boss who left you wondering what dark magic they used to get where they are, here are five tips to help you manage the situation and successfully work with a truly bad boss. 

1. Manage up
2. Don’t undermine their authority
3. Support the strengths they have
4. Focus on doing your best job
5. Take responsibility for the things you can

Have you worked with an incompetent boss like Gob? How did you work through the situation?

Share your bad boss stories at www.worstbosses.com. For more information about 100 Worst Bosses – Learning from the Very Worst How to Be Your Very Best and the Movin’ on Up Bad Boss of the Week, click here.

Bad Bosses: Have You Worked for One?

Most of us have had a bad boss – or two – in our work history. From the irrational to the absolutely, even clinically, insane, bad bosses and their impressions leave catastrophes in their wake. But, if you think that the icy, fear-inducing Miranda Priestly or the awkwardly dense Michael Scott couldn’t hold a candle to a chart-topping bad boss you’ve had, now’s your chance to share your story.


Express Employment Professionals is working with best-selling author Jim Stovall to gather stories for his next book, titled 100 Worst Bosses – Learning from the Very Worst How to Be Your Very Best. To share your story, visit www.worstbosses.com. Your identity, the employer’s identity, and the company’s name will be altered to maintain your confidentiality. If your story is selected to be among the 100 Worst Bosses stories featured, you will receive an autographed, pre-release copy of the book.


Need some bad boss inspiration to help jog your buried memories of an awful boss? Visit the Movin’ on Up blog every Friday in June and July for our highlighted Hollywood bad boss of the week. Check out this week’s bad boss highlight: The ever ridiculous Michael Scott character, on NBC’s The Office, unnecessarily worries his employees when he prematurely spills the beans about their branch office closing before corporate makes a final decision.

Earning a Promotion: 3 Things You Can Learn from Your Boss

Your boss was given the responsibility and the corner office for a reason, so if you’re looking for a promotion, look no further than them for guidance. Observing your boss and following their lead will give you a leg up when you’re ready to seek a promotion. Here are three things you can focus on and learn from, so start paying attention.

Management Style – Every leader has a different way of leading their team, including your boss. So, watch how your boss interacts with your co-workers, delegates projects, and recognizes accomplishments. Also, notice how your co-workers react to their behavior to learn what works and what doesn’t. You’ll realize that different personality types require different types of leadership styles. For example, your boss will most likely allow high performers to self manage more than new employees. Demonstrate this knowledge when you interview for a promotion by talking about specific management scenarios that you would use in each situation.

Professionalism – Observe your boss interacting with their peers, supervisor, and other company executives. Pay attention to how they handle situations – both good and bad. A world-class leader respects their co-workers and superiors and earns their respect in return. Also, take note of when your boss is praised for their work and what they did to earn that praise. By emulating their behaviors, treating others with respect, and acting and reacting professionally, you can build your leadership ability and presence within the company.

Wardrobe Choices – You might not consider how you dress to be important to your career, but it does matter when you want to get ahead at work. You don’t have to wear $1,000 suits to receive a promotion, but you do need to dress professionally. Observe what your boss wears to the office every day. Are you wearing something comparable? If not, you’re not helping your professional image. So, follow your boss’s lead and wear similar clothing styles. That doesn’t mean you have to copy their wardrobe shirt for shirt or shoe for shoe, but if your boss is wearing a suit every day and you’re wearing khakis and a polo shirt, it’s time to step it up a notch.

Earning a promotion takes more than just being well-versed in your subject area, industry, and company. Companies want to develop well-rounded individuals into leaders who can represent their company professionally. That’s why people who know how to manage others, act professionally, and dress the part have a great shot at moving up the career ladder. And, who better to learn from than the individuals your company already trusts and respects as leaders?

What have you learned from a manager that helped you develop your career? As a manager, what advice would you give others to help them move up the corporate ladder? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section!