When you understand your boss, you know how to be a more effective employee -- and increase your own job security.
If you want to have a better relationship with your boss, it helps to know what kind of boss he or she is. "You need to know how to interact with your boss if you want to be more valuable to your employer," Karol Wasylyshyn tells me. "You will go further in your career, and be more valuable, if you know how to manage your boss."
In order to help you learn how to manage your boss, Wasylyshyn wrote Behind the Executive Door: Unexpected Lessons for Managing Your Boss and Career. As a psychologist, Wasylyshyn has studied various behavioral dimensions of leadership, and creativity. "Leadership books are all about leaders," she says. "But I believe it's possible to for people to manage their bosses.
"Sometimes we need to know how to work with those leaders. I'm trying to convey very important things about leadership types, and provide clues about how to deal with bosses who may have particular traits."
The 3 Types of ExecutivesBefore writing Behind the Executive Door, Wasylyshyn looked at more than 300 case studies and used them to categorize executives into distinct types.
"In 30 years of consulting, I've found that the three types are Remarkable, Perilous, and Toxic," she explains. "Understanding which type your boss is, and knowing how to work with that, can be a great help to you as an employee."
Wasylyshyn categorizes these leaders in terms of "innate capabilities" (IQ) and "emotional intelligence" (EQ):
- Remarkable: These types of bosses have high IQ and high EQ. They are gifted, and they understand others. They know their own strengths, and limitations.
- Perilous: While a perilous boss might have the same high IQ as a remarkable boss, the EQ is less evolved. Additionally, there is some self-doubt with a perilous boss, and he or she might exhibit some self-destructive behaviors that can hold him or her back.
- Toxic: While some toxic bosses are gifted intellectually, they show almost no interest in learning new things, and they have serious EQ issues. They lack self-awareness, and they have a hard time understanding others. They are often self-absorbed and egotistical.
Working with each type of boss has its own challenges, and Wasylyshyn uses her long experience and study to help you understand what you can do to interact better with your boss. She is also careful to point out that people -- including your boss -- change. "You have to realize that your boss might not be locked in. A perilous boss can evolve into a remarkable boss. You need to be aware of this, and make sure you evolve to match your boss."
Evolution or Escape?
Wasylyshyn doesn't think that you should just stick around in every work situation, though. "In some cases, a toxic boss can be a real problem. This book can help you plan an escape if you need it, and to move on as positively as you can."
Behind the Executive Door offers great insights into different types of bosses, and can even provide you with insight into your own personality and leadership type. By carefully considering your situation, learning your own strengths, and using them to be more useful to your employer, you can improve your job stability -- even during tough economic times.
"One of your most important relationships in life is with your boss," Wasylyshyn points out. "Know where your boss is on the continuum, and know what adjustments you need to make to work effectively so that you are seen as a valuable asset."