Special offer 

Jumpstart your hiring with a $75 credit to sponsor your first job.*

Sponsored jobs are 4.5X more likely to result in a hire.**
  • Invite matched candidates to apply.
  • Increase your visibility in job search results
  • Appear to more candidates longer

Five Types of Bosses, Which One Are You?

There are many different types of bosses, managers or other leadership roles that have been made famous throughout history and that you may encounter in the workplace. Each of these types of supervisors is unique in their style of leadership and approach to management. Some leaders may be more effective at leading and motivating their employees than others. Understanding these supervision styles can help you become a better leader to benefit your team and your company.

Related: What Are the Roles and Responsibilities of a Manager?

Post a Job

What is a boss?

A boss, or more formally addressed as a manager, team leader or supervisor, is someone who oversees employees of a company or organization. Their job is to make important decisions and to ensure tasks are completed and the company is meeting its goals. The most effective leaders can motivate, inspire and lead a company and its employees to success. While there are some who may only be concerned with their own success, there are also others who are excited and driven to see their employees and company achieve their goals. You may have worked with several types of bosses throughout your career.

Related: Five Management Tips You Can Try Today

The five types of bosses

The type of leader you decide to be can have a significant effect on the success of the company, your team and employee morale. If you’re in a managerial role, you establish the rules for how your company operates and what type of people work for you. To be an effective leader, it’s necessary to consider the fundamentals of being a good manager.

It’s a good idea to create a strong foundation for your role as a leader and to be respected by your employees while making sure they’re happy, motivated and committed. A great leader can help make a successful and driven team and ultimately create a company that people are proud to work for. Here are five types of supervision that bosses can exhibit:

1. The participative leader

This type of leader strives to do anything for the company. Whether it’s a project that needs to be completed or there’s a deadline that has to be reached, they’ll work long nights and may even work weekends to ensure tasks are completed. This leader is a great motivator, as they’re more than willing to be directly involved in the work. The success of the company is their top priority.

To excel if you’re this type of leader, strive to increase your work-life balance. While your dedication to the company may set a positive example for employees, these types of supervisors run the risk of burnout. Also, be careful not to take on too much on your own. Delegating to your team will not only take some stress off of you but will also allow those you supervise to feel more like part of the team.

Related: How (and Why) to Support Employee Work-Life Balance

2. The outspoken leader

This type of leader tends to be favored the least by employees. Though they can be outspoken, they believe they’re simply concerned with the company’s best interest. This leader can sometimes make work feel challenging, as they tend to expect their employees to do as they’re directed and may raise their voice to get a point across, believing that the louder they are, the more likely their employees will understand how important the task is. However, they may not realize they could help improve productivity and employee morale with a friendlier disposition.

To excel if you’re this type of leader, monitor your volume and think before you speak. Invest as much time in listening as you do in speaking. Otherwise, you run the risk of employees coming to view as authoritarian. Teams that feel ruled rather than led are more likely to experience low morale, which can negatively impact employee turnover and productivity.

3. The experienced leader

These types of supervisors have been working for the same company for a long time. They have an affinity for the way things used to be and because of this, they may not understand where the company is heading in the future as quickly as others. While this type of leader may be resistant to change and new methods, they have gained a breadth of knowledge over the years that can be beneficial to the company. In addition, while they may not be fond of change, it doesn’t mean they’re completely closed off to the idea.

To excel if you’re this type of leader, reflect on changes before you communicate them to your employees, and practice what you will say when you deliver the news. Remember that your body language and tone can speak as loudly as your words. Even if you say all the right things, your hesitancy to embrace changes may come through and negatively impact your team.

Read more: Best Practices for Managing Change in the Workplace

4. The bold leader

This type of leader has a strong personality, feels a lot of self-admiration and enjoys being in a managerial position. They tend to have high expectations for their employees and may take responsibility for their achievements without necessarily sharing the workload. This type of leader may be challenging to work and communicate with. However, if employees are following the rules and doing things their way, the company will run smoothly.

To excel if you’re this type of leader, remember you’re not a one-person show. Giving credit where credit is due won’t just foster a better relationship with your team but may also encourage future productivity, which will make you and them look good. Also, be careful not to shut down all feedback. Not listening to others’ opinions could mean missing out on a great idea that makes your team more successful.

Related: Creating a Positive Feedback Loop in Your Business (With Examples)

5. The best friend boss

This type of boss is less interested in being their employees’ superior and more interested in being their best friend. They’re concerned with being liked by their employees, and they often serve as a great advocate for team members. This leader inspires and motivates their employees by treating them as equals rather than subordinates, which can improve morale and increase productivity. Employees who like their supervisors tend to be happier going to work than those whose supervisors may be more challenging to work for.

To excel if you’re this type of leader, create and follow clear boundaries between yourself and your employees. Don’t overshare about your personal life or expect your team to perform tasks that go outside of their assigned duties as a favor to you.

6. The laissez-faire boss

Also known as free-reign bosses, these types of supervisors stay out of the way, giving their subordinates full freedom to complete their job duties as they see fit. This type of supervision style may build employee confidence by allowing them to solve their own problems. For new hires, however, the lack of direction can be stressful. Supervisors who manage this style may also run into problems with work quality, missed deadlines or compliance issues.

To excel if you’re this type of leader, make sure that your team knows you’re there even if you’re not going to stand over their shoulder. Let your employees know that your door is open if they want to bounce ideas off you or get advice on how to handle a task or situation. Also, check in with your team daily to monitor work progress.

Types of bosses FAQs

What makes someone a good boss?

A good leader has the ability to direct, motivate and mentor their employees. They should be trustworthy and honest so that employees feel comfortable going to them when they need help or have questions. A good leader should also be willing to give feedback and receive it.

Can someone be a good boss but not a good manager?

Every good manager is a leader to some degree, as they are responsible for guiding their employees to achieve the company’s vision and goals. However, just as there are many managers who may not be effective leaders, there are many leaders who may not be skilled at overseeing employees or running an entire company.

How does a boss motivate themselves?

Employees tend to look to their leaders for inspiration and motivation, so it’s important for supervisors to stay motivated. There are many ways leaders can motivate themselves, including setting and achieving goals, mentoring a new hire or participating in team-building exercises with their employees.

What can a boss do to increase employee loyalty?

There are many ways a leader can increase their employees’ loyalty to a company. For example, they can empower the team by giving them more autonomy and allowing them to make their own decisions. Other ways to increase loyalty include offering employees competitive and fair pay, improving company culture and avoiding micromanagement.

Post a Job

Ready to get started?

Post a Job

*Indeed provides this information as a courtesy to users of this site. Please note that we are not your recruiting or legal advisor, we are not responsible for the content of your job descriptions, and none of the information provided herein guarantees performance.

Editorial Guidelines