Optimise your relationship with your overly-efficient boss
Workplace relationships are a tricky thing. You spend so much time together and are expected to work together to produce results in spite of your different working styles. Dealing with colleagues may be slightly easier because you could outright confront your differences and ways of compromise through open discussion.
Doing so with your boss is slightly more challenging. You usually need to conform to his style of doing things, or risk his or her bad impression of you. Talking about how to work better would likely be seen as a challenge of power or symptom of disrespect.
For the next few weeks, I will be focusing on typical difficult boss Enneagram types and how to deal with them. If you see some of these traits in your boss, it might be time to stop begrudging him or her, and take on my advice to improve your work relationship. This week, we get a glimpse into how to deal with a boss that is driven by his pride and how he looks to others.
Type 3 Bosses – The “Competent” Boss
Traits of Type 3 Bosses
Type 3 bosses, or the achievers, are very fast-paced and efficient. They are driven by the need to be successful and look good. They are result-oriented and can be less empathetic. It can be challenging to keep up with a boss that expects quick work with amazing results. You can also sometimes feel like a dispensable minion in his team that can be replaced for the next person who will work as hard or produce the same results.
Dealing with Type 3 Bosses
1. Summarise and Offer Options
When requesting for decisions from your type 3 boss, he would greatly appreciate if you thought about what he knows and what he has done, and then offer a few options that he can choose from. He would prefer quick and efficient decision making as opposed to a long conversation about things everyone in the room knows about.
Sometimes he would not like to make unpopular decisions that make him look bad. However, he may do so if it is the shortest way to success. If you can give him a proposal that works well both ways would be most ideal! Enable him to optimize decision making by having a clear argument for the decision you think is best and do not beat about the bush.
2. Keep it Private
Your type 3 boss may take pride in his appearance and the impression he gives more than anything. He always needs to look good. Help him to do that, and he will like you better as a member of his team. Remember to never say no to him in public or put him down in public. Never appear confrontational in public. If you disagree with him or want to discuss something with him, keep it private.
3. Enable Him to Show His Best
In the same vein of always trying to look good, you can get on his good side by giving him tasks that put his best side forward. He would do things based on the associated feeling of the tasks. For example, he would love to do presentations and be the face that fronts the project. Logistical and miscellaneous work, on the other hand, may give him no motivation or good feelings. Set a stage for them. They will enjoy it, and a happy boss means a happy you.
4. Do Not Take It Personally
At times, type 3 bosses may not be emotionally sensitive as they just want to get the job done. In periods of stress especially, they will be especially task oriented and will not be inclined to engage in small talk. When you are out sick, his predominant concern could be “Who would be covering for your work?” rather than “How are you? Did you see a doctor?”. Do not perceive his lack of care for your health to be insensitive. Simply understand that it is about work, and amidst the list of things to do running through his mind, that is his priority. It is nothing personal.
5. Help Your Boss Take a Break
Being task-oriented, your boss is likely to over work himself. As a type 3, he is heart centred, meaning that he is most likely to be upset, rather than angry in times of stress and frustration. Combat his negative emotions with him by helping him relax and take a break. Type 3s tend to turn back to work or hide behind his image when stressed. Use this to your advantage. When you sense this, ask him out for a drink to destress and take time to take mind off work.
6. Ask Him About His Experiences
Type 3 bosses can make good mentors. He would have a lot to share if you humble yourself to press into his life. Given enough trust and openness, he would be more than happy to share his stories and expertise. Learn more from and create a better relationship with your boss by asking him out to learn from his breadth of experiences. Sitting down and chatting with such bosses are likely to be more inspiring than you think.