For better or worse, we all have to “deal” with some form of a manager in our every day lives even though their job role suggests the opposite. Before I begin I’d just like to point out that I am all for management but I do not think that anybody can do it. Mind you, this is contrary to my previous belief that this was indeed a trivial matter; an act of juggling resource and  deadlines. That is, of-course, just the tip of the iceberg. All in all I’ve learnt to appreciate good managers over time and I can smell an incompetent one from 100 yards off. This post aims to partly categorise this species based on personal experience in the past decade. They do exist in other forms, be it mutated or not. .

Headless Chicken

This type is the most common one found in the wild and as the  great late Steve Irwin once said, “Ain’t she a beauty”. This type of a manager is as entertaining as is disastrous. First impression might have you believe that this person could pull off a decent management job on your average day. However, little did you know, that crunch time triggers a frenzy mode for this particular beast. You’ll notice this person running around trying to solve multiple problems at the same time, taking unnecessary ownership of tasks and in the process, causing impediment and distress. Such a manager causes problems at the worst possible time even though s/he might not be aware of it. Dealing Advice Headless Chicken attracts panic from all corners of the world and is oblivious to the idea of composure. If at all possible, tell them to take a holiday while you wrap up the project with the help of somebody who can actually function in that sort of an environment. Show no mercy.

El Salvador

This sort of manager is quite literally a saviour. Usually found during the times when a project appears to be permanently doomed and the higher management decides to put this person in charge to see if resuscitation is a possibility. This manager will spend a reasonable amount of time with the old manager (if s/he is still an employee) and/or the employees to understand the current state of the project. The manager takes some time to evaluate the situation and then makes a series of good decisions to lead the project to an acceptable (if not successful) conclusion. Dealing Advice El Salvador is calm and plays it cool. The team members and the higher management respect this person for effort and tact. Help this manager to achieve goals for the team and the company and ye shall be rewarded with equal respect and/or bonuses. Learn from them.

Humble Bundle

If modesty had a face this manager would be it. Decently knowledgeable and competent in the traits, the humble manager accomplishes a lot with little gloat. People around him/her know this. Such a person is primarily focused on the job at hand and rarely subscribes to the dark arts of water cooler gossip etcetera. S/he has no qualms with working at the sub-ordinates’ level and even getting his/her hands dirty. Modesty is so prevalent that sometimes people around the manager think that s/he might be underselling themselves, but this is rarely the case. Dealing Advice Humble Bundle is a fairly realistic  manager and somebody who is in a position to and is willing to help you. This manager is a pleasure to work with. Help this manager to achieve goals for the team and the company and ye shall be rewarded with equal respect and/or bonuses. Learn from them.

The Imbecile

The crème de la crème (with all sarcasm intended). Usually found in a meeting room trying to look busy. If you don’t know where your manager is, find a meeting room. People lead by this manager soon realise that the only reason they are having meetings is to educate the manager himself. Such managers are rarely worth the time and require a lot of patience to deal with. They are unaware of their own incompetence which is why they are so good at what they do ( no … not the management ). They have no idea what they’re supposed to be doing and therefore try to do everything but alas fail to pass off as even the jacks of all trades let alone kings. Such managers are potentially demoralising as they make people lose faith in the team and in fact even the organisation. These people merely serve as paper boys who pass information around and even that in a convoluted fashion. Dealing Advice The imbecile is relentless. Just another node on the organisational chart. Value your sanity, and ignore them. However, every now and then, take the opportunity to show them the mirror and put them in their rightful place. Show no mercy.

The Accident

Perhaps unknowingly part of a Back to the Future episode, this manager just zaps out of nowhere and into existence. This is a typical case of a wrong person at the right time who just happened to stumble into the world of management. Suffering from extreme cases of insecurity, this manager would, time and time again, try to walk the talk or vice-versa but fail miserably. You’d usually find this manager hanging about typing emails late evenings on some expensive machine that could’ve just been used to do some valuable work. This type of manager is fully aware of the fact that they are in a much better position than they actually deserve and is therefore fairly docile and compliant towards higher management; a yes man and suck up of sorts. Dealing Advice Accident is a fragile soul. Ego is easily hurt but, because of the insecurities, they are fairly aggressive when trying  prove a pointless point. They can get into endless discussions, so avoid engaging. Do what you think needs to be done and ignore. CAUTION: This does not apply to an Accident who is also an Imbecile. For that refer to the dealing advice for the Imbecile. Show no mercy.

The Legend

This manager is as elusive as the Loch Ness monster. As Samuel L. Jackson would probably say, “One bad-ass mother f*****”. The Legend has the war wounds to prove their worth and experience. People have heard stories about this person. There have been plenty of blunders and near (project) death experiences that were avoided solely because of this person. This type of manager has tons of experience and is solely interested in getting the job done. They have no time for politics, being employee of the month or word document formatting and colour schemes. Usually very friendly and helpful, this manager is always keen to guide when approached. Dealing Advice Respect should be given where it is due and the Legend certainly deserves it. Help this manager to achieve goals, treat him like a mentor and  become his/her disciple. Worship.

As mentioned earlier there are a lot of other types but I believe these to be the main ones which is why I shall not go any further. It is difficult to say whether you will meet or have met exactly the same sort of managers in your life. The important thing about the above categories is primarily the qualities ( or lack of ) they represent. Your encounters might be slightly different and perhaps your manager’s type is some combination of the above or might be completely new.