Understanding Your Boss & Their Leadership Behaviours

Can we all agree that we have been to a situation at work where you felt like your boss is a “dictator” and “autocrat bastards”? Excuse my language, but let’s just be real, we all have gone through that worst emotions. Your supervisors keep bossing you around and that makes you feel crappy, feeling criticized, agitated, untrusted and constant reminders (days and nights) from your boss calling out to you in emails. If he/she is a total “Nazi”, chances are you will continue to feel crappy even if you have made a great achievement (s) and never been acknowledged. I’ve been there! But what about those boss (es) you have worked for, who started like an autocrat, squeezing you like ‘sponge’ then turned out to be an understanding friend (after a while) but then pointing out stuffs once in a while like an uncle and eventually both of you feel like on a beach because he no longer CCTV-ing your project .

Yes, it damn sucks at first but such rewarding in the end!

How is that so?

The thing about being managed in a team is that you have to learn to understand your leaders or supervisors or boss or whoever you are working for. I have no idea of all this till I attend 3 hours talk with the owner of The Eurasia Consortium company, Stuart Kewley himself, who flew down from Oxford to share his thoughts and experience on this specific topics,” Working With The International Company, Do You Have What It Takes?”.

One of the interesting fact that he shared with us was the Ohio State Leadership Quadrant.

Being managed and managing people isn’t an easy task, it can be tricky. if you are now currently a team member and maybe moving up in your career being a manager or/new manager (congrats!) or even hoping to make a move soon, what I am about to share could be something beneficial for you.

Apparently, leaders exhibit two types of behaviour. A people oriented (considerate) or/and task-oriented (initiator). Considerate leaders are described as a person who is dominantly motivated and concerned with their interactions with people around them. An initiator is dominantly motivated by tasks accomplishment by organising their time around a schedule of projects.

Let’s take a view of the chart above as a new employee in a company. You have no idea what’s going on in that organisation and you either eager to apply your impressive experiences to the new role or super-nervous about the new responsibilities that you are hired for.

An Autocrat

Low consideration and high initiation – “You do as I say”

In order to make changes and things better, a good trait of leaders will get to know their team. They will be observing the employees lives, personality, and possibly something in work habit that needs improvements. I remember how my boss had a one-one-one catch-up and coffee sessions with me to connect with me individually. He started by clarifying his goals to the team and his expectation on the role I am hired for. He verbalises the team goals to make sure that I (or us, in a team) understand what is expected out of my role/team.  Nothing was worse than trying to read his mind, so, clarity like this helps all team members like me. At this stage, they (the boss) can be brutally honest in their comments as they only care to initiate structure in team members’ work. How did I survive this autocrat? I didn’t (try and try and practice to try) take things personally, after all, it is all for your own growth (mindset, guys!).

Friend

High consideration and high initiation – “I will let you do yourself”

Being a ‘friend’ to your boss or to your employees isn’t about having personal liking or chemistry but it is all about being a good ‘coach’. Being a ‘friend’ in this context means friends trust each other and don’t check up on each other all the time. But an important thing when you are at this stage, be it if you are an employee or a lead, your relationship at work should be bounded and defined. No sorpresa if you hear your boss says these to you,“Do you think it is the best way of doing this task?” and/or “How would you do it differently”. After 3-5 months being lead by an autocrat, my boss no longer continually sending me reminder emails/ slacks, asking for updates, constantly evaluating my works but he still have expectations but mutual (it means less demanding and not one-sided). An important tip when your boss started to be friend with you (in this context), you should learn to not take an advantage and stay focus on your given works. They’re not about liking, chemistry or personal because that kind of relationship will only produce a huge disappointment in the long run.

Uncle

High consideration and low initiation – “Don’t call me unless you need me”

In my own interpretation, when you reach this quadrant, you possibly in a ‘happy’ or ‘satisfying’ state with your daily life at work. Because, in this stage, as an employee, you are doing a great job at work and he/she (the boss) don’t have to offer his help anymore unless you consult for his advice. And if you ask, they knew you are only asking things that are really new to you or met a dead end (provided that you have done everything you can under your supervision and capability). “Do you need my help?” or/and “Just slack me if you need me” line my boss threw on me when he possibly trusts that I could handle a specific project given.

On the beach

Low consideration and low initiation – “I’m out and moving to the next project”

Yup! That’s right “on the beach”. Have you been to a beach, lying down in your swimming suit, carefree about anything else but just enjoying the view at the beach? That is the kind of feelings your boss possibly felt and given to you when he no longer needs to even think of the project. If this happens, you can start hoping for the next level of movement in your career (Congrats!) or expecting a new project to venture into at work.

While you are extremely hating your boss or trying to be a good boss, it is crucial for you to stop everything you are feeling right now, the first thought you have in mind is not always right. Take time to understand which quadrant you are possibly in right now.

Do yourself a favour, invest a time to do self-discovery and you may able to find a jigsaw solve the puzzle you have at work. Consider yourself being mentored (as an employee) or to mentor (as a boss) and the possibilities for you to manage a team (or bigger team) someday.

In Sha Allah.

Anyone else experiences the four quadrants like above? As an employee or as a lead?

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