SURVEY SAYS: Boss Personality Types

October 21, 2013 ( – On Boss’s Day, I read about a survey from Fierce, Inc. that claims the majority of bosses fall into one of four personality types.

·         Fierce describes “The Dictator” as a boss who gives orders, the Dictator’s behavior may be a factor of more than just personality—combine lack of time, a demanding role, mixed with stress, and you’ve got a recipe for a Dictator, someone that seems to simply walk, or sometimes run, around giving orders with little or no appetite for feedback.

·         “The Cheerleader” (aka the Softie or the Friend) is easy to work with day-to-day, but in the long haul employees become dissatisfied because they aren’t challenged or given enough constructive feedback to make them better at their jobs.

·         “The Visionary” (aka the Innovator) is focused more on what’s next and what the business will look like in 10 or even 20 years. The Visionary is an inspirational personality for which to work, but may not have much input on the day-to-day work.

·         “The Perfect Boss” is the combination of mentor, leader, and fun-to-be-around person. The perfect boss respects employees and challenges them to be their very best.


Last week, I asked NewsDash readers, does your boss fit into one of the “types,” or is there another category that describes your boss?

More than one-quarter (26.3%) of fortunate responding readers indicated their boss was “The Perfect Boss.” More than 17% have a “Cheerleader” boss, 14% have a “Dictator” boss and 7% have a “Visionary” boss. More than one-third (35.1%) indicated their bosses did not fit into any of those categories.

Those who suggested another category came up with “The Floater,” “The Complete Jerk,” and “The Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” among others. The complete list includes:

·         A combo of cheerleader, visionary and perfect.

·         Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? Enough said.

·         Clueless....

·         The moron. Making multiple bad decisions that their employees have to deal with later.

·         Schizophrenic, moves between personality types, requiring one to guess which type will pop up next (as each type requires different types of interacting).

·         The un-decisive boss. The boss that agrees it’s a good idea, but will never implement. Even if you find something bad, will not correct.

·         The Visitator - part visionary, part dictator, and always charging ahead. Always challenges you to do better and buy into the vision, but tends to give orders and expects your buy-in to the direction of the company.

·         You forgot the "Complete Jerk". I don't think any description is really necessary. We all know the type.

·         "The Very Good Boss." My current boss is very good - but he's not perfect! He's closest to the "Perfect Boss" as described above but he's not there - yet.

·         The category my boss fits under is "the know Nothing". She knows nothing about my job but won't admit it and gets "upset" if I ask a question she does have the answer to.

·         Should have an option of ALL OF THE ABOVE. My boss is ADHD. It certainly keeps me entertained!

·         Benevolent dictator. Easy to work with, but a control freak. No one learns anything useful from him, because he never delegates anything meaningful. Hopelessly stuck with his 1980's business model.

·         The "Only Responsive to Things Important to Him/Her, Otherwise You're on Your Own and Will Definitely Be Criticized for Whatever Decision You Make" type.

·         Retired and collecting a paycheck

·         The "laissez-faire" boss, who just lets me do my job without intervention as long as my numbers come out right in the end.

·         Somewhere between a Dictator and Cheerleader. No feedback, dictating and sometimes friendly. Not to be trusted.

·         "The Floater" is a boss who is focused on not making waves. Does enough to not be scrutinized, but doesn't push the envelope either. Is social, but distant. The Floater creates a work environment that isn't stressful, and yet isn't challenging. Time seems to be lost in this environment.

·         You left out the lunatic!

·         Absent minded professor

·         The Miser--friendly and easy to work with but demands we pinch money to the point of not doing our job!

·         The Micromanager

·         The slacker. Two of us others on the team are really the manager and make sure that everything gets done when needed and questions are answered. He doesn't really do anything except sit back and have us make him look good because his team runs so smoothly.

·         Ugh - definitely a Cheerleader. Your description forgot to mention the "I'm not going to deal with any problems because I might have to deal with conflict" aspect of that type......

·         I had one, once, that was perfect at dictating the cheer. Darn glad I had a vision to move on. I prefer a style more like "Here's the rope but notice there are two nooses, no one swings alone".

·         The Cheerleader to your face, the psycho behind your back.


I also asked readers what, if anything, they did to recognize Boss’s Day this year.

Sixty percent indicated they had no idea it was Boss’s Day. Among those who did, 16% said they and their coworkers gave their bosses a gift. More than 14% wished their bosses a happy Boss’s Day; 9% gave a card as a group with coworkers; more than 5% had a party or social gathering for their boss; nearly 4% gave their bosses a card or e-card; and 2% gave their bosses a gift.

In verbatim responses, most expressed dislike for Boss’s Day, calling it another “Hallmark Holiday.” Some said negative feelings about their bosses caused them to do nothing for Boss’s Day. Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said: “The real Boss is Bruce Springsteen.”


Not only does he not have input on the day-to-day work, he has no concept on what it takes to implement his "visionary" ideas.


On any given day, you could apply these kind of gross generalizations to just about anybody. Being a boss gives you more "power", but it doesn't do anything to transform you from being a human being (though I can think of a couple that...)


There's no winning on Boss' Day - if you do something, you're kissing up. If you don't, well - then you run the risk of looking bad (especially if others in the office have decided to "kiss up.") This is perhaps one of the silliest acknowledgements I have seen - because, to paraphrase something my parents once told me, EVERY day is Boss' Day...


Good flip holiday - most of them don't know about it so it is a total surprise. After it was created I took my then Boss out to lunch and had some great quality time for an hour that interruptions would not have allowed at the office. It was a good investment!


It snuck up on us and we hastily purchased a card and handful of candy.


Another Hallmark holiday?


I tend not to celebrate hallmark holidays. In fact, unless someone at work is getting married, having a baby, buying a house, or having a birthday, I usually don't give gifts. I have a hard time remembering my own family's events.


How convenient, two "Hallmark" holidays within a week! Anyone else not celebrating Sweetest's Day?


There should not be a Boss's Day. They get recognized in their paycheck. It would be nice if the people in the trenches that actually do the work to make them look good were recognized or at least appreciated,


Isn't every day Boss's Day??


The real Boss is Bruce Springsteen.


Another Hallmark Holiday!!

Verbatim (cont.)

Boss's Day is stupid. Like all other "Hallmark Holidays", all you need is one person on a team who feels energized enough to recognize the day with a card and gift, and the rest of the team feels obligated to participate.


Not an easy job! If I didn't like working with my boss I would find another job. So not worth working and spending time with someone I don't like! Life is too short!


Boss's Day, yet another Hallmark Holiday to ignore.


Knew it was bosses day, but chose to ignore it due to his classification in the category of fierce dictator.


A ridiculous holiday in which we feel the need or guilt to get him a gift/card even though none of us feels it is worth it.


Butts in Chairs! Butts in Chairs! - This is my boss's motto 🙂


My boss was in a foul mood so I didn't even mention it.


Another "Hallmark Holiday" - I'm not sure any boss worth their salt takes this seriously.


How 'bout a nationwide no BS for the sake of PC day. Imagine what we'd learn, for example; that it's not so much what we don't know that'll hurt us as much as what we know for certain that just isn't so.


I knew it was bosses day but since my boss doesn't see fit to recognize what those of us who work for him contribute (he continually takes credit for the work we do) we choose not to recognize bosses day.


Overrated. You should tell each other when you are doing a good job and that your work/support is appreciated at the time of the experience. Not wait until a "special day."



NOTE: Responses reflect the opinions of individual readers and not the stance of Asset International or its affiliates.