Below are several approaches to try on different personality types that may be helpful:

Can be overly emotional, volatile, intense, intimidating, unpredictable, reactionary or even bullying.

Approaches to try: Stay calm and resist responding until they are calmed down again. Often with individuals like this, their stress levels are high, and any unwelcome or unexpected response can make the situation worse. Once they are calm you can try to clarify any expectations they have for you.


Rarely trusts anyone to do anything right, feels that employees or upper management will let them down or are out to get them.

Approaches to try: Do not challenge or question them. Provide ample information about your work whenever asked. Do not take risks or try things without getting permission first.


Risk Averse
Usually afraid of being judged or criticized so may be afraid of taking even reasonable chances. May avoid change and want to explore ideas extensively before they are ready to take action.

Approaches to try: Slow down and stick to the procedures and responsibilities given to you in training. Point out any risks associated with not doing things differently if you want to influence change.


Brick Wall
Seems hard to read and not very social. Does not demonstrate empathy or emotion. Only communicates when necessary and even then, it is quite limited.

Approaches to try: Sometimes this type prefers written communication to allow them time to think about and articulate their response. Try to give them space and limit any spontaneous communication if possible. Resist confrontation.


Hot and Cold
This type may act like they are agreeable to your face, but then may go against you behind your back. They may have a difficult time simply stating their opinion, so they avoid conflict by seeming to get along while quietly resisting or even sabotaging things they don’t like by dragging their feet or not doing as they said.

Approaches to try: Don’t argue or debate with them.  Ask what they want and how they want it. Do not assume that they agree or will provide you with support when needed.


This type may act like it is always all about them and that this is how it should be. They do not react well to criticism and rarely will admit to making a mistake.

Approaches to try: Flattery usually works well and conversely you will probably regret ever questioning or blaming them for anything that goes wrong. Simply state the issue you have and seek their wise counsel on how you might solve it.


May seem to enjoy being the centre of attention or may focus their attention only for a short period of time on any one thing before they are excited or upset about something else.

Approaches to try: Pay attention when they are in front of you and let them have the floor. Resist giving any advice or taking focus away from them.


This leader could have many strange, unreasonable, or impractical ideas. Their visions could be impossible to execute, or they may not communicate them well.

Approaches to try: Try to understand the intended outcome of their ideas and look for ways to help get to that result. If the ideas involve you, ask what is specifically required to you and how they will measure success so that you know your part is being done well, even if the rest is not.


This type is probably motivated by fear of being judged or criticized themselves, so they worry obsessively about most details of the work that anyone is doing for them. Their demands may seem impossible or they may slow you down by wanting to be involved or aware every step of the way.

Approaches to try: Of course, you will want to pay close attention to detail with this boss, but you also may want to find ways to assure them that your work will be up to agreed upon standards.


For further advice & support contact EAP Assist.