Essential Skills for Creating A Dynamite Relationship with Your Boss


By: Gail Solish

At some point in our lives most of us will be working for someone else, so it is important to fully understand what makes our boss tick and how best to interact and influence him or her. How much attention have you given to your boss’s personality style? How does she function? What seems to agitate or please her? If we have a difficult boss we focus on what drives us crazy. If we have a great boss we tend to take things for granted. Recognizing the factors which contribute to creating the most successful, powerful working relationship is a skill to be utilized throughout one’s career.

One of the ways to do this is by identifying your boss’s personality type. Let’s look at a few examples. Jo’s boss is extroverted, high energy, with lots of ideas which he makes happen. He tends to move quickly and rarely acknowledges the good work his staff does. He assumes they know he appreciates and values them. Bill’s boss is hard working and organized but tends to micromanage her staff. Bill worries that his boss does not trust him to do his job and therefore would not recommend him for a promotion. These are two different kinds of bosses, with different personality types. What does this mean for their colleagues and staff?

According to Mike Lillibridge who is one of the creators of the PeoplemapTM Personality Types, there are four Personality Types: Leader, People, Free Spirit and Task. Generally most people are a combination of two. The clearer you are on what type your boss is, as well as your type, the more capable you become in understanding how he functions, what are the strengths and weaknesses and how you can achieve the best results in working together.

Leader types are results oriented. They see the big picture and want to make it happen. They describe themselves as being assertive, honest, face problems directly and are willing to make hard decisions. Further, they admit to at times being impatient with others and often forget the importance of complimenting and acknowledging others.

People types are relationship oriented. They seek out others, enjoy working collaboratively, tend to be great communicators and listeners and enjoy helping others. They describe themselves as being social, caring, tend to seek approval and avoid conflict. This can lead to them having difficulty making decisions which others may not like.

The Free Spirit personality seeks adventure and excitement. They are risk takers and think outside the box. They tend to be great at problem solving, very creative and operate well in crises, but have difficulty with details and follow through. Hard handed authority does not work well with them and they are often easily distracted and bored by mundane tasks.

The last personality type is the Task type. They love work and organize themselves and others through having concrete plans and systems to manage all situations. They are good detail people and thrive on predictability. Their downfall is that they can be demanding of themselves and others in terms of expecting perfection and have great difficulty adjusting to change.

As you review these personality types, it will probably be fairly obvious to you which ones best describe you. Remember, generally we have qualities of at least two. Now think about your boss and which types best describe him/her. Is it similar or different from you?

Let’s return to our two examples. Jo’s boss is a Leader, Free spirit, while Jo is a People, Task. They are quite opposite, but at the same compliment each other’s strengths and weaknesses. The clearer Jo becomes in recognizing her boss’s personality style, the less upset she is with his “way of doing things”. She begins to value and learn from him and develops the comfort to make suggestions which will be helpful to him, such as acknowledging his staff more directly.

Bill’s boss is Task, Leader type, while Bill is People, Task type. Since they both are Task, they tend to focus on the detail and feel better when they know everything is taken care of. When Bill understands that his Boss is similar to him, then he is able to recognize that she does trust him, but becomes preoccupied with the details, just like him. He is able to use his people skills to develop a more collaborative relationship with her.

Understanding your boss’s personality as well as your own, creates a more effective and positive working relationship. When you come from a position of wanting to work well together, even when there are differences, it leads to a win-win situation. If you are interested in learning more about the PeoplemapTM personality assessment and how to use it in creating the most productive and favorable workplace, please contact me.

Copyright 2007, Gail Solish.

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Gail Solish, provides Executive/Personal coaching to managers, directors and executives focused on workplace development and relationship management. Claim your FR-EE e-course “Unleash Your Potential and Increase Productivity and Fulfillment” at


Understanding the DISC Model


The DISC model of human personality types is a powerful tool for success. Your ability to identify a person’s primary DISC personality style, and to use that knowledge appropriately is the key to Adrian Law’s Platinum Rule (which is the subject of another article altogether). So what exactly is the DISC model and why should you care?

DISC was developed nearly 100 years ago (in the 1920’s to be exact) by Professor William Marsden. Professor Marsden concluded that there are four different behavioral styles. He also concluded that each person exhibits some of each style, but has one dominant style that influences most everything they do. Because people tend to interact best with those who are like them, recognizing a person’s DISC style enables you to interact with them more effectively. And the more successfully you interact with others, the more likely you are to get what you want out of that interaction.

The four personality styles that the professor identified are: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Compliance (hence the acronym DISC). As you would expect, a person’s dominant personality style has a major impact on all aspects of their lives, including how they interact with others and how best you can interact with them. For example, a person who has a primarily high-D personality will be eager to shake things up, make changes, alter things to work the way they like best. A high-S personality values stability over all else and would be likely to resist change, even when it would be beneficial to them. Unless one of them alters the way they interact, this pairing will cause a lot of stress.

Because each personality type values different things, and we all tend to like people who are most like us, you need to take a person’s DISC style into account when dealing with them. If you’ve ever tried to chit-chat with a high-D person, or stay right on task with a high-I person, you know the futility of trying to interact with a person using a style that isn’t compatible with their own. Since this is so, the ability to recognize someone else’s DISC personality style and modify your approach to one that is compatible with theirs is a powerful tool for succeeding in your interactions with them.

Author: Bill Mann

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