4 Types of Bosses and How to Be Productive Around Them

This is part of the Digital Marketing Insights series -- featuring tips, analysis and recommendations from marketing experts on how to become successful online. Co-authored by Felix Dubinsky, owner of SimpleTexting.

The dream job of dream jobs for a marketer is one where you don't have a boss. Well, there are very few dream jobs like that around for the ambitious marketer.


You usually have to start at the bottom and work your way up, and that means having a boss over you.

The game of marketing is just that -- a game, like golf or football. There's going to be coaches who can blow the whistle on your marketing game plan. Some are good coaches, some aren't. Share with us in the comments which category your boss falls into and how you strive to work around the issues by becoming productive!

  1. The Meeting-saurus

They call a meeting at the drop of a hat. At one large organization it was found that employees spent over 300,000 hours a year on executive meetings.

Never sit by your boss during a meeting if you can help it. If you are far enough away, you can continue working silently on your iPhone or other mobile device, answering emails. A good time to work on a text messaging marketing campaign, too!

  • The Bully
  • He's showering you with verbal abuse and vague threats. You must decide immediately: Are you going to put up with it, or are you going to HR to complain? Once you've made up your mind, act, and then forget about it and go back to work. Fear and anger will always make you unproductive, so if you can't ignore it or delegate it, you're better off either leaving the organization or getting a transfer to some other team/department.

    Of course, the chances for this kind of dysfunctional bossing are much lower if you are on a marketing team working together to raise brand awareness.

  • Overly Friendly
  • They stop by your cubicle or office for a friendly chat right when you've got a marketing campaign that needs finishing up. They want to tell you about their latest family vacation and ask about your plans for the weekend. You can't just tell them to shut up and go away.

    Just do the obvious and truthful thing: Stop them in mid-sentence if you have to, offer to meet them after work to hear about their fascinating trip to Yellowstone, and explain that you really have to finish this up in the next half hour or you won't be meeting the team/department goals. If your boss persists in wasting your time by demanding that you listen, it's clearly harassment, and you need to take the matter up with HR. Okay, maybe not, but you get the idea.

  • The Fault Finder
  • The boss blames you for every mistake and missed goal. First of all, be wise enough to admit that you probably have made some of the mistakes your boss tags you with. Get those problems fixed, and then if your boss continues to put the blame on you for things you know are not your fault, ask for an immediate performance review. Demand it. In effect, you're telling your boss, "Put up or shut up." They'll probably stall you, in which case you go to their boss and make the same request, because you are worried about all the negative feedback you are getting on your performance and you want to correct it ASAP. You may be pleasantly surprised to find you have a new boss the next day.

    The experts say that before you jump ship, you should
    how you can better manage the boss you're stuck with right now.

    At the very least, a non-productive boss can teach you what not to do when you eventually move into a marketing leadership position. Balance carefully all that you are giving up if you quit with what you have already got and are in a position to achieve in the future if you stay with your current organization.

    The boss is not always right, but he or she is always the boss. You'll be a more productive marketer if you don't try to second-guess them and instead try to wait out their bad moods and counterproductive methods.

    If you can rise above a bad marketing boss, it's likely you can rise above any other marketing challenge!