Working for a Type-A boss can be like working for a meth addict
If you’ve ever crossed paths with a meth user in full-on tweaker mode, then you may have seen some similarities with your Type-A boss. Both are driven toward a goal like a locomotive charging off a cliff.
Like a tweaker in search of his next score, your Type-A boss can exhibit some strange behavior when she’s in hot pursuit of new goal or outcome. So much so, it can seem like you’re the one who’s not focused or on board with her latest agenda.
3 Reasons Why Working for a Type-A Boss Feels Like You’re Losing You’re Mind
1. Your boss is wired for outcomes, not satisfaction
Type A’s differ from you and me in that when they realize an outcome or achieve a goal, there is little satisfaction. There is no pause for a brief celebration with the support staff. Instead, there’s only a momentary pause before issuing assignments for the next phase of activity.
Unlike you, your Type-A boss experiences little satisfaction in achieving a goal; for her, it’s nothing more than placing a check mark in a box and most likely even less in terms of meaning. They view goals accomplished not as peaks along the path to their personal Everest, but just one in an endless series of mountains to be conquered.
I wrote an ebook for Project Executives within the heavy civil construction industry a few years back. In it I argued for holding a celebratory lunch when the team won a new project. I argued that it was good for all to pause, soak up the moment, and then move on as a team. The feedback I received from Project Executives and Project Managers was somewhat negative; they viewed such an activity as a waste of valuable time.
This isn’t surprising given most were Type-A’s who viewed the suggestion as an activity that got in the way of them proceeding on to the next phase of the project. Because they’re Type-A personalities, they weren’t wired to understand the motivation and gratitude that a celebratory lunch would impart to their support staff. After an explanation, they understood.
This example underscores how Type-A individuals view human connection.
2. She appears offensive because she lacks appreciation for the finer points of human connection
To be fair, not all Types-A’s are heartless individuals hell-bent on moving forward at all costs. There is certainly a spectrum of Type-A personalities. Where your individual boss falls on the spectrum is highly individual and only you can evaluate it.
But most Type-A’s are less tuned-in to their Type-B counterparts’ need to for human connection. I don’t mean a physical connection, but a nexus with the human side of the business.
In your Type-B view, businesses exist to meet human needs. In the Type-A’s view, they exist to achieve a goal such as profitability or meeting an objective.
The differences are vast and this often creates a chasm of understanding between the two personality types leaving you to feel like you’re out of synch when you’re not.
3. Your boss has no idea why you crave a work-life balance
This is mainly because he doesn’t have one and it isn’t an issue for him. Pure Type-A’s live to work and work to live. If there is downtime, it’s spent the only way they know how to enjoy themselves…on work-related issues.
In My Type-A Boss for Hell post, I told the story of a guy I worked for a number of years ago. His abhorrent behavior was overlooked and tolerated because his own boss was a pure Type-A who didn’t want to be bothered with the human issues of the business.
As long as results were good, he didn’t care who was offended in the process. He was the kind of guy to send you email at 11:30p and then ping you for a response after 15 minutes.
Type-B’s like you and me not only crave a balance in the work-life experience, we can’t function without it.
Your Type-A boss doesn’t get that. Instead, they see it as a weakness. They might even bring it up in a performance review. Because they don’t understand it, they might perceive it as an area you might need to work on in the future.
If that happens, educate them by referring them to this article!
Is it any wonder you feel like your insane?
Working for a Type-A boss can and will make you feel like you’re losing your mind at times. But the reality is you aren’t; The Type-A’s of the world are wired so differently from you that your sensitive nature assumes you’re to blame.
But you aren’t to blame. You’re a more sensitive individual who is paired -like it or not- with a boss thas interprets the world, the work, mutual goals, and the means to achieve them in a completely different way. Because you’re wired the way you are, you’re more likely to assume responsibility for the difference.
Instead, just view the differences as differences. Don’t read into them. They are what they are.
What can you do to survive your Type-A boss?
In the next post, I’ll talk about how you no longer have to feel like you’re deficient in any way and what I see as your best hope for moving forward in a positive direction while working with your Type-A boss.