Your boss has a button.
Find out what it is.
One of the easiest ways to find a button is to check out your boss’ Enneagram type.
The table below outlines one “button” for each type. This is an immensely complex model, and I feel a bit of a charlatan for reducing it to less than 30 words.
The Enneagram is a people-typing tool which has been used for centuries to counsel people all across the world. It identifies 9 types of people, driven by avoiding or seeking particular emotions: the emotions are fear, anxiety and anger. The types are numbered 1 to 9 (no, one number is not better than another!).
|No||To get me onside tell me:||To get under my skin tell me:|
|1||I’m right||I’m wrong|
|2||I’m helpful||I’m selfish|
|3||I’m successful||I’m a fake|
|4||I’m unique and special||I’m just like everybody else|
|5||I’m wise and informed||I don’t know my stuff|
|6||I’m in danger||I’m safe|
|7||I’m fun||I’m boring|
|8||I’m strong||I’m weak|
|9||I’m fair||I’m biaised|
Google the Enneagram and you will find plenty of resources online. Or try Enneagram Made Easy.
The Enneagram has been applied to a lot of different contexts, many of which are quite esoteric. For clearly corporate application, I like Nine Ways Of Working: How To Use The Enneagram To Discover Your Natural Strengths And Work More Effectively. I’ve created some videos for each of the nine types, and you can find them here.
So here’s what I suggest you do:
Make a working hypothesis of your own type. Then one for your boss.
Test out doing the things which please the number you think your boss is. Experiment.
By the way, it’s often easier to type others than it is to type yourself. In the long term you will find out who you are. For the purpose of getting ahead, guess that your boss is a 1 and loves to be told they’re right, or a 3 who loves to be seen as successful, or a 6 who loves to be told everything’s OK. Starting from there will get you a long way.