In this article I am going to give you some tips to convince your boss about a proposal, idea, project or product to be developed. To do this, I am going to focus on the different decision-making styles that different types of leaders have adopted throughout their careers. These styles are reinforced with each success achieved and are also modified after each failure.

In any case, according to Gary A. William and Robert B. Miller, there are five archetypes of leadership style, when it comes to how they make their decisions.

  • Charismatic
  • Thinker
  • Skeptical
  • Follower
  • Controller
How to convince a boss, in function of the different decision-making styles 

To achieve these archetypes, they spent two years studying more than 1,600 executives from multiple sectors. 

Note that I am using the meaning leader here instead of boss. I do it by appealing to his position with respect to the team rather than by the attributes he manifests. Some will be leaders, others will remain bosses.

The charismatic leader.

25% of leaders fall into this category. They are distinguished by their enthusiasm and captivating character. Are talkative and dominant people, with the ability to absorb large amounts of information quickly. They are captivated by new ideas or trends and have a predisposition to process everything visually. They are visionaries, but they are not used to making decisions based on emotion, but rather based on proven information.

How to convince a charismatic leader?

First of all, you must fight against the impulse that he is going to lead you to during the interview: that you join his enthusiasm. Instead, you should focus on the expected results or benefits of your proposal. To do this, you must formulate simple, direct arguments, and use visual aids, as attractive as possible. Their attention span is especially short, so start your presentation in the meeting with the most critical or important information.

The thinker leader

11% of leaders can be considered thinkers or thinkers. They are people who require a large amount of data, are risk averse and take their time to make decisions. They are cerebral, intelligent, logical, very academic. And never forget a bad experience.

How to convince a thinker leader?

For a start; Bad news: thinker leaders are the hardest to convince. You must have an arsenal of information and data ready. This means that before any proposal you must have the corresponding market study, customer surveys, case studies, cost-benefit ratio, etc… Remember that he will want to understand all the perspectives of the proposal. You must give him time to come to his own conclusions.

The skeptical leader.

19% of leaders fall into this category. They differ because they are capable of mistrusting every piece of data that is presented to them, especially if that data goes against their a priori opinion on the matter. They show an aggressive, combative, demanding, or even obnoxious style during presentations. However, they are people who are used to assuming responsibilities.

How to convince a skeptical leader?

You will need to give yourself a lot of credibility. If you don’t already have it in the first person, you’ll need to enlist the support of someone who can influence the skeptical leader before or during the meeting.

The follower leader.

36% of leaders fall into this category, they are majority. Follower leaders make decisions based on how they have made similar decisions in the past or how they have been made by other executives or companies they trust. They are highly risk averse, cautious and cerebral.

How to convince a follower leader?

Since they tend to focus on proven methods, you should introduce references or testimonials as persuasive factors. They need you to make them feel that they are making the right decision because others have succeeded in doing the same thing in similar situations.

The controlling leader.

9% of leaders fall into this category. They tend to abhor uncertainty and ambiguity. That is why they are so inefficient in the VUCA times we are living. They are people who move by logic, they are not at all emotional and they are very detail oriented. They tend to micromanagement.

How to convince a controlling leader?

Your arguments need to be highly structured and credible. Your leader will want details, but only if they are presented by someone he considers an expert. It is for this reason that you will need enough references to bibliography, articles, etc… Do not be too aggressive in your exposition.

Before you begin, analyze the leader’s leadership style.So far, a brief analysis of the different leadership styles that a boss can practice when you have to convince him of a proposal. Before launching it, remember that it is very important that you analyze it carefully based on the behavioral evidence that he shows both with you and with the rest of the team. Watch it. When you are clear about what style he practices, carefully prepare your presentation based on it. Remember, an interview of this type is not improvised, it is prepared.

Good luck!