Are You Dealing With a Toxic Boss?

I sat at my computer in shock after my first genuinely awful encounter with my boss’s boss. I expected our one-on-one meeting would be casual, but she started off by saying, “You don’t look pleased here, and we don’t want individuals here who are unhappy.  I’ll do anything I can to help you find work elsewhere.”

I was grateful for the opportunity and didn’t mind working here, but I never shied away from offering suggestions to enhance processes or drawing attention to areas where people seemed stuck.   My impression was that she meant no harm. She was just careless in her expression of worry.

We scheduled another Zoom meeting for a few months later. It was successful in the same sense as the first. She claimed she’d never been questioned prior to this and that I should check my tone.

At that point, I saw a pattern forming. My workplace environment was quite poisonous, and I had to cope with it.

Why does having a toxic boss make your life so miserable?

When a manager consistently brings down their team’s morale and performance, they are toxic. Their habitual antagonism destroys morale, destroys team spirit, and strips workers of the autonomy and feeling of purpose that are essential to their success on the job.

Unfair treatment at work, an excessive workload, muddled directions from superiors, a lack of management support, and undue time pressure were named as the top five causes of burnout in a survey. Moreover, “all five reasons have one thing in common: your employer,” the research concludes. If you choose poorly, you will likely grow to despise your work environment.

This is a guide on how to deal with a toxic boss and keep your sanity at work.

Symptoms of a bad boss

There are both great managers and terrible managers. A manager’s lack of organization, emotional distance, or mild annoyance are not always indicators of toxicity. So, what characteristics define a toxic superior?

First of all, they are unresponsive.

Feedback, recommendations, and worries are ignored while working under a hostile employer. And according to Tiziana Casciaro, a professor of organizational behavior and human resource management at the University of Toronto, a manager’s habitual dismissal of employees hurts the whole firm, not just their team.

Organizational success requires sharing knowledge and gaining insight from others. When things are normal, “we all do the same things we’ve always done,” as Casciaro puts it. When your supervisor makes it difficult, if not impossible, to report problems or interact with higher-ups, you will never advance in your career. It’s easy to feel that your work or ideas don’t matter when you have trouble communicating with those above you.

They’re quite controlling.

At my previous employment, we were required to keep a daily time log in which we recorded our activities. We’d receive a ping on Slack asking, “Why did you only edit two articles today?” on days when we weren’t as productive as usual.

According to Ronayne, micromanagement is not just a sign of toxicity but also a frustrating trait in any employer. When the boss is eager to claim credit for the work of others and insists on having a say in everything, even after you have shown your competence and responsibility, the relationship between you two becomes poisonous and micromanagement becomes the norm. To paraphrase what he says, “it truly is an issue of control and a lack of confidence.”

 They inhibit development.

Work might become repetitive and dull when you have a negative manager. You may begin to feel confined and stuck as time goes by without receiving any additional duties or tasks, or having your current efforts acknowledged. When I requested for greater responsibilities, my previous, toxic boss informed me, “The position is the job, and it won’t change.”

Casciaro argues that “a poisonous boss demotivates.” Remember how the first two warning signals above made you feel? “They provide very little freedom in how a subordinate executes the task that is allocated to them, listen very little.” — “and don’t take full use of a subordinate’s strengths.”

They change their demeanor while in the presence of their own management.

A “two-faced” description may seem juvenile, but according to Ronayne, it’s a good way to describe the typical actions of abusive managers. They change their behavior depending on who is seeing them.

This may be particularly troublesome if your boss’s superiors don’t observe how they’re treating their subordinates or have a clear picture of what’s going on in the workplace on a day-to-day basis. Having a supervisor who is friendly with superiors might make employees feel like they have no one to turn to when they have issues about their toxic conduct, which can lead to feelings of isolation and reluctance to speak out.

They make you feel unsafe.

The United States Surgeon General states that “creating the environment for physical and psychological safety is a vital basis for assuring workplace mental health and well-being” in his report on workplace mental health and well-being from 2022. Toxic managers make their employees feel less valued and less connected to the company, according to Ronayne. Furthermore, the emotional toll of not being able to speak out and continually fretting over one’s job security is substantial.

They demand too much, putting you in an awkward position.

My colleagues and I had a meeting once when we were feeling exhausted from the high production we were required to reach every day. What did the manager say to us? There are many more businesses whose production exceeds ours.

Toxic managers are generally rigid in their demands, requiring excessive hours of labor, rapid turnaround times, and even Slack answers on the weekends. According to the surgeon general’s study, these pressures raise worry and dread among workers and may disrupt work-life balance, an important factor in employee health and happiness.

There are many Jobs that Are in Desperate Need of Employees, check out this article if you need some help finding some.

%d bloggers like this: