How To Tell If You Have A Toxic Boss


Perhaps nothing is worse than working in an environment where the managers and superiors engage in toxic behaviors. Not only does it bring a negative atmosphere to the workplace itself, but often is the root cause of low productivity, mitigated morale, and overall detriment to the business. Understanding the behaviors and traits that resemble toxicity in management is crucial in identifying if your boss is poisoning the business with their actions. Here are a few red flags to keep an eye out for:


One of the most prominent signs of a toxic boss is their constant need to micromanage. Although some may just be trying to be helpful, the reality is they are doing more harm than good. Micromanaging causes employees to feel inferior, dependant, and untrustworthy, which can have disastrous impacts on their ability to be efficient and productive pieces to the company. If you see your boss consistently hovering over your shoulder, and the shoulder’s of coworkers, this is an early indicator that more debilitating toxicity may be forthcoming.

You’re Expected to Just Know

Without clear and direct communication, it is nearly impossible for any business relationship to progress, let alone prosper. One of the clear red flags of a toxic boss is their inability or unwillingness to provide straightforward directions and constructive criticism, and instead expect you to know why something went wrong or how to complete an objective. Bosses who engage in these behaviors often lack both the leadership traits, and communication skills, to efficiently delegate tasks and ensure everyone is comfortable and well-read on the tasks assigned to them.

“Because I’m the Boss”

Undoubtedly, those in management and leadership positions in a company deserve certain incentives, such as a higher salary than those they manage. However, these benefits can quickly turn into excuses and justifications, as some bosses try to exploit their position of power. Things like taking long lunches when everyone else cannot, coming in the office at their own discretion, or handling personal problems while at the workplace, are all signs that the benefits have crossed over into a toxic, power-hungry territory that is detrimental for all that are in the workplace.

They are Arrogant, and Ignorant

This one might sound a bit harsh, but looking at it objectively can shed some valuable insight. Bosses who are toxic are often hard-headed, self-glorifying, and incapable of not being in the positive limelight. If you have a boss that almost never expresses gratitude and appreciation, takes credit for your (or someone else’s) work, and dismisses the opinion of others when they think they’re right despite evidence that states otherwise, this is a clear and standalone sign of toxicity.

Working in a toxic environment is not only bad for the company, but additionally for the employees. If you feel that your boss engages in toxic behaviors, long-term exposure to this can have negative impacts on your mentality and self-esteem as an employee. Although this may sound extreme to some, being on the search for a new job may be something to consider if no other solutions exist. Keep an eye out for these, and other, signs that will warn you of a toxic boss, to ensure you can take the right next steps.