5 Signs of a Toxic Boss

Published: Sep 06, 2023

 Workplace Issues       
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In the past, we’ve talked about how to approach difficult situations at work, and how to deal with toxic coworkers, but what happens when your boss is causing problems for you and your team? Here are some telltale signs of a toxic boss that you should watch out for.


If you find yourself unable to accomplish even the smallest of tasks without your boss hovering over your shoulder, you’re probably being micromanaged. Unfortunately, most people will encounter this negative trait during the course of their career, as it’s more common than you might think. In certain cases, a boss who micromanages their team may actually believe that they’re helping increase productivity, but the opposite is true.

When employees are micromanaged, they’re more likely to feel distracted and stressed out. In fact, micromanagement can lead to reduced productivity, loss of motivation, lower employee engagement, and worse yet, it can have a negative impact on employee retention. Yes friends, micromanagement affects not only a company’s employees, but the organization as a whole.

Playing Favorites

A good boss makes it a point to encourage each and every employee, and does their best to foster a working environment where everyone shares the same potential to succeed. No one should ever have to feel as though their contributions don’t matter, or that their hard work won’t be recognized.

Favoritism in the workplace can lead to dissent among employees. When a boss favors a particular employee, the rest of the team might begin to disengage, leading to decreased productivity, low morale, and other forms of quiet quitting. In some cases, it could lead to the mass exodus of an entire team.

Anger Issues

Everyone gets upset once in a while, but throwing a tantrum in the workplace is totally unprofessional. If your boss is constantly losing their cool and screaming and yelling, it could be a sign of a much bigger problem. A good boss knows how to deal with problems constructively, and can approach high-stress situations calmly and thoughtfully.

Keep in mind that you could always address issues like this with a human resources representative in the event you’ve witnessed one or two infrequent outbursts; however, if you’re noticing a pattern of constant explosive outbursts from your boss, it might be time to consider other avenues of employment.

Taking Credit for Your Work

Believe it or not, a bad boss may also decide to take credit for the hard work of their employees. This is an extremely selfish act that undermines the entire team and their efforts, while also eliminating any potential for the team’s contributions to be recognized by upper management.

If you’re unable to demonstrate your value to your employer because your boss is always taking credit for your work, it could lead to trouble down the line. Without receiving proper recognition for your accomplishments, you may start to feel demoralized and disconnected. With your productivity and attention to detail taking a nosedive, your job might soon be in jeopardy. Don’t let anyone take credit for your work, even if they’re your direct superior. Make the issue known to HR, and consider updating your resume.

Lack of Support

Your boss should be someone you can go to if you need clarity on an assignment, or help with something you don’t understand. Further, your boss should always let you know when you’ve done a great job or if there’s something you need to improve upon. When it’s time to ask for a promotion, your boss should advocate on your behalf as long as they believe you’re ready.

A bad bass won’t be as motivated to go to bat for you, they may not provide constructive feedback, or they might be unclear or cryptic in their explanations of assignments. If this is the case, you could try expressing your concerns to your boss (or HR) and wait to see if things improve, or you could start looking for another job.

Whenever you’re dealing with an issue at work, you should take the time to speak with either your boss, or with HR. Always approach the issue calmly, and provide examples if possible. When it comes to problems with your boss, you might have to go around them in order to address the issue properly, so don’t be afraid to do so. Remember, anyone can have a bad day, so when it comes to toxic behavior, watch out for patterns rather than rare instances.