How To Handle A Toxic Boss In 7 Steps

Written By Aleena

Toxicity in the workplace can come in many forms. Maybe your boss is constantly putting you down. Or perhaps they’re just tough to work with. Either way, it’s essential to know how to handle a toxic boss.

No matter what industry you work in, there’s a good chance you’ve had to deal with a toxic boss at some point in your career. And if you haven’t, consider yourself lucky.

7 Steps To Handle A Toxic Boss

Toxic bosses come in all shapes and sizes, and they can make your working life miserable.

But just because your boss is toxic doesn’t mean you have to put up with it. Here are some tips on how to deal with a toxic boss:

1. Identify The Behavior:

The most important thing you can do when dealing with a toxic boss is identified the behavior.

This will help you understand why the behavior is happening, and it will also give you a way to communicate with your boss about it.

Communicate with  your boss  - How To Handle A Toxic Boss

Some common toxic behaviors include:

1. Micromanaging:

Micromanagement is when your boss constantly looks over your shoulder and tells you what to do.

They may also second-guess your decisions. Or give you last-minute changes that throw off your whole plan.

2. Belittling Or Demeaning Behavior:

Toxic bosses often use belittling or demeaning behavior. This can include put-downs, name-calling, or making fun of you in front of others.

Or, they may make snide comments about your work.

3. Unfair Treatment:

Toxic bosses often mistreat their employees. This can include playing favorites, nitpicking your work, or setting unrealistic expectations.

Or, they may give you all the work that no one else wants to do. These are some of the most common toxic behaviors, but there are many others.

Once you have identified the behavior, you can figure out why it’s happening.

2. Find The Reason Behind Toxic Behavior:

There are many reasons why bosses misbehave. And, unfortunately, it’s often because they’ve been poorly treated themselves.

Thus, to deal with a toxic boss, you need to find the reason behind their behavior.

Some common reasons for toxic behavior include:

1. Fear Of Losing Control:

Many bosses become toxic because they’re afraid of losing control. They may feel like they’re being undermined or that their authority is being challenged.

Thus, they try to micromanage their employees and control their every move.

2. Lack Of Trust:

Some bosses become toxic because they don’t trust their employees.

They may feel like their employees are trying to take advantage of them. Or that they’re not competent enough to do the job.

3. Insecurity:

Other bosses become toxic because they’re insecure. They may feel like they’re not good enough or that they’re going to be replaced.

Thus, they try to belittle their employees and make them feel inferior.

4. Power Trips:

Some bosses become toxic because they’re power-hungry. They may enjoy controlling their employees. And they may use their power to manipulate or bully them.

These are some of the most common reasons for toxic behavior. But there can be other reasons as well.

Once you know why your boss is misbehaving, you can start to build a strong case against them.

3. Build A Strong Case:

If you’re going to confront your boss about their behavior, you need to have a strong case.

This means documenting the behavior. Keep a journal of incidents, and include as many details as possible.

 A strong case - How To Handle A Toxic Boss

For instance, you might write down the date, time, and location of the incident.

You should also include what they said or did and how it made you feel. If there are witnesses, get their contact information.

This will help you remember what happened, and it will also give you something to refer to when you talk to your boss.

4. Talk To Your Boss:

Once you have a strong case, you need to talk to your boss. This can be a difficult conversation, but it’s essential to be honest, and direct.

Let’s break down what to talk about in steps:

1. Talk About How You Feel:

The first step is to talk about how you feel. Be transparent and honest about the effect their behavior has had on you.

Tell your boss that you’re concerned about their behavior. Give them specific examples about the situation.

For instance, you might say, “I’m concerned about how you’ve been speaking to me. 

You’ve been belittling me in front of others, making me feel bad about myself. Is there something going on that I don’t know about?” 

Or “I’m concerned about the way you’re treating me. 

You’re nitpicking my work and not giving me enough credit for what I do. Can I do something to improve the situation?” 

2. Talk About The Impact:

The next step is to talk about the impact of their behavior. Let them know how it’s affecting you, both personally and professionally.

For instance, you might say, “Your behavior affects my work. 

I’m having trouble concentrating, and I’m not getting as much done as I should. 

It’s also affecting my health. I’ve been having a lot of headaches, and I’m not sleeping well.” 

Or “Your behavior is affecting my relationships. I’m having trouble at home because I’m so stressed out. 

And I’m having trouble at work because I don’t feel you trust me. 

It’s also affecting my self-esteem. I’m starting to doubt myself, and I don’t feel as confident as I.”

3. Talk How Impact On The Company:

It’s also important to talk about how it’s impacting the company.

Let them know that their behavior makes it difficult for you to do your job. And that it’s affecting the quality of your work.

You might say, “Your behavior is impacting the company. 

I’m not the only one who’s having trouble. I’ve talked to other people, and they’re feeling the same way. 

It’s affecting morale, making it difficult for us to get our work done. I’m worried that it will eventually lead to people quitting.” 

4. Talk About What You Want:

Be clear and concise about what would make the situation better.

Work on a plan

For instance, you might say, “It will be great if you can stop belittling me in front of others. That would make me feel more respected.”

“I’d also appreciate it if you could give me more credit for my work.” “It would be nice if you could give me some constructive feedback.” 

“And it would be helpful if you could trust me more. I understand that you’re the boss, but I feel like you’re constantly second-guessing me.” 

5. Listen To What They Have To Say:

Once you’ve said your piece, it’s essential to listen to what your boss says.

They might have a different perspective on the situation. And they might have some valid points.

Even if you don’t agree with everything they say, it’s essential to be open to their point of view.

They might also have some suggestions on how to improve the situation. And if they’re willing to work with you, it can be a step in the right direction.

6. Come Up With A Plan:

Once you’ve had a chance to talk things out, it’s time to develop a plan.

Sit down with your boss and talk about what you both can do to improve the situation.

You might agree to take on more responsibility or be more proactive in your work.

Or you might agree to communicate more often or give each other feedback regularly.

The crux is to communicate these steps with your boss and ensure that you’re both on the same page.

5. Follow Through With The Plan:

The final step is to follow through with the plan. This means doing what you said you would do and making sure that your boss does what they said they would do.

If you don’t see any improvement in the situation, it might be time to talk to your boss again.

But if you both are committed to making things better, the situation will likely improve.

6. Seek Help If Needed:

If you’ve tried everything and nothing has worked, it might be time to seek help from a higher-up.

Toxicity to HR

This could be your boss’s boss or HR. Explain the situation, and ask for their advice on how to handle it.

They might be able to provide some insight, or they might be able to take some disciplinary action.

Or they might be able to give you some peace of mind, knowing that someone else is aware of the situation.

7. Consider Quitting:

If you’ve tried everything and still nothing works, it might be time to consider quitting.

This is a big decision. But if you’re miserable, it might be the best thing for you.

The bottom line is that you deserve to be happy in your job. And if your boss is making it impossible for you to be happy, then it’s time to take action.

You don’t have to put up with a toxic boss. You have the power to do something about it.

Final Word:

Toxic bosses come in all shapes and sizes. They might be passive-aggressive, or they might be outright aggressive.

They might be micromanagers, or they might be hands-off. They might be insecure, or they might be narcissistic.

But one thing is for sure: Toxic bosses are bad for your health. They can make you feel anxious, stressed, and depressed.

And if you’re not careful, they can ruin your career. Fortunately, there are things you can do to deal with a toxic boss. Above are seven tips on how to handle a toxic boss.

If you’re dealing with a toxic boss, start with tip number one and work your way through the list.

Last Updated on 1 year by Shahzaib Arshad


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