Here 15 Toxic Boss Signs & 4 Ways to Put Up

Written By Aleena

The toxic boss signs are often not that obvious at first. You tend to think that they are just grumpy or having a bad day.

What will I learn?

Toxicity usually manifests over time in more subtle ways. You never feel good after talking to them, you dread going to work, and your performance suffers.

15 Clear Signs Of A Toxic Boss

Let’s look at some of the signs that might indicate you have a toxic boss.

1. Your Boss Is Never Satisfied:

A toxic boss is never satisfied with your work, no matter how hard you try or how well you do.

They’re always finding fault and picking at things. This can make you feel like you can never do anything right.

Finding fault - Toxic Boss Signs

For instance, your boss might make comments like:

“This report is good, but it would be better if you did X, Y, and Z.” Or, “I don’t like how you organized this presentation.”

“You’re not working hard enough.” “Why can’t you be more like so-and-so?”

Thus, whatever you do, it’s never good enough in their eyes. So you’re constantly trying to please them and falling short.

2. Your Boss Is Inconsistent:

Inconsistency is another hallmark of a toxic boss. They might have different rules for different people, or they might change their minds all the time.

This can make it hard to know what they expect from you. Or what you need to do to please them.

For example, your boss might tell you that you need to be in the office at 9 am sharp. But then they come in at 10 am themselves.

Or they might tell you that you can take Fridays off but then get angry when you do.

And then there are the bosses who are just plain moody. One day they might be happy with your work, and the next day they’re tearing it apart.

This erratic behavior can be confusing and frustrating. You never know what to expect from them.

3. Your Boss Is Passive-Aggressive:

A passive-aggressive boss communicates indirectly. They might give you the silent treatment, withhold information, or make snide comments.

This type of behavior can be hard to deal with because it’s so subtle.

For example, your boss might say, “I’m not sure if that’s a good idea.” But what they mean is, “No, I don’t like that idea.”

Or they might make a comment that sounds supportive but is backhanded.

For instance, they might say, “Good job on that presentation. You did a much better job than I was expecting.” 

This might sound like a compliment, but it’s a way of putting you down.

Comments like these can be confusing and hurtful. And they can make you feel like you’re always walking on eggshells around your boss.

4. Your Boss Is Micromanaging:

A micromanaging boss tries to control everything you do. They might give you detailed instructions on how to do your job, or they might constantly check up on you.

This type of behavior can be stifling and frustrating. It can make you feel like you’re not trusted to do your job.

For example, your boss might say things like:

“I need you to do this report exactly like this.” “Make sure you check with me before you do anything.”

“I want you to keep me updated on every little thing you’re doing.” 

Comments like these can make you feel like you’re not competent. And it can be hard to get your work done when you’re constantly being second-guessed.

5. Your Boss Is Manipulative:

A manipulative boss tries to control you by playing on your emotions. They might use guilt, fear, or intimidation to get you to do what they want.

For example, your boss might say things like:

“I’m only doing this because I care about you.” “If you don’t do this, I’ll be very disappointed in you.”

“I know you’re capable of so much more.” 

Guilt, fear, or intimidation - Toxic Boss Signs

These statements might feel like compliments, but they’re a way of manipulation.

They’re designed to make you feel guilty or like you owe your boss something. And they can be very effective in getting you to do what your boss wants.

6. Your Boss Is Disrespectful:

A disrespectful boss doesn’t treat you with respect. They might yell at you, belittle you, or make demeaning comments.

For example, your boss might say things like:

“You’re so stupid.” “Why can’t you do anything right?” “You’re lazy.” 

These comments can be hurtful and demoralizing. And they can make you feel like your boss doesn’t value you as a person.

Disrespectful behavior is unprofessional and unacceptable. And it’s a sign that you need to find a new job.

7. Your Boss Is Unethical:

An unethical boss might lie, cheat, or steal. And they might expect you to do the same.

For example, your boss might ask you to lie to a client or customer. Or they might ask you to do something illegal. 

Your boss might also pressure you into doing something you’re not comfortable with.

For instance, they might ask you to work overtime without pay. Or they might ask you to do a job outside of your job description.

Unethical behavior is wrong, and it’s not something you should tolerate. If your boss behaves this way, it’s time to leave immediately.

8. Your Boss Never Takes Responsibility:

A toxic boss might blame their employees, their customers, or even the company for their own mistakes.

For example, your boss might say things like:

“It’s not my fault that the project was a failure. It’s your fault.” “If the customers are unhappy, you didn’t do your job properly.” 

“The company is losing money because you’re not working hard enough.”

Blaming others is a way of avoiding responsibility. But a blame game never ends well.

Eventually, someone is going to get hurt. And it’s usually the employees who suffer the most.

9. Your Boss Always Takes Credit For Your Work:

A toxic boss might take credit for your ideas, work, or even your successes.

For example, your boss might say things like:

“I came up with the idea for the new product.” “I wrote the report.” “I made the sale.” 

Taking credit for someone else’s work is wrong, and it’s a form of plagiarism. It’s also a way of putting yourself above others and making them feel inferior.

Even if they don’t mean to, toxic bosses can make their employees feel like they’re not good enough. And that’s not a healthy or productive way to work.

10. Your Boss Tries To Control Your Personal Life:

A toxic boss might try to control your personal life. They might tell you who you can be friends with, what you can do in your free time, or even who you can date.

Controlling boss

For example, your boss might say things like:

“You can’t take that vacation day.” “I don’t want you to work from home.” 

“You can’t go to that conference.” 

Trying to control your personal life is a way of micromanaging. And it’s not something you should tolerate.

Your boss might say they’re only trying to help you, but they’re just trying to control you. And that’s not healthy or productive.

11. Your Boss Gossips:

A boss who gossips is not someone you want to work for. They’re not trustworthy, and they’re probably not very reliable.

If your boss is always talking about other people, chances are they’re talking about you, too.

Gossip a workplace is unprofessional, and it creates an environment of distrust. Not only that, but it can also be really damaging to morale.

Some ways of gossiping include :

– Talking about people behind their backs

– Spreading rumors

– Talking about people in a negative way

If your boss is doing any of these things, you have to be careful.

You don’t want to get caught in the crossfire of their gossip, and you don’t want to be the subject of it, either.

12. Your Boss Makes Threats:

A good boss will never threaten their employees. If your boss is threatening you, it’s because they’re not confident in their own ability to lead.

A toxic boss might try to control you with threats. They might say things like:

“If you don’t do this, I’ll fire you.” “I’ll make your life a misery if you don’t do what I say.” 

Making threats is a form of intimidation. And it’s not a healthy way to manage people.

Threats not only make you feel anxious and stressed, but they can also damage your motivation.

13. Your Boss Is A Bully:

A bully boss is someone who likes to intimidate and belittle their employees. They might shout at you, put you down in front of others, or make unreasonable demands.

Or, they might try to control you by making threats or giving you ultimatums.

Bullying is not acceptable in the workplace. It’s bad for your mental health, and it can make you feel isolated, anxious, and depressed.

A bully boss is often insecure, and they try to compensate for this by putting other people down.

Belittle their employees.

This kind of behavior is completely unacceptable in the workplace. If your boss is bullying you, it’s important to stand up for yourself.

14. Your Boss Is Rude:

Rude bosses are those who regularly belittle, humiliate, or dismiss their employees.

They might make snide comments, roll their eyes, or interrupt you when you’re speaking.

A rude boss creates a hostile work environment. And it can be really tough to deal with them on a daily basis.

Nothing can be more frustrating than trying to work for someone who is constantly being rude.

15. Your Boss Is Negative:

A negative boss is someone who is always complaining. They might complain about the company, their coworkers, or their customers.

Or, they might be negative about the work you’re doing, too. They might say, “This place is a dump,” or “My employees are idiots.”

Or, they might be critical of your work, even if you’re doing a good job.

A negative boss can be really draining to work for. Their negativity can be contagious, and it can make the whole workplace feel negative.

4 Ways To Put Up With Toxic Bosses

If you have a toxic boss, there are some things you can do to make the situation more tolerable.

1. Talk To Your Boss:

The first step is to try and talk to your boss. They might not be aware of how their behavior is affecting you.

And they might be willing to change if you point it out to them. Of course, this isn’t always possible.

Some bosses are unwilling to listen or change their ways. But it’s worth a try. You can start with a simple conversation.

You can say, “I’ve noticed that you’ve been yelling at me more often. It’s making me feel like I can’t do anything right. I’m not sure what to do.” 

Or “I’ve noticed that you take credit for my ideas. It makes me feel like my work isn’t valuable. Is there something I can do to change that?” 

When you talk to your boss, be respectful and honest. But don’t be too aggressive. You want to have a productive conversation, not an argument.

2. Set Boundaries With Your Boss:

If your boss is toxic, it’s essential to set boundaries. This will help you protect yourself from their behavior.

For example, you can say things like:

“I’m not comfortable with being yelled at. I’d appreciate it if you would speak to me calmly.” 

“I’d appreciate it if you would give me credit when appropriate. I have a lot of great ideas, and I want to be recognized for them.” 

Setting boundaries.

“I’m not comfortable with you trying to control my personal life. I’d appreciate it if you would respect my privacy.” 

It’s also important to be assertive when setting boundaries. If you’re too passive, your boss might not take you seriously.

Your boss might not like it when you set boundaries. But it’s important to do what’s best for you.

3. Find A Support System:

It’s also essential to find a support system. This can be friends, family, or even co-workers.

Talk to them about your situation. They can offer you support and advice. And they can be a shoulder to cry on when things get tough.

You can also join a support group for people in your situation. This can be an online forum or an in-person group.

You will be able to talk to other people who understand what you’re going through. And you can get helpful advice from them.

4. Look For A New Job:

If your boss is genuinely toxic, you might want to look for a new job. This can be a difficult decision to make. But sometimes it’s the best thing you can do for yourself.

A new job can give you a fresh start. And it can help you get away from a toxic situation. Toxic bosses are never fun to deal with.

You deserve to be happy and healthy at work. Don’t let a toxic boss ruin that for you.

In the end, it’s up to you to decide what to do about your toxic boss. You might be able to make the situation better.

Or you might decide that it’s time to move on. Either way, don’t let a toxic boss control your life. You deserve better than that.


Toxic bosses can make your life miserable. Some obvious signs of a toxic boss include trying to control your personal life, taking credit for your work, and yelling at you.

If you have a toxic boss, there are some things you can do to make the situation more tolerable. You can talk to your boss, set boundaries, find a support system, and look for a new job.

In the end, it’s up to you to decide what to do about your toxic boss.

Last Updated on 9 months by Shahzaib Arshad


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