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Signs You Have A Toxic Boss

December 2nd, 2008 · 3 Comments

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Saw this book in Borders this weekend.

My definition of a toxic boss has always been one who is so bad as to endanger/damage your career.

There are some bosses who can only hurt you, and you’re better off getting out from under them rather than “dealing” with them.

What are signs of a toxic boss? Off the top of my head (add your own in the comments):

  1. You’re afraid to do your job well because your boss will take credit for anything good you do and it will just end up making him look better.
  2. Dilbert and The Office aren’t that funny to you. You could tell way worse stories.
  3. Your boss isn’t qualified to be in the position that they’re in… but that simple fact only serves to make her more confident and obnoxious in her certainty that she’s brilliant.
  4. Boss has a clear set of favorites and isn’t afraid to openly favor them.
  5. Your boss isn’t afraid to enlist you/make you complicit in efforts to belittle/stab his boss in the back in order to advance his own career.
  6. Your boss does not have the courage to make decisions.
  7. The only language your boss speaks in is criticism.
  8. Thinks the only way to instill loyalty is through fear.
  9. Has a suspicion that “everything is running smoothly” really means everyone must be slacking off.
  10. Your boss has proven to be dishonest. Worse, he expects you to overlook/cover for his dishonesty.
  11. Intimidates. Bullies. Treats lesser employees as lesser people.
  12. Fails to communicate and then holds others responsible for miscommunications.
  13. Your boss is far more willing to give credence and recognition to brown-nosers.
  14. Your boss is an inveterate micro-manager. Expects you to do your job, but never feels you’re likely to do the job well enough, so always looks over your shoulder telling you how it should be done.
  15. Your boss is unwilling to “get her hands dirty.” Always expects results, but never willing to get down in the trenches and help make those results happen.

I’m sure you guys can come up with a million more…

Related posts:

  1. When Your Boss Is On Facebook
  2. Ask Brian – My Boss Just Got Fired
  3. PayScale Meeting Miser- Put Your Boss On The Clock
  4. 8 Sure Signs Layoffs Are Coming

Tags: Office Politcs

  • CK

    Where “opportunity” is present to you as a form of punishment or retaliation.

    Management has told so mnay lies that you determine that EVERYTHING coming out of managements mouth is a lie.

    You receive an advance degree and not only is it ignored but they transfer you to a lower position!

  • concerned

    Here is are some blogs I created about toxic bosses – and

    I placed your link on my site as well. Let’s help each other. Also, visit

  • Jinkylu

    Hello: I find it interesting item# 3 — the boss is in the female gender as opposed to plural neutral “their”… hmmm… Items# 3, 10, and 12 are spot on for my male boss… In fact I called him on a blatant lie sometime ago …mischaractization on a fellow co-worker…. BIG MISTAKE… Too ugly to post online…. Some people are just “golden” even after having been proven to be back stabbing liars… Unless one sees a future in the company, take the path of least resistance and either keep your head down or find another job even if it means a pay cut.  Bitterness has a way at eating at your core….