5 Signs you’ve a Toxic Boss

Working for a toxic boss can be dangerous for your mental & professional well-being. Here are 5 signs your boss is toxic for you.


A recently conducted survey informed me that up to 75% of leaders are incompetent to lead. Therefore there are many of us who work for these unfit leaders.  These bosses are toxic to one's well-being. Toxic bosses can upset one's professional lives, and even one's personal well-being.

Here are 5 common signs that you're working for a toxic boss: 

  • He/She is a micromanager

Micromanagement refers to the practice of controlling and excessively interfering with the work or performance of one's subordinates. While all managers should avoid being a micromanager , sometimes it is extremely difficult for certain individuals to delegate and hand over responsibilities to others. This leads to mistrust, stress and resentment which contributes to a toxic workplace environment. 

  • He/She plays favourites

While one can't expect to be equally loved, adored or admired by everyone in their lives, it is reasonable to expect fair play at the workplace. If your boss constantly promotes one member of the team over others or gives certain privileges to only certain team members, consider it a warning sign. 

  • ​He/She is disrespectful 

A common sign of toxic bosses is their inability to be respectful of others. Toxic bosses are often arrogant and dismissive of others. They make others feel small and insignificant. Working in a culture where one's boss doesn't value one's inputs, ideas or feelings, can be bad for one's well-being. 

  • He/She is quick to blame others

When things go wrong, is your boss the person who stands up and takes responsibility or the one who points his/her fingers at others? If it's the latter, you should be careful. The next time he/she raises his/her finger, it could be to point at you. Needless to say, that would not work out well for your professional image. 

  • He/She indulges in gossip

The grapevine is an essential informal communication channel in the workplace however it doesn't reflect well for a leader to be tuned in and involved with the channel. While the grapevine is a good source to hear about employee concerns and organizational news, your boss should not be spending time adding fuel to the fire. If there is something he/she has to address, it has to be done through the right channels - employee forums, team meetings, organizational newsletter, etc. 

Toxic bosses are dangerous company to keep especially since work issues can trickle down and affect personal relationships. By identifying toxic bosses, one can ensure that one's personal and professional well-being remains intact. 

Questions for Reflection

What are the different things you do to deal with a toxic boss?

What other signs do you have to identify a toxic boss?

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Chaitra K

With a background in Literature and Psychology, and an MBA in Human Resources Management, Chaitra is responsible for the design and production of NKoach’s courses, workshops and corporate training programs. Her mission is to help people discover their passion and become better versions of themselves.

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