6 Traits of a Toxic Boss

Working for a toxic boss is a job within a job. It requires more patience than it should to cater to your boss’s whims and wishes. For someone who has worked with countless bosses over the years, it’s easy to distinguish the traits of a toxic boss. A horrible boss can make your high-school years look like a walk in the park. I’ve seen bosses who take credit for other people’s hard work, manipulate people as though they’re puppets, and even show a compulsive need to be right at all times. I could go on and on…

A Mini-Guide to Toxic Behavior Prevention at Workplace

To make it easier to spot one, I’ve made a list of traits horrible bosses most commonly display:

Control Freaks

Toxic bosses love to micromanage. They demand every last bit of information and subdue any opportunity for creativity. It can be difficult working for someone who is constantly looking over your shoulder and second guessing every move of yours.


A good boss is someone who is quick to realize their mistake and offer an apology. Sadly, horrible bosses never demonstrate these qualities. They lack accountability and often blame everyone else when something goes awry.


The most obvious trait of toxic bosses is that they’re often too focused on day-to-day goals in order to set any for the future of their department. Most employees are eager to know if they’ll get a chance to grow at the job and finally move up the ladder.


Nobody wants to work with a boss who loves to play favorites. The overall morale is sure to take a hit when employees feel overlooked for their hard work.


A common characteristic of a toxic boss is indecisiveness. Productivity goes haywire when horrible bosses drag their feet out of fear of making a bad decision.


Horrible bosses constantly point out how others are wrong. They can never realize their faults and say, “I’m sorry.”

It’s important to put up boundaries if you’re working for a toxic boss. While the best option when you have a horrible boss is to seek other employment, this isn’t always possible. You may refer to this guide on how to create boundaries at work.

Jane Harper
Writer. Human resources expert and consultant. Follow @thehrdigest on Twitter

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