One factor that can significantly sway the balance between job satisfaction and sheer dread: is the boss. You know that elusive figure whose mood seems to dictate the weather within the workplace.
Yet, when that boss veers into toxic territory, the consequences ripple far beyond the confines of cubicles and conference rooms. A great boss is a manager and leader who brings the best out of their team while balancing many factors like team culture, tasks, complaints, and more.
It’s not easy and a great boss often doesn’t receive the praise they deserve!
But toxic bosses aren’t just annoying quirks of the job; they’re like dark clouds looming over an otherwise sunny day, casting shadows of stress, anxiety, and demotivation on their unsuspecting employees.
Recognising a toxic boss is a proactive measure that can save you from getting stuck in a quagmire of workplace woes. After all, the longer you’re exposed to toxic leadership, the deeper its effects can seep into your professional and personal life.
Let’s see if your boss displays any of these concerning traits.
How much progress have you made? Can I see it right now? Have you copied me in all of your emails?
Generally, micromanaging is a toxic boss sign and is highly disliked by most employees, but there is a time and place for it. Some workers prefer being constantly checked on to feel accountable and avoid distractions.
But for most, this management style is a productivity killer and is often a sign of an inexperienced or distrusting person.
When your boss constantly breathes down your neck, it can leave you feeling suffocated, demotivated, and stripped of your autonomy.
Instead of focusing on creative problem-solving or innovative solutions, you’re stuck in a perpetual cycle of seeking approval for every decision, no matter how trivial. This not only slows down your progress but also erodes your confidence and enthusiasm for the work.
Provide your boss with frequent updates and achievements. It will demonstrate accountability and that there is no need for the manager to constantly ask you questions.
Trust stems from openly communicating and keeping things transparent. Express your concern with constructive respectful dialogue, such as, “I appreciate your guidance, but I believe I can deliver better results if given some space to execute tasks independently. Can we discuss a more hands-off approach?
If none of these work after numerous attempts of polite and honest conversations, it’s best to communicate this with your HR team or find another workplace to avoid stress.
Did you know that 71% of workers have had a toxic boss at some point in their careers?
You’re not alone.
These may sound outlandish, but circumstances such as the above have happened.
Unreasonable demands can take a heavy toll on employee well-being and job satisfaction. Constantly feeling overwhelmed by an unmanageable workload or pressured to meet impossible deadlines can lead to stress, burnout, and a sense of disillusionment with your job.
Keep in mind, that some unreasonable demands can easily break the law and work regulations in your country or state. It’s important to be informed so that you can hold the manager accountable for their actions.
If you find yourself overwhelmed by unrealistic deadlines, don’t hesitate to negotiate with your boss for more realistic timelines.
Approach the conversation diplomatically, explaining the challenges you’re facing and proposing alternative deadlines that are achievable without compromising the quality of your work.
Find colleagues that you trust and are close with to discuss the issue. They may have a solution or disclose a similar experience, and how they tackled it professionally.
Alternatively, if multiple team members have dealt with similar unreasonable demands, then it’s a strong case that can be presented to your company’s HR.
Embarrassing a Team Member
A manager displaying this toxic behaviour should be held accountable by HR. The manager should also be provided with the necessary support and resources to develop better leadership qualities.
Someone who displays this behaviour is often masking their insecurities or deflecting blame onto others to hide their shortcomings.
Make sure to keep a detailed record of all hostile instances. Whether it’s through personal messages, emails or verbal interactions, do your best to gather evidence in case you need to escalate the situation to HR or legally.
Maybe your manager is having a bad day, and an instance of hostile behaviour only happens once. But frequent occurrences should be reported to your human resources department or senior manager.
Present your documented evidence and express your concerns about the impact of your boss’s behaviour on your well-being and the work environment.
Resistance to Feedback
Don’t make it personal.
Use “I” statements to express your thoughts, and concerns without placing blame or pointing fingers. For example, instead of saying, “You never listen to my ideas,” try saying, “I feel frustrated when my ideas are not heard or valued.” This approach helps to depersonalise the feedback and fosters a more constructive dialogue between you and your boss.
Timing and approach are crucial.
Choose a moment when your boss is receptive and approachable, such as during a one-on-one meeting or after a successful project completion. Frame your feedback in a constructive and non-confrontational manner, focusing on specific behaviours or actions rather than making generalisations or personal attacks.
Despite concerted efforts to effect change, some toxic work environments remain unyielding, and that’s when leaving becomes the most viable option. It doesn’t signify defeat; it simply means you chose to prioritise mental health over a stressful work environment.
Knowing when it’s time to leave needs introspection, careful consideration, and a mentor to consult with.