Grab a cup of tea; it is story time! So I worked under a toxic manager, which literally sabotaged my mental and physical health. It took so long for me to realise that the manager was toxic, and by the time I acknowledged it, it nearly broke me. The lady was so toxic that she had managed to convince me that I was the problem. Apparently, I have heard my friends talking about their toxic bosses and managers, but it never really occurred to me that it would be this horrible to work under a toxic person. However, it is said that people quit bosses, not jobs, and it is true in my case; I left a cushy job because of my manager and her toxic manager traits. There are many reasons for a boss being wrong, but here are some red flags to watch out for.
Here are the top 25 toxic manager traits and signs to watch out for.
- Calling out mistakes in public
- No constructive feedback
- The act of giving vague directions
- Setting up unrealistic expectations
- They are rude
- Playing favourites
- Taking your off times
- Biggest ass kissers
- Credit stealing
- Lack of empathy
- They are always right feeling
- Making inappropriate gestures and comments
- They create conflicts
- They use emotional triggers to break you
- Lack of integrity
- Not concerned about work-life balance
- Neglecting co-workers
- Blaming others for their mistakes
- Make you doubt your abilities and talents
- Unpredictable character
- They tease and mock you in front of others
#1 Micromanaging (Toxic Manager Trait)
Instead of setting a goal for the employees, the micromanagers watch and control each and every movement. Especially in a creative field, you are hiring a creative person and is asking to work according to their will, how is it going to function? The person should have the freedom to work and deliver the results instead of being monitored by the manager 24/7. Micromanaging will only lead to distrust, so better avoid it.
PS- Initially, I thought she was trying to correct me, but when I opened up about this and discussed it with my acquaintances, I understood it was not!
#2 Calling out mistakes in public
Though it was a work from home setup, where the manager had space to call me out personally, she prefered to do it in the WhatsApp group where all the employees were present. Taking screenshots and sharing them on the group calling the mistakes publicly affected my self-esteem.
During the initial days of work, I used to wake up thinking, what is it for today?
#3 Nitpicking (Toxic Manager Traits)
Some toxic managers always find fault, and so was mine. Even though I had spent hours and put 100% into the work I do, she would come and complain about a typological error (in public) while completely ignoring the effort I put into the work. If this sounds like your manager, then it is a red flag because eventually, we will be second-guessing our skills and values. I have been there, people!
#4 No constructive feedback
Good managers want you to succeed, and that good intention comes with praise and constructive feedback instead of criticism and calling out in front of other employees.
#5 The act of giving vague directions
It occurred to me several times that this toxic manager gave vague directions and expected me to read her mind. I spent a lot of time thinking about what she wanted and then ultimately failed.
#6 Setting up unrealistic expectations
Good managers challenge you with high expectations, but toxic managers will put you through unrealistic goals. This will break you big time, as you will be too afraid to say no and too broke to say yes!
#7 They are rude (Toxic Manager traits)
The way they criticise will be rude and spirit breaking. If they do it in front of others, then it’s done and dusted. Time to say goodbye!
#8 Playing favourites
Imagine your boss is comparing you to an employee in a rude way that too in front of others; how would you feel? Another toxic manager trait is ignoring you and playing favourites among the employees. Watch out for this toxic manager trait and save yourself.
#9 Taking your off times
Some toxic managers ask you to work during off days. They are notorious for giving you work during leave even if you are sick.
#10 Biggest ass kissers
Bad managers won’t stand up for their team; instead, they put trash on the team members in front of their superiors to make them look good. They love playing their dirty political game of narcissism and backstabbing to get up the corporate ladder and make themselves look good to cover their own mistakes. So those working for such ass kissers will end up getting terminated or laid off.
My manager was everything except a gossiper! At least she didn’t gossip anything to me but don’t know with others. Anyway, my tenure with her was nothing short of a nightmare. I loved my job, and I always did, but being with her made me hate it more than ever before. I lost my confidence, ability and everything working under her and slipped into work depression. That is when I realised that I should move on and concentrate on my mental health. The trauma was so much that I had to take a break to get over this. But the good part is, I survived all these to guide my readers to healthy work culture.
A few other toxic managerial traits to watch out for are-
#11 Credit stealing
Imagine that situation when you pitched in a new idea and your manager rejected it. Later he presented the idea to the high officials to get applauded. Power grabs happen in corporate structures as it is made in that way. Don’t get disheartened; just get a new boss.
#12 Lack of empathy
Some people generally lack empathy, and I am sorry if your boss is one among them.
#13 They are always right feeling
Yes, this can be tolerated to an extent if you are motivated by the salary and the co-workers. Let them take over the repercussion of their own actions.
#14 Making inappropriate gestures and comments
Oh, that annoying eye-rolling! It is hard to digest such gestures and wacky comments, but what to do? It is your boss.
#15 They create conflicts
They create conflict between the employees to make unhealthy competition.
#16 They use emotional triggers to break you
Using your emotional triggers and personal life to demean you with comments is a bad form of manipulation and is extremely sadistic.
#17 Lack of integrity
Toxic managers never follow the work culture and ethics. All they do is break the rules for their own personal gain and interests.
Your manager will make you feel like you are the central problem here to gain control over you. That is called gaslighting.
#19 Not concerned about work-life balance
If they ask you to work on your off days, then he/she is not concerned about your work-life balance.
#20 Neglecting co-workers
This is the direct opposite of micromanaging. They won’t be concerned about what you are doing at the office, and they won’t be interested at all.
#21 Blaming others for their mistakes
Instead of fixing their mistakes, they put the blame on others to look good.
#22 Make you doubt your abilities and talents
To get control over your self-esteem, they will do things to make you doubt your abilities. As a result, you will feel like you are not enough.
#23 Unpredictable character
These people change their character like chameleons, and they are totally unpredictable.
#24 They tease and mock you in front of others
Even if the joke is enjoyable, cracking a joke in front of others is utter disrespect. It is an absolute toxic situation.
Toxic managers are the biggest manipulators!
Always remember a wretched work environment will do more harm than you can imagine. All you can do is find another job and move from these people. You can report to your superiors as I did, but the chance of toxic managers changing their attitude is significantly less.
Stay happy and healthy, everyone!
FAQ: Bad Managers
What are the 5 traits of a toxic manager?
The above traits are something to watch out! Beware and stop whenever it is affecting your mental health.
How do you know if your boss is toxic?
If they are expressing the above traits, then they are toxic.
How do you deal with a toxic boss or manager?
Report it to the HR department, if not working then better leave the job.
How can you become a better boss or manager?
Try reading leadership books and attending workshops. Identify your weakness and learn to improve them.
How do you deal with a toxic manager?
Confront them politely that they are doing wrong and it is affecting your mental health. If it is not working out, then report to higher officials. If it is the same again, then it is time to find another job.
What do you do if your boss humiliates you?
Confront him and make sure it won’t repeat again. If it persists find another job.