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10 Warning Signs of a Toxic Boss

10 Warning Signs of a Toxic Boss

Photo courtesy of Picture Perfect Pose via Creative Commons

Margot Carmichael Lester | Monster Contributing Writer

We’ve all heard stories about the nightmare of working for a toxic boss. Some of us have even had the unique displeasure of doing so ourselves.

Red flags to such behavior often appear as early as the interview process. We’ve compiled 10 warning signs of a toxic boss. Watch for them in the interview and you might be able to avoid a negative work environment — or at least know what you’re in for:

1. Disrespectful Behavior

“Don’t overlook unprofessional behavior, such as emails that aren’t returned or disregard for stop and start times for the interview without apology,” says Anna Maravelas, president of and author of How to Reduce Workplace Conflict and Stress. “These mini-moments are microcosms of your potential supervisor’s style.”

2. Visual Cues

“If your boss scans you from head to waist versus waist to head as they extend their hand in greeting you, they are intuitively sending a message that you are smaller than they are,” explains Zannah Hackett, author of The Ancient Wisdom of Matchmaking. Though subtle, it’s the nonverbal equivalent of a belittling comment. “This is not a good sign that your talents are going to flourish in this environment.”

3. Defensive Body Language

“An insecure boss will find you threatening if you are good at your job and will use the power of the position to make your life miserable,” says Pamela Lenehan, president of Ridge Hill Consulting and author of What You Don’t Know and Your Boss Won’t Tell You. Watch for constant shifting, avoiding eye contact or rifling through papers as you talk, she notes.

Continue reading on the next page →

  • Greceaaaa2_max50


    almost 3 years ago


    Nice meeting you here, how are you today i will want us to be friends contact me here with my e-mail address ( ) because i have a special reason why have contacted you so that i can send you my photos and also tell you more about myself here is my e-mail address( ) you can also drop me your email mail address i am waiting to get a reply from you remember that co-lour, language or age and distance does not matter but understand matters
    Yours New Friend
    Miss Grace

  • 09-25-09_1449_2__max50


    over 4 years ago


    This a very important and many people needs to know this to avoid working for a boss like this. My own experience caused me to either to refuse working with a boss who is abusive or usually taking a stand in fighting against these types of people. You have them everywhere and they need to know that it is not acceptable and will not be tolkerated. Only then will they be forced to change or lose what they accomplished in life. Sometimes a bad boss can be transformed inot a good boss depending on how you hit them were it hurts... showing that you don't fear them and actually they don't control you or your future. They only have as much power that you give them.

  • Laurie_max50


    over 5 years ago


    We have recently (in the last year) gotten new a new manager. He used to be a part of the team, BUT...everyone is aware of his "niceness" he is sticky sweet nice, but in a condescending manner...which is really much so that we have lost 6 people since he took over, and everyone is looking...he really doesn't trust anyone and instead of being honest he is only looking out for number one, and anyone who can use as a stepping stone is going to get thrown under the bus...he has taken credit for others work so many times now...and other yes you can have a bad boss and it can turn a team into a bunch of backstabbing two year old's in a matter of weeks. So a bad boss can make or break a work environment.

  • -pix_503_max50


    over 5 years ago


    tHANKS FOR THE tip, but i think bosses has their own style...
    employees just have to know what they want in their job aside from having an ideal boss:)

  • Head_shot_-_concho_y_toro_winery_max50


    over 5 years ago


    While these are useful tips they are a few more : fails to lead by example; fails to give useful feedback, or any feedback; takes a nonurgent phone call when in the middle of a serious discussion with you; yells at employees; does not maintain a work flow structure; does not demonstrate interest in employees' work; Is passive agressive about change; is conflict averse; gives impression that moral does not matter; will go the entire day without saying hello to employee; does not bother to say "hello" to secretaries or lower level staff when passing them. What is important to remember also when evaluating a boss's behavior : Is there a pattern? Every boss has rough periods, or days when he/she gets bombarded with e-mail, etc. Before writing off a boss as being "toxic" because of some behaviors you have to ask if there is something else going on, and is it a behavior that really affects your ability to do your job, or is it a behavior that you could bring to his/her attention and possible alter?

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