The Six Signs of A Toxic Boss You Should Look Out For

Signs of A Toxic Boss

Signs Of A Toxic Boss:

If you are an employee, working under a problematic boss can be your worst nightmare! Such bosses hinder your professional growth and development, alongside your mental health and well-being.

Further, the organization also suffers due to negligence and poor management of such leaders. The signs of a toxic boss can be minute yet devastating in the long run and should always be dealt with care. 

Subtle Signs of a Toxic Boss

Identifying if your boss is the right leader for you can be a difficult job to perform. Complex managers tend to display signs of complications that might be subtle at first but grow in nature. 

Your Boss Ignores You

A minute sign that you might find insignificant but is proof of your manager’s toxicity is ignorance of good ideas. If you have been pitching ideas for solutions to current problems in daily meetings and notice your boss completely ignore or refuse them without justifying, you need to stay alert! 

Healthy managers keep themselves posted regarding what an employee aspires to achieve personally and professionally.

However, if your boss does not express interest in you, you have found a red flag. Not showing up to 1v1 meetings or tracking your professional achievements and acknowledging them are all signs of a toxic boss in your workplace.  

Your Boss Shows No Accountability

Zero accountability is one of the many signs of a toxic boss you should look out for. Although the hierarchy suggests that the boss isn’t accountable to anyone, leading by example is the most evident way to motivate the workforce.

If your boss makes a mistake and refuses to acknowledge it, that is also one of the many signs of a toxic boss you should watch out for.

Moreover, small practices such as coming in late while preaching punctuality and slacking in workplaces are a norm; you have enough evidence to know that your boss has issues.

1. Your Boss Is Abusive

Showing abusive behaviors can be the most devastating among the signs of a toxic boss. These bosses have a knack for displaying their authority, and most times consider it normal to verbally, non-verbally, or sometimes even physically abuse employees.

Abusive people can harm your mental health and ruin your confidence for the next few years in your professional life. 

Verbal aggression is evident among many toxic bosses. It involves using strict words and abuse while scolding employees. Even an increase in the tone of your manager falls under verbal abuse.

Workplaces have witnessed such bosses for whom belittling the feelings and efforts of employees intentionally and gaslighting specific employees is the new norm. According to the Workplace Bullying Institute, at least 30% of American employees are victims of verbal abuse! 

Non-Verbal abuse is another hazard through which many employees are victimized. If you have noticed your boss roll their eyes or smirk when you pitch an idea or present your work, you are dealing with a complicated boss.

Non-Verbal abuse can be felt if your boss makes you uncomfortable with their looks and routinely stares at you. Facial expressions and gestures of such nature hint that your boss is not the right leader for you, and one of the most important signs of a toxic boss you should watch out for. 

However, abuse from toxic bosses is not just related to verbal and non-verbal abuse. Some of these bosses steep to physical abuse and harassment that includes violating physical spaces, inappropriate touches, and asking for sexual favors, all of which are evident signs of a toxic boss.

2. Your Boss Is Biased

Perhaps the biggest source of losing motivation in a workplace can be biased managers. Playing favorites among employees can result in inefficiency among the team, and provides an unfair advantage to certain individuals based on non-merit factors. 

You should be looking out for behaviors exhibited by your manager when it comes to being fair. If your manager prefers other employees for essential projects and makes promotion decisions that are not justifiable, you need to act!

Being biased is also one of the important signs of a toxic boss you should look out for.  

3. Your Boss Asks You to Practice Unethically 

In each sector of the economy, be it medicine to law, an employee has moral obligations towards the organization and the state. Since the last few decades, bosses have made unacceptable demands from employees which are either lawfully or ethically wrong.

Encountering such a boss who offers a promotion or threatens you with upcoming appraisals in exchange for said demands is a major red flag! 

4. Your Boss Expects You to Work Longer Hours 

Working extra hours in the name of “hustle” is widely common among workplaces today and is one of the major signs of a toxic boss. Working longer hours reduces your ability to be efficient and has immense negative effects on your personal and social life.

With limited social interaction and frequent burnout, your physical and mental health will take a huge toll! In 2016, 745000 employees who worked more than 55 hours a week passed away due to heart attacks!

However, numerous such bosses have incorporated this culture in workplaces. Noticing such demands from your managers is a warning sign, especially when they become more frequent. 

5. Your Boss Is a Poor Listener

Employees and teams need to be heard to ensure productivity and problem-solving. An ideal manager would be a master of listening skills. However, some managers do not prefer this style and expect teams to work under a manager’s instructions.

This not only abolishes creativity but also slows down the process and usually results in failures. 

Watching out for these bosses who do not listen to newer ideas or are not a safe space to generally let out feelings is imperative.

If such problematic bosses work above you in the hierarchy, life in the workplace might not be perfect for you, and you have just identified one of the signs of a toxic boss!  


Working under the right manager can be a treat for dedicated employees who look for growth opportunities. However, not every manager is ideal in organizations.

The signs of a toxic boss can have long-lasting repercussions on both; the organization and the employees.

If you have identified any such signs, it might be wise to try working under a new person or consider switching your job! 


What are the most evident signs of a toxic boss?

The person is a poor listener, a physical abuser, not accountable, and biased are signs of a toxic boss.

How can I stay away from a toxic boss?

You can try keeping a distance and adopting a neutral approach when the boss speaks to you. Also, maintain discipline at all times. If you feel threatened in any way, call security or leave the office.


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