th images menu user export search eye clock list list2 arrow-left untitled twitter facebook googleplus instagram cross photos entrep-logo-svg

4 signs of a terrible, toxic boss

Here are four behaviors of a toxic boss and how they can (and should) do better.
By Heather R. Huhman |


Everybody has a terrible boss story. From managers who constantly micromanage to owners who throw temper tantrums, there’s no shortage of examples of poor workplace leadership.


Related: How successful people overcome toxic bosses


A bad manager can be so detrimental to an office that he or she actually affects employee retention. It is estimated that one out of two professionals usually quit a job to “get away” from their boss.



Accordingly, the question then becomes, do bad bosses even realize what they’re doing wrong? It’s easy to recognize lousy leadership behavior in others, but it can be difficult to analyze personal wrongdoings. Here are four behaviors of a toxic boss and how they can (and should) do better:



1. Not listening to employees

Imagine an employee named Jim. Jim has been thinking of ways to increase traffic to the company website. He goes into his boss’s office and shares his ideas. Without even looking away from his computer, Jim’s boss just says, “I’ll think about it.” Dejected, Jim returns to his desk, and his idea is never discussed again.


Instead of simply dismissing employees’ ideas, managers should take the time to listen and discuss their suggestions. Employees deserve the opportunity to present their ideas and explain how they can make the company better. Even if a boss decides not to implement an idea, employees should at least feel that their voices are being heard and valued.




2. Shifting the blame

When leaders ‘pass the buck,’ they don’t own up to their mistakes; they erase accountability from the company culture. Instead of wasting time finding someone else to blame, they should step up and find a way to make the situation better.


To make matters worse, bosses who shift the blame when they have a bad idea are often quick to take credit for others' great ideas. This is just as bad.


Trying to garner undeserved praise tells employees that their leader has no regard for others’ hard work or for their own careers. So, leaders should acknowledge employees who go above and beyond. This will create a workplace where employees themselves feel appreciated and in turn recognize others’ success.


Related: About that time I told my boss to 'F*@% Off'




3. Leaving employees out in the cold

A strong leader needs to trust his or her employees and give them the independence to do what they do best. However, there’s a difference between providing autonomy and leaving employees out in the cold.


In order for a boss to be a leader, he or she needs to provide more than just instructions. Also needed is guidance and support for those employees. Knowing the team’s needs and being able to address them quickly is an essential part of workplace leadership.


Thanks to new technology, it’s now easier than ever for bosses to communicate with and manage their employees.



4. Focusing on the negative

When providing feedback, leaders may believe that it’s important to focus on what an employee needs to improve on instead of what he or she is already doing well. But such negativity can actually lead to decreased employee engagement.


Regularly acknowledging employees’ positive contributions shows them you understand they are an important part of the team. Even if an employee is struggling, making sure to include positive feedback with constructive ways to improve will motivate this individual to improve and reach his or her full potential.




Copyright © 2015 Entrepreneur Media, Inc. All rights reserved.

This article originally appeared on Minor edits have been done by the editor.


Photos from Thinkstock

Latest Articles