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How Toxic Bosses Stop You From Advancing Your Career

How To Deal With Toxic Bosses

It’s a nightmare situation that keeps plenty of employees up at night. Toxic bosses aren’t just unpleasant, they don’t just associate the workplace with dread. They’re bad for your career. If you have a toxic boss, you’re likely not in a place where you can advance your career.

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When it comes to working with a toxic boss, you only have a few options: try to neutralize them, report them to their higher-ups, or leave. But what are the signs that your boss is truly toxic, not just under stress or perhaps even justified in their actions?



You never see the same faces

This is one of the biggest red flags that a work environment, and in extension the boss, aren’t a good fit. If new people are always joining and older employees are always leaving, there’s a good reason.


Some workplaces do suit people only temporarily, but in other cases, high rates of employee turnover are down to the kind reasons stated at Lack of engagement, a hostile work environment and toxic bosses, or a lack of work-life balance caused by high work demands. If you’re seeing high employee turnover, then it’s time to investigate the reasons why.


toxic bosses


They’re happy to keep you in a dead end

If you’re focused on forwarding your career and building a better lifestyle, then you need upward mobility. Whether it’s the ability to earn a promotion into a higher position or access to training in new skills, your workplace should always be building you as a person which toxic bosses will not do.


Ideally, you work with the boss to create an employee development plan. But if it looks like no-one is getting any access to training, that there’s no chance of promotion or growth for anyone on your level, your toxic bosses might just be content to keep you in a boring job for as long as you take it. You’re getting paid, but every month you spend there is personal development time you’re wasting.


They play fast and loose with your pay

Another of the most major flags of a boss that doesn’t respect their employees is when they don’t respect their most basic of rights: the right to fair compensation. Talk with your boss about late pay before taking any action but if it happens regularly, double-check your employment contract and your local department of labor to see that you are in fact getting paid late.


Similarly, as shows, failure to pay overtime is illegal, though many toxic bosses will expect you to give them more of your time and effort without being willing to give extra back. Toxic bosses also use their hold on your money as a disciplinary tool when it suits them.


An employer can deduct your pay if you’re late, but they cannot deduct pay if they believe your performance at work is responsible for any losses unless they can prove a crime. Know your rights when dealing with toxic bosses and stand up for them.


How Toxic Bosses Stop You From Advancing Your Career


They have an opinion on everything you do

It might not be as serious as messing with your pay, but micromanaging is another hallmark of toxic bosses. You’re an adult and you don’t need to be babysat. If you need help, you ask for it. But if your boss takes the time to go through everything you do and control the details of your job, it’s not just frustrating, but it wastes time.


You can’t be productive when your every move is being second-guessed. When dealing with a micromanaging boss, you can cut them off in a few different ways. You can take the initiative and keep them informed of your progress. You can ask them to be more specific what they want from you in terms of workflow and results.


You can even ask them if there’s anything, in particular, they want you to better achieve. If you’ve missed work deadlines or met results but not in the way they want, then finding out what their goal is can help you find a working style that better fits their expectations.


One rule for them, another for the rest

People in roles higher up in the organizational chain obviously have some above-board benefits. But many take that as an excuse to flaunt the rules they set for the others in the business. If your boss takes long lunches, leaves early, or violates company rules while enforcing them on you, it will naturally create a deep resentment amongst the team.


If your boss is the employer and head of the company, there’s little you can do. If they’re a mid-level manager, however, you should consider talking to colleagues to get another perspective. If your boss doesn’t try to adjust their behavior, you could get advice on filing a formal complaint about them.



They’re the local gossip mill

As shows, gossip is a workplace killer. It creates tension and hostility that can turn a whole workplace toxic and it very often crosses the border into bullying, which is illegal. If your boss is a gossip, there are few justifiable reasons to stick around with them.


toxic bosses


They don’t understand responsibility or credit

Having your efforts recognized is one of the key steps to achieving the upward mobility mentioned previously. If you’re working extra hard and breaking new ground with better results, you should hope that they will eventually pave the way to a pay raise, a promotion, or even some appreciation.


A toxic boss that fails to give credit or even takes it themselves instead of giving it to the team will never properly recognize your efforts. Similarly, it’s a sign they’re just as likely to throw you under the bus and force you to take responsibility when it is down to their own lack of management skills.

As stated, there aren’t a lot of ways to deal with toxic bosses that doesn’t involve taking some risk or putting yourself out there. However, sticking with a toxic boss means you’ll be working in an environment where your efforts are never noticed, you’re never given real opportunity, and you even risk not getting stable pay.

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