Revisiting wisdom: Confronting A Toxic Boss and Why You Need To

Welcome to part three of our five part series of revisiting favourite corporate-themed blog entries!

Bosses or managers are an inevitable element of the working world. In addition to overseeing your future in your current organization, they have the power to offer you challenging and rewarding work and support you throughout the day.  If your boss is exhibiting problematic behavior it is a miserable and overwhelming experience for you and your coworkers. They may be micromanagers, control freaks, impolite or impossible to satisfy. Perhaps they make racist, sexist or inappropriate comments, are egotistical or play favorites. Maybe your boss lays on the workload, assigns absurd deadlines or is just incompetent. No matter the degree of poor behavior, it can be detrimental to your happiness, health and motivation

If nobody tells your boss what they’re doing isn’t working, how can you expect their behavior to change?  It may seem like the easy way out but don’t avoid the issue, gossip or spread rumors or take out your stress on your co-workers. Like you, your boss needs support and encouraging advice in order to succeed. In a healthy workplace, intervening in a direct and timely manner will not only stop the problem, it will display your professional initiative, problem solving skills and maturity. That being said, if your boss refuses to accept your feedback or acknowledge their inexcusable conduct, they will likely never improve. Just as you have a responsibility to address the issue with your difficult manager, you owe yourself the possibility of success, so if the situation does not improve begin to seek out other opportunities.

Before you approach your boss or manager, consider the following things:


  • Your needs and workplace values
  • Your needs and workplace values
  • Your personal performance
  • The performance of your co-workers and experiences with the difficult boss
  • Any external factors that may be effecting your boss
  • The current workplace environment
  • Communication strategies to stay calm during your conversation
  • The needs of you, your coworkers and your boss

When you’ve done your best to determine the reason behind the behavior, take time to feel confident and prepared when approaching your boss or manager. Meet them at an appropriate time and in a comfortable environment. Provide specific examples of the behavior and how it has an impact on your work.  Expect your boss to react negatively. Do whatever you can to avoid getting emotional and continue to clarify your expectations of the workplace. If the conversation is unproductive or abusive, leave and seek help from HR staff or a mentor.

For further assistance you may also take the time to approach your boss’s manager or HR staff and make them aware of your situation. They may offer to speak to your boss on your behalf, so decide if you’d feel more comfortable reporting anonymously. In this situation especially it’s all about being focused, confident and strong.


About releaseyourvoices

Release Your Voice with Pamela Hart: Public Speaking training based in Vancouver BC. We offer training seminars, oral presentation skills, corporate communication, private lessons or group training
This entry was posted in Challenges, Communication, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s