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14 Signs Of A Toxic Boss (& How to Avoid Them)

Micromanagers like to think of themselves as perfectionists, but they probably aren’t.
14 Signs Of A Toxic Boss (& How to Avoid Them)

A toxic boss is enough to make you dread coming to work every day, or even getting out of bed in the morning. They criticize their employees, have terrible communication, and never recognize hard work. It’s one of the worst work situations you can be in.

In this article we’ll cover exactly how to spot signs of a toxic boss before accepting a job (and why you should care).

14 Signs Of A Toxic Boss You Can Spot In The Interview Process:

  1. Do their stories or comments betray trust issues with people they work with?
  2. Do they seem comfortable telling about how the team functions?
  3. Do they interrupt you to make their own points?
  4. Do they seem bored or not to be listening closely when you are doing the talking?
  5. Do they regard being a workaholic as one of their strengths?
  6. Do they mention a “family” culture but struggle to give examples? 
  7. Do they avoid talking about company values? 
  8. Do they mention “work under pressure” or “hustle culture”?
  9. Do they respond to emails in a friendly and timely manner?
  10. Do they mention opportunities for growth within the company?
  11. Do they give clear examples of the feedback process in their team? 
  12. Do they mention future goals that seem unattainable? 
  13. Do they manage a lot of employees that recently left? 
  14. Do they give you encouragement when you talk about your achievements?

One of these points alone doesn’t mean that your potential boss is a toxic boss, but you’ll want to dig deeper to understand their reasoning. If they fall under most of these points, that’s another story, it’s time to run.

What Is A Toxic Boss (And Why You Should Watch Out for Them)

They only expect perfection from others and seldom put themselves in a position where their imperfections may be judged.

A job interview is a two-way street and you definitely want to be on the lookout for micromanagers, especially the most radical of that breed— the toxic boss.

Working under a toxic, or control freak, boss can lead to nightmarish scenarios.

We all know or have worked with one micromanager and unfortunately, some companies don’t necessarily regard toxic people in management positions as a bad thing. Those who work closely with them might feel differently.

Toxic managers do tend to see themselves as perfectionists, and they are known to be very demanding of themselves. That’s because they fear failure. Because of that, their performance can seem higher, and they get promoted to management positions.

The downside of working with toxic bosses that are on the controlling side is a lack of trust. Controllers tend not to trust the people with whom they work, even their superiors. They are not very good at delegating authority, because they think they have to do everything themselves.

The good news is you can avoid it! Just go through the 14 signs above before making your job decision. And if you’re looking for more interview red flags, check out this video:


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Pamela Skillings
Pamela is the co-founder of BigInterview and an expert interview coach on a mission to help job seekers get their dream jobs. As an HR authority, she also provides consulting services to companies wishing to streamline their hiring process.

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