We are sure that everyone has encountered a bad boss at some stage during their career, but a toxic boss can be detrimental to your health. Earlier this year a new study by the Alliance Manchester Business School revealed the impact of a toxic boss including distress, dissatisfaction, and even depression. But how do you know if your boss is just bad or toxic?
Apparently toxic bosses have a combination of personality traits that is commonly refereed to as the ‘dark triad’. Narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy make up this triad of traits that take your regular old bad boss to toxic. The report found higher levels of the dark triad correlated with higher workplace bullying, depression, and counter-productive behaviour. It is through the need of power and lack of empathy that causes toxic bosses to take advantage of others. Sound familiar?
We hope you do not have a toxic boss, but if you do here is what you can do.
Whether it is another manager or just a skilled peer, seek mentorship from someone who can provide you with the kind of leadership you need. It doesn’t have to be behind your toxic boss’s back, but you may want to think about how overt you wish to show the relationship.
Not only will a mentor help counteract the negative effects of a toxic boss but confiding (and we mean confiding, not gossiping) may encourage the mentor to speak out and help the team.
This might not be an option for everyone but even toxic bosses appreciate the truth. Set up a meeting with them and talk through your issues. Use the time constructively to ask how you could perform your job better and how you can neutralise their toxic behaviour.
If your boss is making you stressed you should consider going the extra mile with wellbeing activities. Yoga is a classic practice to help you center yourself and minimise stress. While this might be useful outside work it is unlikely you will be able to take a 20-minute yoga session at your desk. As such, find small practices that help you calm. It might be breathing exercises or making your favourite hot beverage. No matter how you technique make sure you access it whenever you need it.
We’ve intentionally left this till the end. If your toxic boss is making you feel stressed and upset, you should consider leaving. It is not an easy decision but sometimes it is the best thing for your mental health. Leaving is not as daunting as it might seem. Have a little look through our latest roles and resources to motivate you through the process.