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6 Signs of a Toxic Boss and How to Deal With Them

By | Claudia Guthrie |

After my first truly horrible interaction with my boss’ boss, I sat, stunned, in front of my laptop. In what I had thought was going to be an uneventful one-on-one meeting, she opened with, “You don’t seem happy here, and we don’t want people here who are unhappy. I would be more than happy to find you another job somewhere else.”

I needed this job, and I wasn’t unhappy—though I also wasn’t shy about suggesting ways to improve workflows and highlighting recurring points of friction. My feelings were hurt, but I gave her the benefit of the doubt. Her intentions were good, I thought. She just worded her concern poorly.

A couple of months later, we had another Zoom call. It went about as well as the first. “I’ve been doing this for a long time and I’ve never been questioned,” she said. “I suggest you watch your tone.”

That’s when I realized: This was turning into a pattern. I was dealing with a toxic boss.

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