How to Deal With a Toxic Boss (Part 1)

They’re the reason you dread Monday mornings and are the face on your imaginary voodoo doll. It’s unlikely you will be able to change them, but thanks to The Public Speaker, you can definitely improve your work life. 

Lisa B. Marshall
3-minute read
Episode #147

Build a Reservoir of Positivity

Happen to catch your toxic boss on a rare occasion of professional interaction? It’s critically important to praise the good behavior, but not in a condescending way. “I know this process can be frustrating. I really appreciated your patience as I worked work through these issues today. Thanks.”

Along the same lines, come to the aid of your peers. Like you, they are likely feeling beat up too. Publicly acknowledge the accomplishments and strengths of your colleagues. Together with your co-workers, you can build a reservoir of positivity to counteract the all of the toxic negativity. Don’t allow the boss to divide and conquer. 

Confront With Evidence

Is the boss hurting your credibility by bad-mouthing you to others in the office or worse, in the industry? It’s best to confront with written evidence in hand. “In this email you stated that I was an ‘idiot’ and that I never completed the project. Here is the project time-line we agreed to. Here is your sign off on the completed project. I’d like to discuss how we can fix this miscommunication.” Again, professionalism and evidence are your weapons.

Finally, consider the ultimate professional response: be an outstanding employee with a well-known stellar reputation for good work and positive attitude.  When you are a model employee, it’s easy to deflect criticism that doesn’t belong to you. If you consistently over-perform, there’s a chance he or she will back down and begin to trust you.

Next week, we’ll pick up from here. This is Lisa B. Marshall, aka The Public Speaker, passionate about communication, your success is my business.

Bad Boss image courtesy of Shutterstock


About the Author

Lisa B. Marshall

Lisa B. Marshall Lisa holds masters with duel degrees in interpersonal/intercultural communication and organizational communication. She’s the author of Smart Talk: The Public Speaker's Guide to Success in Every Situation, as well as Ace Your Interview, Powerful Presenter, and Expert Presenter. Her work has been featured in CBS Money Watch, Ragan.com, Woman's Day, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and many others. Her institutional clients include Johns Hopkins Medicine, Harvard University, NY Academy of Science, University of Pennsylvania, Genentech, and Roche.