In today’s professional landscape, the impact of a toxic boss cannot be underestimated. A toxic boss can create a hostile work environment, negatively affecting employee morale, productivity, and overall job satisfaction. Recently, a video of HDFC bank employee Pushpal Roy yelling at his team members went viral, which provoked conversations around toxic work culture in corporates and how it impacts the employees. 

Toxic boss and work culture can severely impact employees
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Toxic work culture because of an executive or boss refers to an organisational environment in which the actions, behaviour, and leadership style of the boss contribute to an unhealthy and negative workplace atmosphere. Dealing with a toxic boss and work culture can be extremely challenging and stressful.

The HDFC Incident

On 5th June 2023, what seemed to look like a regular online meeting turned into a nightmare for HDFC bank employees. In the video, which is viral now, the executive Pushpal Roy was seen yelling and verbally abusing his subordinates. He humiliated them for not meeting targets and commented on their personal life. Later HDFC released a statement announcing the termination of Mr Roy and criticised the toxic behaviour of bosses at the workplace.

Some signs of a toxic boss or workplace

Lack of Communication and Transparency

One of the key signs of a toxic boss is a lack of effective communication and transparency. They may withhold important information, make decisions without consulting employees, or fail to provide clear expectations. This behaviour leaves employees feeling confused, excluded, and undervalued.

Micromanagement and Lack of Trust

Toxic bosses often exhibit a tendency to micromanage their subordinates. They may constantly scrutinise every task, discourage autonomy, and undermine the expertise of their employees. 

Micro management is a sign of toxic work culture
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Verbal Abuse and Bullying

A toxic boss may engage in verbal abuse, humiliation, or bullying tactics towards their employees. They may belittle, criticise, or ridicule individuals publicly, eroding their self-esteem and creating a toxic and hostile work environment. Such behaviour fosters fear and anxiety among employees.

Also Read: Why Is LGBTQIA+ Inclusivity Important In A Workplace?

Lack of Recognition 

Another sign of a toxic boss is a failure to recognize and appreciate the efforts of their employees. They may take credit for their subordinates’ work, fail to acknowledge achievements, or dismiss their contributions.

Favouritism and Unfair Treatment

Toxic bosses often exhibit favouritism, where they show preferential treatment towards specific employees while marginalising others. They may assign plum assignments to their favourites, provide them with growth opportunities, and treat them more leniently. 

Lack of Emotional Intelligence and Empathy

Toxic bosses often lack emotional intelligence and empathy. They may disregard the personal challenges of their employees, dismiss their feelings, and fail to provide emotional support. 

Boss failing to understand employees is a sign of toxic work culture

How can you deal with toxicity?

Evaluate the situation

Assess the severity of the toxicity and its impact on your well-being and professional growth. Determine if it’s a temporary issue or a pervasive problem that requires intervention.

Seek support

Reach out to trusted colleagues, mentors, or friends who can offer guidance and provide a listening ear. They may have valuable insights or experiences that can help you cope.If your organisation has a human resources department or an employee assistance program, consider reaching out to them for dealing with the problem.If the toxicity persists and affects your well-being despite your efforts to address the situation, it might be time to explore other job opportunities. 

Seeking support can help deal toxic work culture

Document incidents

Keep a record of specific instances of toxic behaviour, including dates, times, and details of each incident. This documentation will serve as evidence if you need to escalate the issue later.

Set boundaries

Establish clear boundaries between your personal and professional life. Don’t let the toxic environment consume you outside of work hours. Engage in activities that help you relax and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Communicate assertively

When addressing concerns with your boss or colleagues, be respectful but assertive. Clearly express how their behaviour or actions are affecting you and suggest constructive solutions to improve the work environment.

To defy toxic work culture assertive communication is important
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Identifying the signs of toxic boss behaviour is crucial for employees to navigate and cope with a challenging work environment. By recognising these signs, individuals can develop strategies to protect their well-being, maintain professionalism, and seek support. Additionally, organisations should prioritise the development of leadership skills, emotional intelligence, and a positive work culture to prevent toxic behaviour from permeating their managerial ranks.