A positive work environment starts from the top down. When a manager is passionate, sets a good example, is connected to their employees, and encourages innovation and collaboration, everyone is able to thrive. But when a manager fails to do these things, the whole office can suffer.

Toxic managers come in all forms. Sometimes they’re friendly, but extremely disorganized and ill-qualified. Sometimes they’re demanding, but fail to make productive contributions themselves. Sometimes they’re close-minded, determined to abide by old standards instead of embracing new ideas.

Whatever the case, toxic managers are always bad news, especially if you’re not sure how to deal with them. To help you out, we identified 8 types of toxic managers and provided suggestions for how to handle them. Be sure to check out our infographic on how to deal with toxic employees as well.



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Though it can be intimidating to stand up to your manager, you can often do so in strategic ways that benefit not just you, but also your coworkers and the company as a whole. The first step to determining the best way to interact with your manager is to understand their motives. Are they intimidated by you? Are they introverted? Do they desire attention?

Each of the toxic managers above has specific antidotes, but there are also general strategies for dealing with difficult managers and taking ownership of your work.

  1. Clarify project goals and expectations in writing
  2. Ask questions when directions are unclear
  3. Document what you have contributed to each project
  4. Anticipate your manager’s requests — be proactive
  5. Deliver quality work
  6. Communicate regularly, even if you get few responses
  7. Take initiative and act as a leader

Toxic managers make work environments more difficult, but they can also provide opportunities for you to take initiative and “manage up”. Instead of being discouraged by your boss, think about what you can do to improve your skills and take charge of your career.