10 Signs of a Hostile Boss

If you have never felt worried or anxious about what the next day would hold in your job, I must congratulate you. Some people find themselves in the unlucky situation of working for a hostile boss that frustrates and intimidates them to the point that it begins to affect their health and perception of themselves. 

When working for a toxic boss, you may feel like your heart is about to jump out of your mouth just at the mere thought of them. Your heart is always thumped with anxiety when you’re about to step into your office. They make you feel like you’re a piece of trash and have nothing good to offer, such that you’ll wonder why they’re yet to lay you off and do the job by themselves.

In this article, we will discuss ten signs that indicate you’re working for a hostile boss. We will also cover five strategies you can employ to protect yourself in such a work environment. Let’s dive in!

10 Signs You’re Working for a Hostile Boss

Yes! Working for a toxic boss is challenging and hell. Here are ten signs that clearly explain that your boss is hostile and that you have to think and act fast:

  1. You’re required to work for an unjust number of hours 

Before taking up a job, there is usually a mutual agreement on the number of hours and expected payment between an employer and employee. However, if your boss is hostile, he will not respect that agreement. Instead, he will require you to work several extra hours almost all the time. The worst thing is that you do not receive compensation, and you’re not well-appreciated because he believes he is doing you a favour. 

  1. You’re scared to go to work every single time

You often dread going to work on Monday mornings if you’re an employee working under a hostile boss. You become anxious each day because you don’t know what slight action or mistake will trigger your boss to hurl abusive words at you and frustrate you.

  1. You’re verbally assaulted

A professional boss will give you constructive feedback and criticism and not insult you in a demeaning manner. However, a hostile boss is not empathetic; he’ll abuse you in a way that will cause you a bad day.

  1. He bullies you

A hostile boss puts unnecessary fear and intimidation in the hearts of his employees. He frequently criticizes them and their work, even in the presence of other people. 

  1. He requires you to perform unprofessional/unethical activities

A toxic boss loves to put his employees in tight corners. He doesn’t care about you and would ask you to do things that could cause you to be sanctioned legally, all for his selfish interest. He might want to sexually harass you or ask you to falsify some figures in your company’s documents.

  1. He ignores feedback

A professional boss would always request feedback to seek ways to improve the general work conditions of an organisation. A toxic boss, on the other hand, hates and ignores feedback. They don’t usually have an open-door policy and love to play the blame game.

  1. Favouritism

Comparison, they say, is a thief of joy. Well, a toxic boss does not reason in that light. He practices favouritism amongst his subordinates, making it glaring for all to see. He approves of all the good and wrong things his favourites do and disapproves of everything the other employees do. The irony is usually that his preferred staff might not be as skilled and qualified as the people he’s being hostile to.

  1. Lack of empathy

Hostile bosses do not care about how their actions affect their employees. They often ignore the concerns of their subordinates and create an unfriendly atmosphere within the organisation. They abuse their power and position and use it only in favour of themselves.

Read also: 8 Signs You’re in a Toxic Workplace.

  1. He makes unreasonable demands

A good and professional boss knows each employee’s job description and follows it strictly. However, a hostile boss chokes his employees with work, making them go out of their way.

  1. They are poor communicators

Hostile bosses lack good communication skills, so they make their points known bluntly, sharply, and rudely. They yell when they ought just to talk and cannot engage in active listening.

Read also: How Employers Should Manage Employees Talent in the Workplace

5 Ways to Protect Yourself From a Hostile Boss

Having a hostile boss is usually not a funny situation. It can tamper with your physical, mental, and overall well-being. The best thing you can do is leave if you believe you’re already losing yourself. However, there are a few things you can do to temporarily manage the situation because it may not be possible to change such kind of person:

  1. Find joy outside your job

The aim of your hostile boss is to steal your joy and make your whole life revolve around the job. In order to safeguard yourself, ensure that you leave your work issues at work the moment you leave your workplace premises. Spend time doing the things you love and with the people you cherish.

  1. Don’t take your hostile boss’ actions to heart

Remember, he does not care about you. So, don’t always take their rudeness too personally. Protect your energy, and don’t let them affect you with their negativity.

  1. Face your fears

With a toxic boss, the security of your job is not guaranteed. So, to save yourself from future worries, envisage your worries happening and plan or map out the steps you’re going to take if it eventually happens.

  1. Do your best and leave the rest

Never overwork or overuse yourself because you’re trying to impress your toxic boss. You’re only doing yourself great harm that way because no matter how much effort you put into your assigned tasks, he can never be satisfied. So, save yourself from being disappointed at the end of the day by doing your best and leaving the rest.

  1. Don’t expect praise

Work hard because you know that is the proper thing to do and not because you want to receive praise. Toxic bosses do not praise a well-done job, as that would bruise their ego. 

Read also: How to Stay Calm Under Pressure


Toxicity at the workplace is an unfortunate situation that requires wisdom and patience. Ensure you prioritize yourself in such a situation because if you get worn out, someone will always be out there to take your position.

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Oreoluwa Adekunle
Oreoluwa Adekunle
Oreoluwa Adekunle, a graduate of Library and Information Studies from the University of Ibadan where she merges a passion for literature with expertise in information management. With a commitment to crafting insightful content, she aims to captivate audiences with well-researched narratives, contributing to the vibrant world of writing blogs.

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