Toxic Bosses, those people in leadership who make your stomach turn, demotivate you, degrade you and seem to go out of there way to make your life hell. Some of them don’t mean to act this way, some aren’t even aware but all have a negative effect not only on our happiness but productivity and results.
Now, I’d like to start this off with a bold statement. You don’t HAVE to deal with a toxic boss. You don’t have to do anything, you live in a free world where we are given choices even when it feels like we are chained up in a situation with no sight of a key to escape.
You ALWAYS have a choice, and yes, not taking a choice is still a choice.
The most important thing you need to do is obtain clarity. Stress can blur your vision and affect your decision-making ability. First, let’s see what type of symptoms you are experiencing from physical to behavioral, emotional and cognitive. Then we will work backward finding the root cause and providing tips to manage this stress and dealing with a toxic boss.
Is your workplace causing you any of the following?
- Low energy
- Upset stomach
- Frequent colds
- Grinding teeth
- Chest pain
- Loss of sexual desire
- Shaking, nervousness
- Dry mouth
- Avoiding others
- Low self-esteem, feeling worthless, depressed or lonely
- Becoming easily agitated and moody
- Feeling overwhelmed, like you are losing control or need to take control
- Having difficulty quieting your mind or relaxing
- Racing thoughts
- Poor judgement
- Forgetfulness and disorganization
- Constant worrying
- Inability to focus
- Seeing the negative, being pessimistic
- Not eating or overeating
- Avoiding responsibilities or procrastinating
- Increase in alcohol, drug or cigarette use
- Pacing, fidgeting or nail biting
Stress takes a toll on our bodies and minds, the long-term consequences are serious ranging from depression to obesity, gastrointestinal programs, anxiety, personality disorders, sexual dysfunction, skin/hair programs, cardiovascular disease and more.
No amount of success, money or fame will change this simple fact. If your workplace starts to affect your mental and or physical health it’s a red flag, time to stop and assess the root cause.
Once you realize you are experiencing stress, start to journal your days. Stop every couple of hours and write down how you feel focusing on the behavioral, emotional, cognitive and physical symptoms. At the same time also write down what is happening, are you in a meeting with your boss, preparing a presentation, talking to a client, taking a break? Write what is happening around you especially at times you start to feel these stress symptoms.
Do this for a full week. You’ll start to see patterns and triggers. If one of those triggers is your toxic boss then it’s time to find a solution. It might seem impossible to escape, and it may be quite difficult but I promise you, my dear, it’s so worth it. Here are some options you can explore:
- Talk to HR
This is a great first step, if you have an HR department at your company then this is an amazing resource you can use for advice and assistance. Try to document everything that you can to show them real proof of any situation you are facing.
- Work 100% remote
So many companies are starting to adopt this new remote work policy. It’s been shown that people are more productive when working at home, which is a win-win for the business. Explain this proposal to your company and be sure to be ready to address all of their possible concerns.
- Switch departments
If you’re in a larger company with many different departments then start looking for open positions and express your interest in trying something new. Speak to people working in the department to learn how the culture is to ensure it will be an improvement.
- Meditate (Change your perspective)
One of my absolute favorite books is called A Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl and he talks about our right to choose our response. No matter what happens to us (believe it or not) we have the power to choose our response. We can get angry and yell, scream and cry, laugh like crazy or sit there and think about something else. Try meditating every morning incorporating it into your routines with an app like Headspace to control your responses, thoughts, and emotions.
- GTFO (Kindly Leave)
I understand how it feels when you haven’t spent much time at the company (building a resume) or are financially dependent on a company but is it really worth your mental and physical health? Find a company that deserves you or build it yourself! Now being an entrepreneur comes with its own unique set of challenges but before you write it off, talk to other full-time entrepreneurs to learn if it might be the right fit for you. Working as a consultant or freelance is another option too! Find the best bit for your happiness and fulfillment, there’s no mold we have to find into my dear, build your life your way!
If you want to learn from other entrepreneurs, meet like-minded women and achieve your wildest dreams, apply to join Women With Ambition!