The No. 1 sign of a toxic workplace—‘it can get messy, fast’ warns career expert

 In Work Environment

Whether it’s a bad boss or cutthroat co-workers, a toxic work culture is the biggest reason why people quit their jobs — but the signs of toxicity aren’t all obvious.

The biggest red flag of a toxic workplace is actually a common leadership style: 73% of workers consider micromanagement as the No. 1 sign to watch out for, and 46% identify it as a reason they would quit, according to a new Monster poll of more than 6,000 workers.

Micromanagement often stems from a boss’s lack of confidence and trust in their employees, Monster career expert Vicki Salemi tells CNBC Make It.

And trust issues between employees and managers “have only worsened” as remote and hybrid work have become more popular, she adds. Research suggests that managers don’t always trust employees to be productive when working remotely.

But micromanagement can happen in all types of work situations. Here are 3 signs of a micromanager and how to deal with them:

How to spot a micromanager

You can identify a micromanager by asking yourself one simple question, says Salemi: ’Does my boss constantly check in on me and my work?” If the answer is yes, then you likely have a micromanager.

Here are 3 signs to watch out for:

  • Every decision you make must be approved by your manager
  • Your manager asks to be copied on the majority of emails sent to clients or colleagues
  • Excessive check-ins or meetings with your manager to discuss your responsibilities or progress on a project

On the flip side, Salemi adds, good bosses are comfortable “delegating tasks and show clear trust in their employees to do their best work.”

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Strategies for surviving an overbearing boss

Confronting a micromanager — or trying to change their behavior — can get “messy, fast” if you aren’t tactful in your approach, Salemi warns.

Instead of calling your boss out on their bad behavior, ask your supervisor if you can make a compromise.

For example, if your manager demands to be copied on all emails to a client, and for you to send progress reports on a project every day, you can say:

“With all due respect, that would create additional work for me and means more time spent away from the project. What if I send a weekly progress report instead of a daily report? That would help me focus more. I also hope that you trust me enough to do well on this assignment. If anything urgent pops up, you’ll be the first to know, but I’m sure you get a ton of emails as it is, and I don’t want to inundate you with more.” 

If you’re not comfortable talking to your boss about their management style directly, Salemi recommends setting up a meeting with a trusted contact in your company’s HR department.

“Outline some of your concerns and tell them, ‘I believe my boss is micromanaging me, and I’m hoping to alleviate that as I love working here. What do you recommend?’” Salemi says.

Suzy Welch, a professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business, suggests a different strategy: Over-communicate with a micromanager until they trust you more, and give you more space to work.

“Tell them what you’re doing all the time,”  she told CNBC Make It in 2019. “Eliminate every possible surprise … and most important of all, don’t screw up.”

While some bosses may have patience for you messing up once or twice, “with micromanagers, that option is not available,” according to Welch.

But there is one silver lining to surviving a micromanager, says Salemi: “It makes you a better boss, because you know what it’s like to deal with a bad manager.”


Source: CNBC

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