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Tear your team apart like a pro, with these 5 toxic boss strategies

1 – Refuse to listen to concerns or frustrations.
Peons complain a lot. Learn to expect it and tune them out.

If that doesn’t work, remind them of all those people working in sweatshops who get paid less and work longer hours. If your team is loyal to you, and to your company, then they should be able look beyond whatever is causing their small-brained concerns.

Remember if they were truly dedicated, they wouldn’t express frustrations in the first place. If the whining gets out of control, you can always fire someone to set an example.

2 – Keep your team off balance in order to maintain control.
Don’t let anyone get too comfortable. If you see natural leadership emerging among your underlings, nip it in the bud. It’s better if everyone’s a little off-center, to keep them sharp and competitive.

Indulge some healthy paranoia now and then. Which of your team members is trying to oust you? Are those two gossiping over there? Obviously, you are the center of their worlds and they all want to be you when they grow up. Don’t let them get too close or they might out-shine you.

3 – Give the illusion of creative freedom.
Tell your team, “Do it however you think best”. Give no directions or instructions.

Then criticize them soundly when the project doesn’t turn out exactly how you envisioned it. You’re the boss, they should know what you want and produce it instinctively.

If they can’t read your mind, then they’re probably second-rate employees overall and shouldn’t even be on your team. Don’t be afraid to remind them.

4 – Micromanage everything.
Insinuate yourself into your team’s personal lives for maximum emotional power and control. Stay up to date on the gossip, and find out what they are struggling with at home.

Mask your micromanagement under the guise of being a caring, involved, well-meaning parent-figure (if you’re old enough to pull that off). Then, cleverly use your knowledge to blackmail and manipulate them into compliance when they get too nosy or confident.

5 – Maximize the distracting power of little gifts.
The minions are easily diverted by shiny objects.

It’s a lot easier to get away with denying them basic respect and credit if you buy them off with small presents. Never underestimate the influence of a well-timed token of affection just before or after you crush them.


Not sure where to start in building some solid team hatred? These will definitely put you on the right path to becoming an unforgettably toxic boss. Do it right, and you’ll foster deep loathing among those who work for/with/under/around you.

You might even manage to cause some long-lasting workplace trauma, and make them wonder if they’ll ever work with safe people again!

You win.


PS: If a toxic workplace environment isn’t your cup of tea, grab your copy of ONE FACE: Shed the Mask, Own Your Values, and Lead Wisely.

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“Sarah McDugal walks through this charming book at your side, with nothing but your best interests at heart. She is your friend, your confidant and your dependable adviser.”—Andrew Benton, President & CEO, Pepperdine University

“I will be reading this book over and over again, applying more from One Face than any other leadership book I’ve read.”—Jason O’Rourke, US Army Special Ops

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