Having a toxic boss can be incredibly challenging and emotionally draining. Whether they’re micromanaging your every move, playing favourites, or refusing to take responsibility for their actions, working under such conditions can take a serious toll on your well-being and job satisfaction.

It is worth noting that in December 2023, a YouGov poll revealed one in five Britons (21%) had experienced bullying in adulthood, with the most common source of adulthood bullying being the workplace.

So, what can you do to cope with a toxic boss? Here are some strategies to consider:

  1. Establish boundaries

Set clear boundaries between your work life and personal life. Avoid letting your boss’s toxic behaviour seep into your off-hours by disconnecting from work emails and calls when you’re not on duty. It’s important to prioritise your mental health and well-being above all else.

  1. Seek support

You’re not alone in dealing with a toxic boss. Reach out to colleagues, friends, or family members for support and advice. Sometimes, simply venting about your frustrations can provide much-needed relief. Additionally, consider seeking guidance from a mentor or career coach who can offer valuable insights and strategies for navigating difficult work situations.

  1. Focus on what you can control

While you may not be able to change your boss’s behaviour, you can control how you react to it. Focus on maintaining a positive attitude, staying professional, and doing your best work despite the challenges. By taking ownership of your actions and responses, you can regain a sense of control in a seemingly uncontrollable situation.

  1. Document everything

Keep detailed records of any incidents of toxic behaviour from your boss, including dates, times, and specific examples. Having concrete evidence can be invaluable if you need to escalate the issue to HR or higher management. Additionally, documenting your own accomplishments and contributions can help counteract any negative perceptions your boss may have of you.

  1. Explore your options

If the toxicity becomes unbearable and begins to affect your mental or physical health, it may be time to explore your options. Consider looking for opportunities within the company that would allow you to work under a different manager or explore external job opportunities that offer a healthier work environment. Remember, your well-being should always be your top priority.

  1. Access support services

Many companies offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) to provide confidential counselling, support, and resources to employees facing personal or work-related challenges. These programs often include access to mental health professionals who can offer guidance and support for dealing with difficult situations like having a toxic boss. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your HR department to learn more about the support services available to you.

  1. Practice self-care

Lastly, don’t forget to take care of yourself. Engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation outside of work, whether it’s exercising, spending time with loved ones, or pursuing hobbies. Prioritising self-care is essential for maintaining your resilience and coping with the challenges of working under a toxic boss.

Dealing with a toxic boss is never easy, but by implementing these coping strategies and accessing the support available to you, you can navigate the situation with grace and resilience. Remember, you deserve to work in an environment where you feel respected, supported, and valued. Don’t hesitate to take action to protect your well-being and career happiness.


Every individual deserves to work in an environment free from bullying. Tell Jane offers a wealth of services to prevent workplace bullying and empower employees to speak out against toxic behaviour, including an anonymous reporting hotline, mediation, conducting grievance investigations and anti-bullying and harassment training and policy review. Talk to us today to learn more.

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