How to Identify a Manipulative Boss?

A manipulative boss can create a toxic environment in your work area, and that can harm you severely.
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Have you ever felt that your boss manipulates you? Do you feel that whatever you do is not good enough to please him? Do you get grilling over little details while your boss never treats anyone else like that? In this post, we will highlight the issues which will suggest why you cannot ignore the politics of your boss in the office & how to identify a manipulative boss

If you feel so, you could be a victim of the manipulative and ill-intended boss. Manipulation can come in different shapes and forms in your workplace, and a manipulative boss can create a toxic work culture of distrust, conflict, anxiety and fear. If you ever encountered a manipulative boss, you know why it is crucial to protect yourself and your mental health.

How to Identify a Manipulative Boss?

So, here are a few signs of how to identify a manipulative boss and some ways to deal with them –

1.  Blame shifting

It is a very commonly seen feature in a manipulative boss. When they make a mistake, they start acting inappropriately and turn around the whole blame on you. They are unwilling to accept the responsibility, and as a result, they think that they are never wrong. But this is not at all good for employees as a blame-shifting boss either accuse you of making a mistake to your face or work behind the scenes to pin it on you.

2.  Use Intimidation

Intimidation is one of the most used tools by a manipulative boss. They threaten people with talks of downsizing, demotions, no raises or other similar threats. They grill their employees in front of everybody to scare the whole group. They use fear-based tactics to keep their employees under their control.

3.  Keep Making and Breaking Rules

These bosses know that they have the power to make the rule and change it. Thus, they start working as a judge, jury and executioner. They bend the rules according to their convenience. 

4.  Keep Putting Obstacles in Your Path

They put obstacles in your path strategically. They can put you on any kind of time-wasting process so that you won’t be able to complete your work. They can assign you pointless meetings where you can see nothing coming out of it. They adopt these tactics to sabotage your work. They will put a narrative that these meetings are super important, but that way, they try to waste your time. It is easier for them to throw you off track if they don’t want you to succeed.

5.  Two-Faced Behavior

Manipulative people, in general, keep two-faced behaviour. So, you can sense that your boss, too, has two-faced nature when you see him talking trash about an employee when he is not around. But he starts acting sweet as soon as he sees him. And thus, you need to be careful as this is a common behaviour of a manipulative boss. And you can easily be his victim if he doesn’t like you.

6.  Gaslighting

Gaslighting is a combination of blame-shifting and slanting the narrative along with a bit of brainwashing doubts and questioning your memories. It is projective identification. Your boss projects that you have to submit your work on the 7th of the month, even if he has given the date of 10th. They can slowly make you mistrust your feelings and play with your mental health.

7.  Over Critical

They start finding faults in everything you do. They can start grilling you in front of your co-workers. No matter how hard you work, you won’t be able to please them. They keep criticizing you over the smallest of issues. They can lead you to think that you are good for nothing.

8.  Keep Moving the Goal Post

A manipulative boss can keep changing the work ideals. Your boss gives you an assignment, and you get it done. But they find it unsatisfactory stating strange reasons like, your projects have few things missing. Even if he has not asked you do to so. This is a common tactic used by manipulative bosses over their employees.

9.  Never Praise Your Work

This is a classic example of the behaviour of a person. Here, your boss tries to make you feel inadequate or undeserving of their praise. No matter how hard you will work, they will never appreciate it. In these situations, it’s essential to address the issue. They have the quality to turn every situation in their favour. And even if they are taking someone’s credit, they won’t hesitate. 


So, if you have to deal with a manipulative boss, be careful and check these points to confirm. Also, if you have any suggestions and any ideas, please let us know in the comment section given below. And stay safe from a manipulative boss.

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