10 behaviors you should never tolerate from your boss or colleagues

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We’ve all had tough days at work. Sometimes, it’s because of stressful tasks, but other times, it’s because of difficult people. 

When it comes to dealing with your boss or colleagues, it’s crucial to draw a line in the sand. 

Why? Because a toxic workplace can drain you, both physically and emotionally, affecting your overall performance and well-being. 

Your workplace should be a place where you feel valued and respected. A huge part of that is about setting your boundaries and making them known. 

In this article, we’re going to delve into the 10 behaviors you should never tolerate from your boss or colleagues. 

Let’s get started. 

1) Constant criticism

Nobody’s perfect, and we all make mistakes. Constructive criticism is a big part of personal growth and learning. 

But there’s a big difference between helpful feedback and constant, unwarranted criticism.

If your boss or colleagues are always finding faults without giving you any kind words or encouragement, that’s not okay. It can be demoralizing and create a hostile work environment.

You have the right to stand up for yourself and ask for respect. If the criticism continues to be unhealthy, it might be time to talk to HR or consider other job options.

You don’t deserve to be in an environment where you’re constantly brought down. It’s really not worth the stress!

2) Disrespect of personal boundaries

Work-life balance is not just a trendy buzzword; it’s essential for your mental and physical health. 

One aspect of this balance is respecting personal boundaries.

If your boss or colleagues are calling you after work hours, expecting immediate responses to emails, or asking you to work on your off-days regularly, that’s an invasion of your personal time.

It’s essential to communicate your boundaries clearly and stand firm. Everyone deserves downtime to relax, recharge, and enjoy life outside of work.

After all, you’re not a robot programmed to work 24/7. You’re a human being with a life outside the office, and that should be respected.

3) Lack of recognition

When you’re working so hard and doing your best, a bit of recognition goes a long way. And when you don’t get it…well, it can be really demotivating. 

I’ve been there. I remember when I was working at this small startup. We were a tightly-knit team, pulling in long hours, pouring our hearts and souls into our projects.

But despite all that effort, our boss rarely acknowledged our hard work. Successes were met with silence while failures were highlighted. 

It felt as though our work was taken for granted, which was incredibly disappointing.

Everyone deserves to be recognized for their contributions. It doesn’t always have to be a grand gesture; even a simple “thank you” or “good job” can make all the difference. 

If your boss or colleagues fail to recognize your efforts, it might be time to address the issue or consider a workplace where your efforts are appreciated.

Remember, your hard work deserves acknowledgment!

4) Verbal or physical abuse

This one may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how often it occurs. In fact, a 2021 study from the Workplace Bullying Institute found that:

  • 40% of Americans have suffered abusive conduct at work
  • 19% have witnessed it
  • 49% are affected by it
  • 66% are aware that workplace bullying happens

That should tell you just how commonplace workplace bullying is. 

That’s why it’s even more crucial that you don’t ever tolerate it. It should not be the norm, nor should it ever be. 

Any form of verbal or physical abuse from your boss or colleagues is absolutely unacceptable. This includes yelling, threats, offensive jokes, or even physical violence. 

Not only is this behavior harmful to your well-being, but it can also have severe legal consequences for the abuser.

If you find yourself in this situation, document the incidents, report them to HR immediately, and if necessary, involve law enforcement. 

It’s important to stand up for yourself and remember that no job is worth compromising your safety and dignity.

5) Unfair treatment

Workplaces should be environments where everyone is treated fairly and equally. But sadly, that’s not always the case.

You might feel left out of important decisions, passed over for promotions, or given more work than others for no clear reason. 

It can feel like you’re climbing a mountain while others are taking an escalator. It’s frustrating and disheartening.

If you’re facing unfair treatment at work, it’s essential to voice your concerns. Talk to someone you trust or your HR representative about your experiences.

You deserve fairness and respect in your workplace. You’re not alone in this battle, and there are people and resources available to help you navigate these challenging situations.

6) Negative gossip

Ah, the office grapevine – it can be as destructive as it is enticing. 

I learned this the hard way during my early career years. I had a colleague who seemed to thrive on spreading rumors and negative gossip. 

At first, it seemed harmless – just idle chit-chat. But over time, I realized how damaging it was.

The rumors created an atmosphere of mistrust and anxiety. People were constantly on edge, worrying about what might be said behind their backs. 

It was an unpleasant environment to work in.

Gossip can be incredibly toxic and disruptive in a workplace. If you’re dealing with a gossip-monger at work, try to distance yourself from the negativity and refrain from participating. 

If it becomes too much, consider discussing it with your supervisor or HR.

Remember, you’re there to work and grow professionally, not to be part of a rumor mill!

7) Manipulative behavior

Let’s be real here, nobody likes a puppet master. Especially not in the workplace.

You know the type – those who twist words and situations to their favor or play mind games to get what they want. It’s manipulative, and it’s not cool.

This behavior can leave you feeling confused, frustrated, and doubting your own abilities. And that’s exactly what they want.

If you’re dealing with a manipulator at work, it’s time to cut the strings. Stand your ground and don’t let them push you around or make you question your self-worth.

8) Micromanagement

Did you know that according to a survey by Accountemps, 59% of American workers have worked for a micromanager at some point? That’s more than half of the workforce!

Micromanagement is not only irritating, but it can also stifle creativity and productivity. 

You’ll know you have a micromanager if there’s someone who always: 

  • Hovers over you
  • Questions your every move
  • Insists on controlling even the smallest tasks. 

In this situation, try to address the issue directly and professionally with the person involved. If that doesn’t work, it might be time to involve HR or consider other options.

Why shouldn’t you put up with it? Well, it’s simple – you were hired for your skills and knowledge. You deserve the space to do your job effectively without unnecessary interference!

9) Ignoring or dismissing your ideas

This one hits close to home for me. I once had a boss who would always dismiss my ideas without even considering them. 

It was as if my input didn’t matter, which was incredibly frustrating and demoralizing.

Your thoughts and ideas are valuable. If your boss or colleagues consistently ignore or dismiss your contributions without consideration, it’s not a healthy working environment.

It might be time to have a conversation about this issue or look for a workplace that values your input and encourages open dialogue.

Remember, your voice matters and your ideas can make a difference!

10) Lack of growth opportunities

Lastly, do you feel like you’re stuck in a rut with your job? 

Let’s be honest – being in a job that offers no room for growth or advancement, it’s like being stuck in quicksand. 

You might feel like you’re working your butt off day in and day out, only to remain in the same spot. It’s frustrating, demotivating, and honestly, it’s not fair.

If your boss or colleagues are holding you back from opportunities to grow and advance in your career, it’s time for a serious chat or maybe even time for a new job.

We spend a huge chunk of our day in the office, so even though your job might not be the most exciting, you should at least have the sense that there’s room for growth. 


Look, dealing with difficult bosses or colleagues can be tough. But remember this – you have the right to stand up for yourself. You deserve respect, fairness, and a healthy work environment. Never let anyone make you feel otherwise!

Ethan Sterling

Ethan Sterling has a background in entrepreneurship, having started and managed several small businesses. His journey through the ups and downs of entrepreneurship provides him with practical insights into personal resilience, strategic thinking, and the value of persistence. Ethan’s articles offer real-world advice for those looking to grow personally and professionally.

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