Dealing with a colleague is one thing, but dealing with toxic boss requires more finesse.

Here're three types of bosses you never want to work for—or become.

The Ghost

The Ghost is physically or emotionally absent when you need them most.

The Child

This type of toxic boss makes their team wonder why they were given responsibility over them and their work output given their lack of hard and/or soft skills.They take credit for their team’s work, create cliques, and show favoritism.

The Tyrant

The Tyrant is a micromanaging bully who makes employees want to quit on the spot. They can be especially hard on workers who have softer personality traits.

You can think of these managers in terms of Karen Horney’s research on neurotic social behavior.

The Ghost moves away from employees in withdrawal.

The Child moves towards their team seeking admiration and prestige.

The Tyrant moves against their team in aggression and the need for power and control.

How to Identify Toxic Managers in Your Organization

The best way to identify toxic leaders is to listen to, and believe, feedback from your employees.

When done right, an employee pulse strategy will yield insights into what they love about their jobs, and what they wish they could change.

Employee engagement software is ideal for gathering quick pulse data and more comprehensive employee engagement surveys.

Watch your employee retention, turnaround metrics, and trends around absenteeism.

In other words, how are your employees talking with their feet?

Compare attrition data across teams.

Look at exit interviews.

Identify leaders with more than their fair share of employee relations cases.

Found Toxic Leaders. Now What?

Invest in a continuous culture of learning

The result of this is institutional knowledge around “This is what leadership and healthy work look like in our organization,” as well as benchmarks leaders can use to gauge their management abilities.

Employees rely on HR to take necessary action to remove toxic leaders who cannot (or will not) be coached.

The equation we face is the comfort of the powerful few versus the well-being and psychological safety of the many.

Choose the many. Break the cycle.