Nearly a 3rd of American workers say they go to therapy to cope with their toxic bosses, new survey finds


A recent survey conducted by The Harris Poll revealed that nearly one-third of American workers have turned to therapy to address issues stemming from toxic bosses. The study defined toxic behavior as including micromanagement, credit-stealing, setting unreasonable expectations, unprofessionalism, and unapproachability. The survey found that 31% of participants currently work under a toxic boss, and 71% have encountered toxic behavior at some point in their careers.

The presence of toxic bosses has led to mental health issues for many workers. According to the survey, 74% of employees with toxic bosses experience anxiety over the weekend when thinking about returning to work on Monday, and 53% reported having nightmares about their bosses. Additionally, 34% of those with toxic bosses admitted to using coping mechanisms such as drinking and overeating. Despite these challenges, the majority of workers tolerate toxic bosses due to financial reasons, including salary, benefits, and fears surrounding the uncertain economic climate.

This tolerance bears substantial implications for both the affected employees and the companies they work for. The survey's findings align with existing research on how employers can affect the mental health of their employees. It was found that nearly half of workers feel stressed, one-third feel lonely, and almost a third don't believe their manager cares about their well-being. This situation could impact companies negatively, as mental health support is an important consideration for 81% of individuals when choosing a new job, according to a 2022 American Psychological Association survey.

The impact of toxic bosses and toxic work environments can lead to reduced productivity, intentional decrease in effort, and employee frustration being taken out on clients, as revealed by The Harris Poll survey. In contrast, employees stated that a positive work environment created by their bosses would motivate them to exhibit greater effort, take on more responsibilities, and remain loyal to the company.

Ultimately, individuals faced with toxic work environments may be prompted to consider whether they want to continue with their current jobs. This decision-making process is crucial, as highlighted by Libby Rodney, the chief strategy officer at The Harris Poll.  

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