why toxic managers fire hardworking employees

Set Up For Failure – Why Toxic Managers Fire Hard-Working Employees


If you have been in the corporate environment for a while, you have probably been exposed to a toxic manager at least once in your career. From experience, you will know that a toxic manager can have its toll on your career and happiness in the workplace.

The toxic manager’s primary goal is to obtain power, influence, and success. Even if that means getting rid of individuals whom they feel threaten their goals. They are often known for taking the credit for work they never cracked their brain or lifted a finger for. Does it then make sense for a toxic manager to get rid of hard-working employees? Absolutely not. However, they still do and here is why:

They Feel Threatened By You

The toxic manager often lacks empathy and therefore wants to exercise a sense of power and control over their team. Anybody who stands up against them displays boldness which to them is interpreted as undermining their authority. As a result of that, the toxic manager feels threatened and would be terrified if the rest of the team tries the stand up against him/her too. The best way for the toxic manager to solve the problem is to get rid of the threat.

They Can’t Outsmart You

Playing games with individuals’ emotions is how the toxic manager gets by daily. Every move or step they take is about tricking or outsmarting the next target. Literally, everything they say or do is calculated to a tee.

Toxic managers can often create scenarios to stir up heated discussions just to get a reaction or to get under someone’s skin. And the intention behind that is to make themselves look good and to create a hostile or disruptive picture around the other individual. If they can’t succeed in outsmarting you, they would have to get rid of you.

They Have Exhausted (over-used) You

As previously mentioned, a toxic boss or manager does not mind taking credit for their team member’s work. This means that instead of them doing some of their own work, they manipulate individuals to create the concepts and eventually do the job (and thinking) for them. Team members often end up striving against each other just to become the toxic manager’s favourite employee – This obviously creates division and tension within a team.

In addition to that, the danger is that pleasing the toxic manager is never enough. The more credit they get for a team member’s hard work, the more they want. Once you’re burned out and exhausted to perform on the level that will help them reach their own personal targets or goals, again, they get rid of you.

So how does the toxic manager get rid of hard-working employees?

Company policy might not always allow or give toxic managers the chance to fire an employee right on the spot. So here are two major tactics they use:

Unrealistic workload and expectations:

By increasing an individual’s workload and creating unrealistic targets, the toxic boss is basically setting an employee up for failure. They know that no one would really be able to carry out the amount of work assigned to you. Therefore by doing so, they hope to discourage you from successfully doing your job. The truth is, based on the workload, any person would most likely end up burned out and appear unfit for the position. This leads to the second point…

Negative performance reviews:

If the toxic manager is able to make an individual appear unfit for a position, they can negatively influence performance reviews. Also, because unrealistic targets and goals were set from the beginning, you were never going to reach your goals anyway. Often times hard-working employees are fired (or mostly even give up and quit) not because they weren’t able to do the job. Due to the toxic manager’s insecurities, they were set up for failure from the very beginning.

If you have been fired or have left a company due to the toxic work environment, don’t beat yourself up for it. I’m sure that looking back you can agree that the toxic manager did you a favour.

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