I work in an office environment where our manager is always finding flaws in our work no matter how well we do. We discuss the situation amongst coworkers and I’m looking for better words to describe this environment.

  • Would "perfectionist" fit? It's not necessarily toxic, but it does describe the way your manager behaves. And if they are argumentative about it, they could be said to be bickering.
    – Joachim
    Commented Jan 13, 2023 at 14:48
  • The term toxic is pretty common. Commented Jan 13, 2023 at 16:07

1 Answer 1


One recognised term is a hostile work environment, although that is recognised in US law so has fairly clear definitions and is an extreme.

The phrase hostile work environment is a civil law term that refers to the behavior of an individual in a workplace that creates an environment that makes work difficult or uncomfortable for another person. This includes behavior that may leave another employee feeling afraid or violated. Such offensive behavior happens in many forms, including sexual harassment.

If that is too extreme then you may just consider calling it a 'toxic work environment', as that is common terminology these days, if a little vague.

People often speak of the 'culture' in the office or at their workplace being toxic. You could be more specific and say there is a faultfinding culture, or a blame culture.

Your manager also sounds like they practice micromanagement:

In business management, micromanagement is a management style whereby a manager closely observes, controls, and/or reminds the work of their subordinates or employees. Micromanagement is generally considered to have a negative connotation , mainly because it shows a lack of freedom and trust in the workplace.

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