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Addendum > Strategic Assessment for Dealing with Toxic Superiors

Strategic Assessment for Dealing with Toxic Superiors

  1. What is the cost of the situation?

    • Can I tolerate it?

    • What is it doing to my career?

    • What is it doing to my health and general well-being?

    • What is it costing my family?

  2. What are my values?

    • Work/life balance?

    • Work success at all cost?

  3. What are my options?

    • Can I improve my ability to tolerate the situation through changes in work style/schedule or through my own executive coaching/therapy?

      How costly is it to make these changes?

    • What are the likely outcomes of formal or informal complaints to superiors?

    • Are there other places I can go inside or outside of the company?

    • What is the market like for people with my skills?

    • How will these moves affect my career, family, health?

  4. How likely is it that I can succeed in decreasing the toxic behavior?

    • What drives the person’s behavior, and can I avoid irritating him or her?

    • What is his or her personality structure?

      How narcissistic is he?

      How angry a person is he?

      Does he have any empathy for others?

      Does he have a conscience?

      Does he or she have any capacity for insight?

    • Is stress a factor in the toxic behavior? Will the person’s stress and toxic behavior decrease by themselves?

      Can I help change the situation?

    • Are anxiety and depression factors? Can I recommend he get treatment for them?

    • Can I avoid the person?

    • Am I somehow fostering the behavior I dislike? Can I approach the person differently?

    • Have I brought out such behavior in others? Do I need to change?

  5. What are the potential outcomes of a complaint, including best-case and worst-case scenarios?

    • Who is the person?

    • What power does he or she have?

    • Who is he or she supported by?

    • What is the culture of the organization?

    • What is the procedure for complaining in the company?

    • What power do I have?

      What is my reputation?

      How long have I been there?

      What allies (peers and mentors) do I have?

  6. What can I do so that my options are better in the future than they are now?

    • How can I build my power base?

      Develop allies

      Document inappropriate behavior

      Foster a relationship with a mentor

    • How can I build an escape route?

      Look for other options

      Develop contacts

      Develop skills



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