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Surviving Toxic Behavior

Emotional intelligence—self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management—is invaluable when dealing with toxic people. Moreover, without these skills almost any relationship can become toxic. Reasonable people can lock horns and become polarized on an issue, and may develop an enduring animosity if they do not understand each other’s positions.

Enhancing your emotional intelligence is preventative medicine, a vaccine against the development of toxic relationships as well as a suit of armor limiting the damage that toxic managers can do to you. Emotional intelligence is key to understanding others’ perspectives and needs, resolving conflicts, and wielding influence. It also helps you to know who is dangerous before problems begin, enabling you to take steps to decrease your vulnerability. Emotional intelligence helps you deal with the rigid, aggressive, grandiose, and unethical behavior you may be subjected to. Emotional intelligence also enables leadership to find, and then either coach or remove, managers who behave in ways that are toxic to others.


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