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Introduction

Introduction

This book is written for

  • People who must deal with narcissistic, unethical, aggressive, rigid, depressed, or anxious individuals and want to know how to more effectively manage the situation.

  • Senior managers and human resource professionals who are concerned about toxic managerial behavior in their organization.

  • Those who want to enhance their interpersonal skills and advance their career.

Toxic managers dot the landscape in most organizations making them feel, at times, like war zones. These managers can complicate your work, drain your energy, compromise your sanity and destroy your career. You may not yet have been subjected to aggressive, manipulative, unethical, rigid, or narcissistic behavior by bosses or subordinates. If so, count yourself lucky. In time, however, you will almost certainly experience such behavior.

Your ability to deal with difficult managers will have a significant impact on your career. The knowledge you gain from reading this book will help you to deal with them and to avoid letting them derail your projects and your career. This book will help you learn how to recognize toxic managers sooner so that you will be better able to protect yourself. You will develop your understanding of what makes them tick so that you can more effectively design a course of action to deal with their destructive behavior. Some managers are toxic because they are clueless about their effect on others; some are toxic because they do not care if they hurt others; some are toxic because they enjoy hurting others; and some are toxic because they are simply overwhelmed with stress. You will learn how to avoid becoming a scapegoat, how to survive aggressive managers’ assaults, and how to give narcissistic and rigid managers the things they need to be satisfied with you. This book can also help you to recognize toxic behavior in yourself, to realize its impact on others, and to contain it.

First and foremost, this book is designed to increase the emotional intelligence of the reader. By helping the reader to understand different types of difficult personalities and suggesting ways to more effectively deal with them, it will improve the reader’s social competence. For those who are brave enough to recognize difficult behavior in themselves, it will increase their personal competence as well.

The last chapter provides a toolkit for developing your emotional intelligence, shielding yourself from some of the pain toxic managers generally cause, and for senior management and human resources to better protect their organization from the destructive impact of toxic managers.

This book is designed to be easy to understand. No prior knowledge of psychology is needed. It provides concrete, easy-to-follow solutions to ameliorate the impact of toxic behavior. It also provides a sophisticated understanding of why people behave in destructive ways. Understanding the motivations for toxic behavior is not a sidelight. The basic premise of the book is that understanding the different types of toxic managers and the different motivations that can drive a certain type of toxic behavior is crucial to selecting an effective way to cope.

The stories in this book are, unfortunately, true. The names and identifying details have been changed to protect the guilty as well as the innocent. These are events I witnessed or was told about by those who experienced them. I did not use examples from my work as a therapist and executive coach.

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