At a recent presentation, someone asked me about “toxic” managers. You can see my response in this video.
Here’s what I didn’t have time to say: I don’t like the term “toxic manager” or “toxic employee.” My work is all about helping people resolve their differences respectfully. Coming into a conflict with a mindset that one of the parties is “toxic” is simply not helpful.
More importantly, calling someone “toxic” puts the emphasis on individuals when the problem is usually organizational structure or culture. People in an organization are “toxic” only when they are allowed to be this way – when their behaviour is ignored, tolerated or (I hate to say this – but it can be true) encouraged.
So let’s stop calling people names and try instead to understand the underlying factors that contribute to disrespectful conduct.
(I say more about this in an old blog post on bullying.)