You are previewing Toxic Workplace!: Managing Toxic Personalities and Their Systems of Power.
O'Reilly logo
Toxic Workplace!: Managing Toxic Personalities and Their Systems of Power

Book Description

Praise for Toxic Workplace!

"Toxic Workplace! describes how to identify and best work with toxic personalities. It also provides a systemic approach for creating a culture that's positive and respectful while improving the bottom line. Kusy and Holloway share how their national research translates into real-world practices in organizations. I endorse their practical, concrete approaches that will make a significant difference in organizations today and in the future."

Gregg Steinhafel, president and CEO, Target Corporation

"Toxic Workplace! brings a rare and valuable view of one of the great challenges facing leaders in today's organizations. It is a significant guidebook to the healthy enterprise of the future, not only because of Kusy and Holloway's systems approach to dealing with toxic personalities, but also their unique practice of creating communities of respectful engagement. This book demonstrates how this impacts both organizational social responsibility and the bottom line.

Frances Hesselbein, former CEO of the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A.; founding president and chairman of Leader to Leader Institute, formerly The Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management

"Transforming the culture to support the strategy and mission is the real stuff of leadership. Toxic Workplace! gives you the research-based tools to identify and deal with the 'dark side' of this important dynamic. Read it and you will engage your organization in new, more authentic, and effective ways!"

Kevin Cashman, author, Leadership from the Inside Out and senior partner, Korn/Ferry Leadership & Talent Consulting

Examples link provided by the publisher.Errata link provided by the publisher.

Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
  2. Toxic Workplace!
  3. I. Understanding Toxic People and Toxic Environments
      1. 1.1. The Ubiquity of Toxic People
      2. 1.2. Why We Wrote This Book
      3. 1.3. How We Researched the Problem of Toxic Personalities at Work
      4. 1.4. Toxic People Thrive Only in a Toxic System
      5. 1.5. The Hidden Chunk of the Toxic Iceberg
      6. 1.6. The Hidden Costs of Uncivil Behavior
      7. 1.7. The Hidden Costs of Bullying
      8. 1.8. How Human Resource Professionals View Toxicity
      9. 1.9. How Do Toxic People Get Hired in the First Place?
      10. 1.10. Why Not Just Fire Toxic People?
      11. 1.11. Beware the "Bad Apple" Effect of Toxic Behavior
      12. 1.12. Summing Up
      1. 2.1. Three Types of Toxic Behaviors That Drive People to Distraction
        1. 2.1.1. Type 1: Shaming Behavior
        2. 2.1.2. Type 2: Passive Hostility
          1. Toxic People Are Often Passive-Aggressive
          2. Toxic People Often Distrust Others
          3. Toxic People Stake Out Their Territory
          4. Toxic People Reject Negative Feedback
          5. Toxic People Often Don't See Themselves as Toxic
        3. 2.1.3. Type 3: Team Sabotage
          1. Toxic People Often Conduct Team Surveillance
          2. Toxic People Often Meddle in the Work of a Team
          3. Toxic People Often Abuse Authority
      2. 2.2. How These Behaviors Work Together to Keep Toxicity in Place
      3. 2.3. The Two Faces of Toxic People: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
      4. 2.4. Toxic Behavior Can Literally Make People Sick
      5. 2.5. Summing Up: It's the Behavior That Matters
      1. 3.1. How Leaders Typically React to Toxic People
        1. 3.1.1. Unsuccessful Reaction 1: Adjust or Leave, and Why These Don't Work
        2. 3.1.2. Unsuccessful Reaction 2: Reconfigure the Situation, and Why This Doesn't Work
        3. 3.1.3. Summing Up Unsuccessful Reactions
      2. 3.2. Strategies Leaders Use to Deal with Toxic People
        1. 3.2.1. Why Feedback Strategies Don't Often Change Toxic Behavior
        2. 3.2.2. Why Informal Strategies Don't Change Toxic Behavior
          1. Example 1: Sticking to One's Agenda
          2. Example 2: Damage Control
        3. 3.2.3. Why Formal Strategies Don't Change Toxic Behaviors
          1. Why Firing Doesn't Work
          2. Why HR Often Can't Help
          3. Why External Consultants or Coaches Often Can't Help
      3. 3.3. Summing Up Formal Strategies
      1. 4.1. Evaluate Your Organization's Culture
      2. 4.2. System Dynamics: How an Organization's Culture Can Promote Toxicity
        1. 4.2.1. The Structure Changes to Accommodate the Toxic Personality
        2. 4.2.2. The Organization Tolerates Toxicity, Provided the Individual Is Productive
        3. 4.2.3. The Team Climate Changes When the Toxic Person Is Present
        4. 4.2.4. The Organization's Leaders Are Unaware of the Toxic Person's Behavior
          1. How Leaders Enable Toxic People
          2. Some Leaders Aren't Open to Hearing About Toxic Behavior
        5. 4.2.5. Less Productive Team Meetings Are Tolerated
        6. 4.2.6. Organizations Can Enable Toxic Behaviors
        7. 4.2.7. How the Organizational Culture Contributes to Toxicity
      3. 4.3. Summing Up
  4. II. The Toxic Organization Change System Model
      1. 5.1. Formally Integrating Values into Your Organizational System
        1. 5.1.1. Integrating Values into Your Organization's Policies
        2. 5.1.2. Integrating Values into Your Organization's Performance Appraisal Process
        3. 5.1.3. Integrating Values into Your Organization's Leadership Development Program
        4. 5.1.4. Integrating Values into Your Organization's 360-Degree Feedback Systems
        5. 5.1.5. Integrating Values into Your Organization's Skip-Level Evaluations
      2. 5.2. Informally Integrating Your Organization's Values Through Leadership Modeling
      3. 5.3. Developing Values Relevant to Your Organization
        1. 5.3.1. Involve Key Stakeholders in the Process of Developing Values
        2. 5.3.2. Create a Planning-to-Plan Team to Guide the Values-Development Process
        3. 5.3.3. Make Sure You Can Live with the Values Your Planning Team Proposes
      4. 5.4. Summing Up
      1. 6.1. Proactive Strategies to Deal with Toxicity at the Team Level
        1. 6.1.1. Select the Right Team Members
        2. 6.1.2. Translate Organizational Values into Behavioral Team Norms
          1. Step 1: The Leader Establishes the Purpose of the Session
          2. Step 2: The Leader Reviews the Organizational Values in Detail with the Team
          3. Step 3: The Leader Relates the Decision-Making Process That Will Be Used
          4. Step 4: The Team Translates the Organizational Values into Behavioral Norms
          5. Step 5: The Team Determines How to Keep These Norms Alive
          6. Step 6: Develop a Follow-Up Plan to Revisit How the Team Norms Are Working
      2. 6.2. Developing Team Values Without Clearly Defined Organizational Values
        1. 6.2.1. How Leaders Can Engage the Team to Integrate Values: A Case Study
      3. 6.3. Reactive Strategies for Dealing with Toxic Teams
        1. 6.3.1. Use 360-Degree Team Feedback Systems
        2. 6.3.2. Conduct Exit Interviews: An Often-Forgotten Action Strategy
          1. A Case Study: Exit Interviews Might Have Revealed a Team Leader's Toxicity
          2. Bringing in a Consultant Can Help—But Be Wary!
          3. Rebuilding George's Team by Using Team System Assessments
        3. 6.3.3. Identify Toxic Protectors: The Hidden Enablers
          1. Special Relationship Protectors
          2. Power Protectors
          3. Productivity Protectors
          4. Intervening with Toxic Protectors
      4. 6.4. Summary of Team Interventions
      1. 7.1. Strategy 1: Managing a Toxic Individual's Performance by Providing Targeted Feedback
        1. 7.1.1. Feedback Phase I: Identify the Problem
          1. Describe the Problem as You Have Observed It
          2. Be Clear
        2. 7.1.2. Feedback Phase 2: Use a Sequential Process to Target a Resolution
          1. Step 1: Begin the Discussion with Why You Perceive This Behavior as a Problem
          2. Step 2: Pause and Allow the Individual to Share His or Her Views
          3. Step 3: Whenever Possible, Get Agreement That a Problem Exists
          4. Step 4: Brainstorm Alternatives on Solving the Problem
          5. Step 5: Agree on One Alternative
        3. 7.1.3. Feedback Phase 3: Provide a Process for Achieving the Performance Goals
      2. 7.2. Strategy 2: Using Performance Appraisals to Integrate Values
        1. 7.2.1. Feedback During Performance Appraisals When Values Are Clearly Identified
        2. 7.2.2. Feedback During Performance Appraisals When Values Are Not Clear
      3. 7.3. Strategy 3: Coaching
        1. 7.3.1. The Coach Needs to Use a Systems Approach
        2. 7.3.2. The Coach Needs to Be Prepared to Work with People Who Resist Change
        3. 7.3.3. The Coach Needs to Be Accountable to the Organization
        4. 7.3.4. The Coach Needs to Assess Information from Multiple Stakeholders
        5. 7.3.5. The Coach Should Be Aware When Coaching Won't Work
        6. 7.3.6. The Coach Should Recommend Reassigning a Toxic Individual
        7. 7.3.7. The Coach Should Help Reintegrate the Toxic Person into the Team
      4. 7.4. Strategy 4: When All Else Fails: Terminate the Toxic Individual
      5. 7.5. The Critical Importance of Formal Authority
      6. 7.6. Conclusion
      1. 8.1. Myths and Truths
        1. 8.1.1. Myth 1: Don't Mess with the Success of Toxic People
        2. 8.1.2. Myth 2: Toxic People Know Exactly What They're Doing
        3. 8.1.3. Myth 3: Give Them Feedback, and They Will Change
        4. 8.1.4. Myth 4: Most People Won't Put Up with Toxic Behaviors
        5. 8.1.5. Myth 5: HR and Other Consultants Solve the Problem
        6. 8.1.6. Myth 6: Fire Them to Resolve the Issue
        7. 8.1.7. Myth 7: Toxic Behavior Is a Solo Act
        8. 8.1.8. Myth 8: When Hiring, Seek a Little Extra Expertise over a Little Extra Likability
        9. 8.1.9. Myth 9: Bosses See the Systemic Effects
      2. 8.2. Fostering Renewal from Toxicity for the Leader and Team
        1. 8.2.1. Quadrant 1: Benchmarking
        2. 8.2.2. Quadrant 1: Leadership Development Program
        3. 8.2.3. Quadrant 1: Mentoring for Leadership
        4. 8.2.4. Quadrant 2: Communities of Practice and Values Building
          1. Schedule Meetings Regularly
          2. Focus the Discussion, Use a Facilitator, and Set an Agenda
          3. Share the Results
          4. Use Virtual Technology
          5. Keep in Mind the Organization as a Whole
        5. 8.2.5. Quadrant 3: External Coaching for Leadership Healing and Employee Assistance Programs
        6. 8.2.6. Quadrant 4: Team Healing Through Retreats and Employee Assistance Programs
      3. 8.3. Our Final Words
  5. A. Our Research Methodology
    1. A.1. Phase 1: Informal Interviews
    2. A.2. Phase 2: Formal Interviews
    3. A.3. Phase 3: The Structured Survey
  6. B. National Survey Responses on Toxic Behaviors
    1. B.1. Toxic Behaviors: Survey Responses to Exhibit 2.1
    2. B.2. Leader Reactions: Survey Responses to Exhibit 3.1
    3. B.3. Leader Strategies: Survey Responses to Exhibit 3.2
    4. B.4. Organizational Culture: Survey Responses to Exhibit 4.1
  7. Notes
    1. Chapter One
    2. Part Two
    3. Chapter Five
    4. Chapter Six
    5. Chapter Seven
    6. Chapter Eight
  8. The Authors