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The 5 people you meet in a toxic work environment

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The 5 People You
Meet in a Toxic
Work Environment
Presented by: Rich Harrison & Meghan Hatalla
“The culture of any
organiz...

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We are surrounded by
toxic people at work.
This is why you need
to care...

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Toxic work environment
1. Major Communication Problems
2. Inconsistency in following policies
3. Narcissistic leaders
4. S...

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The 5 people you meet in a toxic work environment

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Most of us don't get to pick our coworkers anymore than we get to pick our family. Here's how to deal with the ones you wouldn't pick--

- Sad Panda
- Boy Wonder
- The Grinch
- Pied Piper
- Shadowy Board Room Villain

--and how to stop them from interfering with your good work and good vibes.

Most of us don't get to pick our coworkers anymore than we get to pick our family. Here's how to deal with the ones you wouldn't pick--

- Sad Panda
- Boy Wonder
- The Grinch
- Pied Piper
- Shadowy Board Room Villain

--and how to stop them from interfering with your good work and good vibes.

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The 5 people you meet in a toxic work environment

  1. 1. The 5 People You Meet in a Toxic Work Environment Presented by: Rich Harrison & Meghan Hatalla “The culture of any organization is shaped by the worst behavior the leader is willing to tolerate.” Gruenter & Whitaker
  2. 2. We are surrounded by toxic people at work. This is why you need to care...
  3. 3. Toxic work environment 1. Major Communication Problems 2. Inconsistency in following policies 3. Narcissistic leaders 4. Seething disgruntlement 5. Physical and emotional health effects Source: Entrepreneur
  4. 4. “[Those] who experience psychological stress at work face twice the risk of cardiovascular disease.” Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen - German Research Centre for Environmental Health
  5. 5. Survey: 14,000 CEOs, managers, and employees “Employees subjected to incivility ‘markedly loosened bonds with their work life.’” Porath and Pearson - Georgetown and Arizona State Universities
  6. 6. Incivility: 96% of American workers have experienced it (99% have witnessed it)
  7. 7. ….intentionally decrease the quality of their work
  8. 8. ...take their frustrations out on customers
  9. 9. 50% decrease work effort, intentionally spend less time at work
  10. 10. left their jobs due to uncivil treatment 12%
  11. 11. Gaslighting: a form of mental abuse in which a victim is manipulated into doubting his or her own memory, perception and sanity.
  12. 12. The Cost of Avoidance ★ Reduced Productivity ★ Reduced Creativity ★ Damaged Relationships ★ Broken Trust ★ Attrition
  13. 13. Sociopath vs. Petty Tyrant
  14. 14. The Sociopath “One out of every 25 human beings has no conscience, no sense of right or wrong, no empathy, no ability to understand emotion–no soul. Worse, while they can mimic emotion, they see other humans as mere pawns or saps...” Dr. Martha Stout - Harvard Medical School
  15. 15. Managing Sociopaths ★ Be honest with yourself: do not make excuses for them ★ Do not trust them ★ Do not expect them to change ★ “Talk powerfully with the truth” ★ Get help and help others cope ★ Know when to leave!
  16. 16. The Petty Tyrant “...a tormentor, someone who either holds the power of life and death over warriors, or simply annoys them to distraction.” Carlos Castaneda - The Fire from Within (Pocket Books, 1991)
  17. 17. Managing Petty Tyrants ★ React with kindness (they are in pain) ★ Do not take actions personally ★ Try humor (lighten the mood) ★ "Be That Which Nothing Can Take Root In" ★ Offer feedback and encouragement ★ Learn from them; let them make you better
  18. 18. SAD PANDA Characteristics ★ Chronic Downer ★ Won’t Stand Up ★ Avoids Work
  19. 19. SAD PANDA Solutions ★ Workarounds ★ Stay Positive! ★ Recognition Characteristics ★ Chronic Downer ★ Won’t Stand Up ★ Avoids Work
  20. 20. GRINCH Characteristics ★ Agent of Chaos ★ Passive-Aggressive ★ Eccentric GRINCH
  21. 21. GRINCH Solutions ★ Pragmatic Relationship ★ Professional Boundaries GRINCH Characteristics ★ Agent of Chaos ★ Passive-Aggressive ★ Eccentric
  22. 22. Characteristics ★ Negative Bonding ★ Peter Principle ★ RIP (Retired in Place) PIED PIPER
  23. 23. Characteristics ★ Negative Bonding ★ Peter Principle ★ RIP (Retired in Place) Solutions ★ Don’t Join In ★ Protect Pride ★ Create Deterrents PIED PIPER
  24. 24. Characteristics ★ Ladder Climber ★ Narcissistic ★ Machiavellian WUNDERKIND
  25. 25. WUNDERKIND Characteristics ★ Ladder Climber ★ Narcissistic ★ Machiavellian Solutions ★ Recognize YOUR power ★ Don’t be Manipulated ★ Deliver!
  26. 26. Characteristics ★ Status Seeker ★ Railroads Decisions ★ Elevate themselves ★ Otherworldly SHADOWY FIGURE
  27. 27. Characteristics ★ Status Seeker ★ Railroads Decisions ★ Elevate themselves ★ Otherworldly SHADOWY FIGURE Solutions ★ Sell Your Ideas ★ Don’t be Intimidated ★ Concede Partial Credit
  28. 28. Recap: Recognize the Signs ★ Repetitive complaining without offering solutions ★ Making everything about them
  29. 29. Recap: Recognize the Signs ★ Not taking personal responsibility when things go wrong ★ Always in conflict with someone else
  30. 30. Recap: Strategies for Success ★ Find humor: What are some ways you can turn a serious situation into a funny one? ★ Petty tyrants can be great teachers, but don't get ensnared
  31. 31. Recap: Strategies for Success ★ If you have to walk away, take the highroad out ★ Have compassion, but don't enable ★ Redirect the conversation
  32. 32. Recap: Strategies for Success ★ Keep interactions short and to the point ★ Try not to show emotion or share personal details
  33. 33. Recap: Strategies for Success ★ Allow uncomfortable moments of silence ★ Let the situation dissipate, lose energy
  34. 34. Find and observe people who always seem to avoid drama; ask them how they do it
  35. 35. Dr. Merideth Ferguson You Can't Leave It at the Office: Fallout from Toxic Workplace Environments
  36. 36. Define your threshold. (and mean it) Thanks! Rich Harrison & Meghan Hatalla

Editor's Notes

  • Minimize the time spent/effort exerted/impact allowed.
    Minimize the water cooler talk.
    Have excuses prepared.
    They will pull you into their vortex and leave you drained.
    Putting them into archetypes takes away their power.
    Why do we stay in these environments with these people? How many can a healthy work environment host?
    Options when you are dragged into these environments.
    Don’t take on bad energy. You can’t control the actions of others, you can only control your reaction.
  • Address midwestern culture of conflict avoidance, denial, and problem facing reality that work situations are unhealthy.
  • What is it? Define toxic work environments
  • A pervasive problem that is still largely ignored
  • Sociopaths are more serious problem; petty tyrants can make you better
  • Take this seriously.
  • A more serious problem. Research this and investigate options.
  • Victim mentality (remember: bullies are the biggest victims)
  • Sad Panda
    Pandas eat 20-40 lbs of bamboo a day and sleep for 12 hours. Sad pandas want to do work and go home and be as inconspicuous as possible. They avoid rocking the boat. They don’t necessarily shy away from work, but don’t look to them for help either. Sad pandas are fine as coworkers, but problematic as supervisors.
    Are they malicious? No
    Find allies for sad panda, finding advocats. Do his job for them, which sounds like hard unfairness the tradeoff is
  • Sad Panda
    Pandas eat 40 lbs of bamboo a day and sleep for 16 hours. Sad pandas want to do work and go home and be as inconspicuous as possible. They avoid rocking the boat. They don’t necessarily shy away from work, but don’t look to them for help either. Sad pandas are fine as coworkers, but problematic as supervisors.
    Are they malicious? No
    Find allies for sad panda, finding advocats. Do his job for them, which sounds like hard unfairness the tradeoff is
  • Grinch
    Agent of chaos and thief of joy. Passive aggressive. Eccentric. Vocal in every meeting, but not conducive.
    Are they malicious? Yes but not. Disempowered.
    Keep the relationship pragmatic, don’t let them manipulate you. Strong professional boundary
  • Grinch
    Agent of chaos hiding behind ineptitude. Baby Huey comes off as bumbling and maybe even sweet, but they’re intentional obtuseness makes them. Passive aggressive. Eccentric. Vocal in every meeting, but not conducive.
    Are they malicious? Yes but not. Disempowered.
    Keep the relationship pragmatic, don’t let them manipulate you. Strong professional boundary
  • Nontrad Nan
    Gossiper, if someone is willing to talk about other people to you, then they’re probably talking about you to other people. RIP – retired in place. Defensive and territorial. Peter principle.

    Are they malicious? They probably have poor coping skills. Like an animal backed into the corner.
    Don’t be defensive about being defensive. Caged animal = immediately suspicious and on guard. Holding onto their territory, holding onto their turf. More afraid of you then you are of them. Narrow scope, deflect a lot. Keep the tasks simple, and aim for low hanging fruit. Find a way to protect their pride. Find a way to make them unthreatened. Find the things they can succeed at and don’t make them feel stupid.
  • Pied Piper

    Gossiper, if someone is willing to talk about other people to you, then they’re probably talking about you to other people. RIP – retired in place. Defensive and territorial. Peter principle.

    Are they malicious? They probably have poor coping skills. Like an animal backed into the corner.
    Don’t be defensive about being defensive. Caged animal = immediately suspicious and on guard. Holding onto their territory, holding onto their turf. More afraid of you then you are of them. Narrow scope, deflect a lot. Keep the tasks simple, and aim for low hanging fruit. Find a way to protect their pride. Find a way to make them unthreatened. Find the things they can succeed at and don’t make them feel stupid.
  • Boy Wonder
    Not concerned with people who aren’t contributing to their success. Ladder climbing.
    Are they malicious? Machiavellian – if you aren’t with them, you’re against them.
    Don’t underestimate their ability to manipulate, but realize that you have power. They’re dependent on you. don’t engage in the power struggle - you do you, do good work, and you’ll become integral to their success team. Being able to deliver.
  • Boy Wonder
    Not concerned with people who aren’t contributing to their success. Ladder climbing.
    Are they malicious? Machiavellian – if you aren’t with them, you’re against them.
    Don’t underestimate their ability to manipulate, but realize that you have power. They’re dependent on you. don’t engage in the power struggle - you do you, do good work, and you’ll become integral to their success team. Being able to deliver.
  • Shadowy board room villain. Status seekers. Able to railroad decisions but usually quieter than most.
    Chase projects and initiatives which will elevate status, but not interested in dirtying their hands. They can’t get out of the clouds or speak in *real* terms.
    Are they malicious? Absolutely. You have to sell them on projects and make things glamorous, sexy, amazing, everything needs to shoot them into the stratosphere. Otherwordliness, spiritual connection.
  • Shadowy board room villain. Status seekers. Able to railroad decisions but usually quieter than most.
    Chase projects and initiatives which will elevate status, but not interested in dirtying their hands. They can’t get out of the clouds or speak in *real* terms.
    Are they malicious? Absolutely. You have to sell them on projects and make things glamorous, sexy, amazing, everything needs to shoot them into the stratosphere. Otherwordliness, spiritual connection.
  • Minimize the time spent/effort exerted/impact allowed.
    Minimize the water cooler talk.
    Have excuses prepared.
    They will pull you into their vortex and leave you drained.
    Putting them into archetypes takes away their power.
    Why do we stay in these environments with these people? How many can a healthy work environment host?
    Options when you are dragged into these environments.
    Don’t take on bad energy. You can’t control the actions of others, you can only control your reaction.

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