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FT Press
Coping with Toxic Managers, Subordinates ... and Other Difficult People: Using Emotional Intelligence to Survive and Prosper / Edition 1

Coping with Toxic Managers, Subordinates ... and Other Difficult People: Using Emotional Intelligence to Survive and Prosper / Edition 1

by Roy H. Lubit
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Many managers engage in destructive behavior that does considerable harm to their subordinates, their organization and eventually themselves. Whether they are narcissistic, unethical, rigid or aggressive, or simply depressed/anxious/burned out, working with them can be a nightmare. Moreover, they can do serious damage to their organizations by diverting energy from productive work, damaging cooperation and knowledge sharing, impairing retention of the best people, weakening morale, and making poor business decisions. In Coping with Toxic Managers, psychiatrist and organizational consultant Dr. Roy Lubit shows you how to develop your emotional intelligence and protect yourself and your organization from the destructive impact of toxic managers. While there are many organizational consultants who utilize psychological insights in their work and psychologists who consult to organizations, Dr. Lubit's depth of training and experience in psychiatry, organizational behavior and organizational consulting provides a basis for unique insights

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780131409958
Publisher: FT Press
Publication date: 12/01/2003
Series: Financial Times Prentice Hall Books
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 956,949
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Dr. Roy H. Lubit trained in psychiatry at Yale, wrote a Ph.D. dissertation on organizational learning at Harvard, researched organizational behavior at Columbia Business School, and taught organizational behavior at the City University of New York's Zicklin School of Business. He is a senior consultant to the Center for Social and Emotional Education and a member of the Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations.

His professional training and extensive experience in both psychotherapy and organizational dynamics are very unusual. Many people are trained in one of these areas and do some work in the other. Deep involvement in both provides a foundation for unique insights.

Dr. Lubit coaches executives; runs leadership workshops; consults to corporations, governmental agencies, and law firms on a variety of organizational issues; and conducts research on fostering emotional intelligence. Dr. Lubit has appeared widely on TV and radio and presented numerous times at professional conferences.

Table of Contents


1. An Emotional Intelligence Approach to Coping with Toxic Managers and Subordinates.

Informed Consent for Those Who Read This Book. Emotional Intelligence Approach. Developing Your Emotional Intelligence. Roots of Toxic Behavior. Why Understand Difficult People? Myths Rationalizing Destructive Behavior. Further Reading.


Definition of Narcissism.

Origins of Destructive Narcissism.

Healthy Self-Esteem Versus Destructive Narcissism.

Types of Narcissistic Managers.

Factors Worsening Narcissism.


Additional Material.

2. Grandiose Managers.

Organizational Impact of Grandiose Managers. Origins of Grandiosity. Emotional Intelligence Approach to Grandiose Managers. Conclusion. Your Turn. Further Reading. Endnotes.

3. Control Freaks.

Emotional Intelligence Approach to Control Freaks. Conclusion. Your Turn.

4. Paranoid Managers.

Origins of Paranoia. Impact of Paranoid Managers. Emotional Intelligence Approach to Paranoid Managers. Conclusion. Your Turn. Further Reading.


5. Antisocial Managers.

Emotional Intelligence Approach to Antisocial Managers. Conclusion. Your Turn. Further Reading.

6. Unethical Opportunists.

Organizational Impact. Emotional Intelligence Approach to Unethical Managers. Conclusion. Your Turn. Further Reading.

Aggressive Managers.T

The Many Faces of Aggression.


7. Ruthless Managers.

Emotional Intelligence Approach to Ruthless Managers. Conclusion. Your Turn. Further Reading.

8. Bullying Managers.

Impact of Bullies. Emotional Intelligence Approach to Bullying Managers. Conclusion. Your Turn. Further Reading.

9. Homicidal Managers.

Conclusion. Your Turn. Further Reading.

10. Sexual Harassment.

Judging if It Is Sexual Harassment. Emotional Intelligence Approach to Dealing with Sexual Harassment. Dating and Flirting at Work. Conclusion. Your Turn. Further Reading.

11. Chauvinists Needing Diversity Training.

Why Do People Harass and Discriminate Against Others? Emotional Intelligence Approach to Chauvinistic Behavior. Conclusion. Your Turn. Endnote.

12. Volatile Managers.

Origins of Volatile Behavior. Factors Fostering Volatility. Organizational Impact of Volatile Managers. Emotional Intelligence Approach to Dealing with Volatile Managers. Diffusing the Situation. Dealing with Your Own Feelings. For HR and Senior Managers. Conclusion. Your Turn. Further Reading.

13. Frantic Colleagues.

Emotional Intelligence Approach to Frantic Managers. Conclusion. Your Turn. Further Reading.

14. Underpinnings of Aggression.

Three Theories on Aggression. Factors Modulating Our Aggression. Psychiatric/Emotional Problems. Culture and Aggression. Group Dynamics. Why We Let Ourselves Become Aggressive. Conclusion. Further Reading.

15. Surviving Aggression.

Organizations and Aggressive Managers. Aggression Versus Assertiveness. Coping with Aggressive People. Containing Our Aggression: Avoiding Self-Sabotage. Conclusion. Further Reading.


The Many Flavors of Rigid Managers.

Rigid Managers and Aggression.


Further Reading.

16. Compulsive Managers.

Underlying Psychodynamics. Origins of Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Style. Emotional Intelligence Approach to Compulsive Managers. Conclusion. Your Turn. Further Reading.

17. Authoritarian Managers.

Emotional Intelligence Approach to Authoritarian Managers. Conclusion. Your Turn. Further Reading.

18. Dictatorial Managers.

Emotional Intelligence Approach to Dictatorial Managers. Conclusion. Your Turn.

19. Oppositional Coworkers.

Emotional Intelligence Approach to Oppositional Coworkers. Conclusion. Your Turn.

20. Passive-Aggressive Managers.

Emotional Intelligence Approach to Passive-Aggresive Managers. Conclusion. Your Turn.

21. Organizational Impact of Rigid Managers.

How Rigid Managers Impact Companies. How Rigid Managers Can Rise in Organizations. Organizational Factors Promoting Rigidity in Managers. Ameliorating the Problem. Conclusion.



Further Reading.

22. ADHD.

Impact of ADHD on Managers. Managing ADHD. Dealing with Managers with ADHD. Conclusion. Further Reading.

23. Anxiety.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Social Phobia. Panic Disorder. Simple Phobia. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Treatment of Anxiety Disorders. Conclusion. Further Reading.

24. Depression.

A Common Problem Often Ignored. Impact of Depression. Origins of Depression. Bereavement. Dealing with Depression. Dealing with Depressed Colleagues. Conclusion. Your Turn. Further Reading.

25. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

Treatment. Dealing with Traumatized Colleagues. Conclusion. Further Reading.

26. Burnout.

Dealing with the Risk of Burnout. Conclusion. Your Turn. Further Readings.

27. Bipolar Disorder.

Dealing with Managers with Bipolar Disorder. Conclusion. Further Reading.

28. Alcohol and Drug Abuse.

Organizational Factors Affecting Substance Abuse. Primer on the Treatment of Alcohol and Drug Abuse. Conclusion. Further Reading.



Further Reading.

29. Developing Your Emotional Intelligence.

Personal Responses to Toxic Behavior: Growing Your Emotional Intelligence. Controlling Our Interpretation of Events. Dealing with Your Own Feelings. Conclusion. Your Turn.

30. Using Emotional Intelligence to Develop Your Company.

Organizational Responses to Toxic Managers. The Many Faces of Narcissism. Weighing the Pros and Cons of Narcissistic Managers. Keeping the Barbarians Outside the Gates. Conclusion. Your Turn. Endnote.




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.

For Senior Managers, HR, and Professionals

This book will be of interest to senior management and human resources as well as to those with a difficult superior. It is built on an understanding of organizational dynamics and the business environment. It discusses how rigid, unethical, and aggressive behaviors affect productivity and retention and explores what HR and senior management can do to contain this behavior in their organization. In addition, by helping the reader to understand different personality types it enables managers to more effectively motivate, persuade, and develop all of the individuals they work with. The more you can tailor your management style to each individual, the more success both you and those who report to you will have.

Many researchers on organizational productivity and success have argued that the key to success lies not in having the perfect strategy, nor in being in the right industry, nor in having an ideal change management plan, nor in charismatic leadership. Rather, the key to success is growing your human resources. Jim Collins writes in Good to Great: 'We expected to find that good-to-great leaders would begin by setting a new vision and strategy. We found instead that they first got the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and then the right people in the right seats—and then they figured out where to drive it.' Charles O'Reilly and Jeffrey Pfeffer in Hidden Value discuss how companies have gotten extraordinary results out of ordinary people and how this is the key to success in today's economy.

These researchers focus attention on the crucial role of leadership concentrating on the organization's values and culture. These are very important. But, there is another crucial part of the equation that is less talked about: dealing with the toxic managers who damage the productivity of those under them and above them. Toxic managers interfere with the development of social capital and with the ability and desire of people to trust each other and to be willing to go out of their way for each other. Social capital is very important in improving productivity. In addition to motivating and guiding workers through a strong culture, companies need to remove the obstacles to their performance by decreasing the toxic behavior they face and improving their skills to deal with difficult bosses. Intensive efforts in this area are as yet an unexplored but potentially fruitful area for organizational improvement. It holds tremendous potential for unlocking blocked productivity and for improving the company's ability to hire and retain the best people. Working on the company's culture is an important lever in improving how people treat each other. It is not, however, the only lever. The book discusses many different levers to building organizations in which people can grow and give their best.

Outline of this Book

This book is divided into five parts:

  • Part I—Narcissistic managers
  • Part II—Unethical Managers
  • Part III—Aggressive Managers
  • Part IV—Rigid Managers
  • Part V—Impaired Managers
  • Part VI—Developing and Harnessing Emotional Intelligence

Each part begins with an introduction to the general issues covered in the section: narcissism, unethical behavior, aggression, rigidity, and impairment. The introductions also begin the explanation of the differences between the types of managers discussed in that part so that you can quickly go to the type of manager you are having difficulty with and read that chapter in detail. Differentiating between different types of toxic managers is crucial, since interventions that work with one type of rigid or aggressive manager would backfire with another even though their behavior is similar on the surface. Chapters on the different types of toxic managers begin with a discussion of how those managers behave and what drives their behavior. Detailed examples of such managers follow. The chapters then move on to discuss ways to cope with toxic managers above you and below you. The end of each chapter, and several of the special chapters, discuss how senior management and human resources can recognize potentially toxic managers early in their career, help toxic managers to contain their problematic behavior, place them so that they will not adversely affect the organization, and determine when to get rid of them.

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Coping with Toxic Managers, Subordinates ... and Other Difficult People: Using Emotional Intelligence to Survive and Prosper 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the best book I have seen on dealing with difficult managers. Rather than pop psychology this is a thoughtful and truly helpful handling of this important subject.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Lubit's volume, 'Coping with Toxic Managers and Subordinates,' should become a standard reference for veteran and new professional staff, experienced and beginning managers, and leaders of all non-profit organizations, especially cultural ones. Colleagues have said that these conclusions apply to all organizations, as well. Non-profits and cultural organizations face major management challenges today. For example, while the number of museums has increased, there has been a great decrease in total funding (from all sources). To stay competitive, these organizations have had to make fundamental changes in their operations and rely on a new breed of managers and professionals. This has been complicated by strong internal resistance to change. As a result, many cultural organizations find themselves unable to harness the talents of their staff and, instead, find productivity decreasing and morale dropping rapidly. High turnover, unhappiness and anger make for unmanageable environments. Lubit's book contains excellent strategic thinking for dealing with these rapidly changing settings. Incorporating insights from experience in psychiatry, business management, and organizational leadership, Lubit provides a a comprehensive, hands-on guide for dealing with your superiors, subordinates and peers. This book is very complete. It describes the most troublesome types of negative and 'toxic' personalities, explores the underlying reasons for the behaviors, and moves the reader from theory, to examples, to exercise sections called 'Your Turn'. The book is well organized, snappily written, and easy to use. It is complete with detailed 'how to' sections, charts, and examples with both good and bad endings. This book will facilitate not just survival, but productivity and well-being in the workplace -- and elsewhere. I recommend it highly.
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of the primary virtues of this book is its grounding in solid empirical clinical psychology and psychiatry. The author's background as both a clinician and corporate consultant gives this volume immense credibility, which is refreshing in this self-help universe of pop theories and pap solutions. I don't necessarily agree with all of the psychodynamic formulations the author puts forth to explain what makes many of these toxic personality types tick. But, while sticking pretty closely to established diagnostic categories, Dr. Lubit nevertheless provides practical, and real-world applications that business people can use on a daily basis. In this sense, it is a splendid example of scientifically-informed 'best practices' in the business world. While I personally enjoy a volume of some pith and substance, some readers may be put off by the 350-plus page length. But the book is arranged in a format that permits zeroing in on the chapters that are most relevant to a specific reader, so it's not necessary to read the whole book to get the info you need. This volume is a valuable addition to the library of personnel management psychology.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found it insightful and useful in understand others. It help to explain why some folks I work with and for, act the way they do. It also gave me some ideas for how to handle what is going on.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Get Professional help Dealing with Difficult people, or Simply Buy this Book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This author offers clear, concise writing on a classic business problem: how to work with difficult people. Who doesn't work with at least 1 difficult person? What organization does not suffer productivity or financial loss from at least 1 toxic manager? As I read the well-defined descriptions of Toxic Managers, I couldn't help but recall the many faces of those difficult people that have crossed my own work path over the past 24 years, and how I might have dealt with them differently under Roy Lubit's construct. Surely you'll experience similar learning and benefit, as you hear what the author has to say about how to deal with the difficult people that you encounter in your work life. This book does a tremendous service by reminding us that work IS personal after all; that organizations are organic systems made up of human beings with personalities, traits, and problems that we cannot simply turn off or leave at home, like robots. These toxic behaviors and managers, as defined by the author, represent the hard HARD work that organizations must do to fix the illusive and, often substantially, costly problems. I am delighted to add a practical approach and book to my toolbox to help executives and managers take compassionate, actionable steps toward solving issues that typically impede business performance and progress. This book, I project, will help heal the hearts and performance of many organizations and professionals who seek a cure for whatever ails them.
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NashaCT More than 1 year ago
Great read! Very very helpful!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is an excellent handbook for managers who struggle with motivating 'challenging' people. It enables the reader to quickly identify types of toxic managers and provides guidance on effectively dealing with each type. Should be required reading for anyone responsible for improving company/individual performance.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Coping with Toxic Managers and Subordinates provides a new way of understanding and dealing with the impossible managers and others that so many of us deal with so often. Rather than lumping all impossible people together the author notes that similar behavior can arise from different foundations. Understanding the foundation is crucial since it tells you how to induce change in the impossible person or if you should run for your life. The book covers a great deal of ground, but does so in a fashion that makes it accessible to those who never took a psychology course. On first glance the book seems to be primarily for people suffering under a tyrannical manager. In reality, it is just as helpful for those suffering from having to manage an impossible subordinate. The book is far less expensive than a psychotherapy session and the author knows alot more about business than the average psychotherapist.