Dr. Travis Bradberry Author of #1 bestselling book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, and president of TalentSmart, world’s leading provider of emotional intelligence.
Toxic people defy logic. Some are blissfully unaware of the negative impact that they have on those around them, and others seem to derive satisfaction from creating chaos and pushing other people’s buttons.
As important as it is to learn how to deal with different kinds of people, truly toxic people will never be worth your time and energy—and they take a lot of each. Toxic people create unnecessary complexity, strife, and, worst of all, stress.
“People inspire you, or they drain you—pick them wisely.”
- Hans F. Hansen
The ability to manage your emotions and remain calm under pressure has a direct link to your performance. TalentSmart has conducted research with more than a million people, and we’ve found that 90% of top performers are skilled at managing their emotions in times of stress in order to remain calm and in control. One of their greatest gifts is the ability to use emotional intelligence to identify toxic people and keep them at bay.
It’s often said that you’re the product of the five people you spend the most time with. If you allow even one of those five people to be toxic, you’ll soon find out how capable he or she is of holding you back.
You can’t hope to distance yourself from toxic people until you first know who they are. The trick is to separate those who are annoying or simply difficult from those who are truly toxic. What follows are ten types of toxic drainers that you should stay away from at all costs so that you don’t become one yourself.
1. The Gossip
“Great minds discuss ideas, average ones discuss events, and small minds discuss people.” - Eleanor Roosevelt
Gossipers derive pleasure from other people’s misfortunes. It might be fun to peer into somebody else’s personal or professional faux pas at first, but over time, it gets tiring, makes you feel gross, and hurts other people. There are too many positives out there and too much to learn from interesting people to waste your time talking about the misfortune of others.
2. The Temperamental
Some people have absolutely no control over their emotions. They will lash out at you and project their feelings onto you, all the while thinking that you’re the one causing their malaise. Temperamental people are tough to dump from your life because their lack of control over their emotions makes you feel bad for them. When push comes to shove though, temperamental people will use you as their emotional toilet and should be avoided at all costs.
3. The Victim
Victims are tough to identify because you initially empathize with their problems. But as time passes, you begin to realize that their “time of need” is all the time. Victims actively push away any personal responsibility by making every speed bump they encounter into an uncrossable mountain. They don’t see tough times as opportunities to learn and grow from; instead, they see them as an out. There’s an old saying: “Pain is inevitable but suffering is optional.” It perfectly captures the toxicity of the victim, who chooses to suffer every time.
4. The Self-Absorbed
Self-absorbed people bring you down through the impassionate distance they maintain from other people. You can usually tell when you’re hanging around self-absorbed people because you start to feel completely alone. This happens because as far as they’re concerned, there’s no point in having a real connection between them and anyone else. You’re merely a tool used to build their self-esteem.
5. The Envious
To envious people, the grass is always greener somewhere else. Even when something great happens to envious people, they don’t derive any satisfaction from it. This is because they measure their fortune against the world’s when they should be deriving their satisfaction from within. And let’s face it, there’s always someone out there who’s doing better if you look hard enough. Spending too much time around envious people is dangerous because they teach you to trivialize your own accomplishments.
6. The Manipulator
Manipulators suck time and energy out of your life under the façade of friendship. They can be tricky to deal with because they treat you like a friend. They know what you like, what makes you happy, and what you think is funny, but the difference is that they use this information as part of a hidden agenda. Manipulators always want something from you, and if you look back on your relationships with them, it’s all take, take, take, with little or no giving. They’ll do anything to win you over just so they can work you over.
7. The Dementor
In J. K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series, Dementors are evil creatures that suck people’s souls out of their bodies, leaving them merely as shells of humans. Whenever a Dementor enters the room, it goes dark, people get cold, and they begin to recall their worst memories. Rowling said that she developed the concept for Dementors based on highly negative people—the kind of people who have the ability to walk into a room and instantly suck the life out of it.
Dementors suck the life out of the room by imposing their negativity and pessimism upon everyone they encounter. Their viewpoints are always glass half empty, and they can inject fear and concern into even the most benign situations. A Notre Dame University study found that students assigned to roommates who thought negatively were far more likely to develop negative thinking and even depression themselves.
8. The Twisted
There are certain toxic people who have bad intentions, deriving deep satisfaction from the pain and misery of others. They are either out to hurt you, to make you feel bad, or to get something from you; otherwise, they have no interest in you. The only good thing about this type is that you can spot their intentions quickly, which makes it that much faster to get them out of your life.
9. The Judgmental
Judgmental people are quick to tell you exactly what is and isn’t cool. They have a way of taking the thing you’re most passionate about and making you feel terrible about it. Instead of appreciating and learning from people who are different from them, judgmental people look down on others. Judgmental people stifle your desire to be a passionate, expressive person, so you’re best off cutting them out and being yourself.
10. The Arrogant
Arrogant people are a waste of your time because they see everything you do as a personal challenge. Arrogance is false confidence, and it always masks major insecurities. A University of Akron study found that arrogance is correlated with a slew of problems in the workplace. Arrogant people tend to be lower performers, more disagreeable, and have more cognitive problems than the average person.
How to Protect Yourself Once You Spot ‘Em
Toxic people drive you crazy because their behavior is so irrational. Make no mistake about it—their behavior truly goes against reason, so why do you allow yourself to respond to them emotionally and get sucked into the mix?
The more irrational and off-base someone is, the easier it should be for you to remove yourself from their traps. Quit trying to beat them at their own game. Distance yourself from them emotionally, and approach your interactions with them like they’re a science project (or you’re their shrink if you prefer that analogy). You don’t need to respond to the emotional chaos—only the facts.
Maintaining an emotional distance requires awareness. You can’t stop someone from pushing your buttons if you don’t recognize when it’s happening. Sometimes you’ll find yourself in situations where you’ll need to regroup and choose the best way forward. This is fine, and you shouldn’t be afraid to buy yourself some time to do so.
Most people feel as though because they work or live with someone, they have no way to control the chaos. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Once you’ve identified a toxic person, you’ll begin to find their behavior more predictable and easier to understand. This will equip you to think rationally about when and where you have to put up with them and when and where you don’t. You can establish boundaries, but you’ll have to do so consciously and proactively. If you let things happen naturally, you’re bound to find yourself constantly embroiled in difficult conversations. If you set boundaries and decide when and where you’ll engage a difficult person, you can control much of the chaos. The only trick is to stick to your guns and keep boundaries in place when the person tries to cross them, which they will.
For some support on exactly how to deal with toxic people - Get in touch with The Coaching Group of Switzerland
A brilliant talk by Simon Sinek explaining how to lead Millenials in a world where it is said that they cannot be lead!
Empathy is the most important leadership skill! Wise words and very true. Learning how to have empathy and be there for your team members with empathy is key to success, not only success in business but equally success in life.
Watch this wonderful talk when you have the 30 minutes to do so.
Comment by Suzie Doscher:
by Suzie Doscher
In the past it was always that there is life, and then there is work.
Somehow in recent decades it seems they can be so intertwined that you ‘live to work’ rather than the other way around and ‘work to have a life’.
The term ‘Work-Life Balance’ seems to be all over the place now and usually closely related to preventing 'Burnout’. As a professional coach focusing on personal development I have been lucky to work with many Millennials. (Apparently these younger generations X & Y, are now all mixed together and make up ‘Generation Stress’!)
What I have learned from these young, motivated and focused young individuals is:
My younger clients are inspiring and fun to work with. I value being by their side supporting and witnessing their growth as they strive to reach professional goals and enjoy their life at the same time.
The fact that these younger generations reach out to seek professional help and support impresses me. The thought to ask for help never would have occurred to me when I was their age –I believed I had to handle everything myself!
Younger generations can have an ingrained emotional intelligence. Asking for feedback – constructive feedback is not regarded as a weakness but rather a strength. Older generations can struggle with overcoming this feeling and expectation of “I should be able to......... without asking for help or support”.
Looking to Understand and Achieve Work-Life Balance?
Here is what you do:
Here is what you need to know:
My clients are not only from the ‘Generation Stress’ but also more experienced managers/executives. Everybody is aiming to find a healthier, less stressful daily life by improving their ‘work-life balance’. I would say that once a good 'recipe' is found then it is all about maintenance! What each person of any generation benefits from is finding their own individual way forward is. There is no universal answer.
Get to know yourself and meet your needs. The choice is yours.
Curious to know about why “Asking for Help Is NOT a Sign of Weakness”? click to get some tips.
By Susan Begeman Steiner
It could be said that personal development is an ever-deepening spiral. You are who you are, this is true. And there is always the potential to deepen your expression and your experience of yourself. In fact, you can become MORE of who you are by continuing to discover yourself.
This is the 'good fight' and something worth effort and even struggle. On this journey it helps sometimes to invite a trusted coach to come along with you. A coach can travel with you for a ways and help you see what you can't see now.
The Coaching Group of Switzerland offers support you in being all that you are and in exploring your authentic expression in both your personal and work life. Make an appointment for a free 30-minute conversation to see if this is right for you.
By Negotiation at Work - A MindEdge learning resource
BATNA stands for "best alternative to no agreement." This term was introduced by Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton in the book, Getting to Yes. When a person goes into a negotiation knowing what their BATNA is, it can limit his or her course of action during the negotiation.
Developing a BATNA
It is highly recommended that people develop a BATNA before engaging in a negotiation. Without taking the time to develop a BATNA, you will likely be unaware of what would happen if the negotiation fails. As a result, you may feel a strong inner pressure to reach an agreement, even if it is not in your best interests. Alternatively, you may feel overly optimistic about the proposed agreements. Your optimism may cloud your view of costs associated with the agreements.
There are seven basic steps to developing a BATNA:
For coaching about how to maximize your impact while working and negotiating with others, talk to one of our coaches at the Coach Group of Switzerland.
by By Joel Trammell
If you are reading this article, then you are ahead of most when it comes to furthering your business and leadership knowledge. Great leaders are great learners. Many businesspeople scoff at leadership advice, thinking that no article or book - or even a training class - is a good substitute for real-life experience.
That may be true, but real-life leadership experience can be hard to come by for those who seek to advance. I believe that anyone can succeed if they prepare themselves for the next level in their careers. To do so, you must exploit every opportunity to learn. Here are 10 ways to take control of your leadership development.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.
PUBLISHED ON: JUN 24, 2016
By Nicolas Cole
Being productive is all about preparation. If you know what you need to do ahead of time, you will know exactly where to dive in as soon as you get started. On the flip-side, if you do not take the time to prepare, you will find yourself flustered and uncertain because you now have to think through whatever it is you need to do.
Having a great week does not start on Monday. It starts Sunday night. It begins with what you set in your mind you are going to do, before you actually set out to do it.
Here are a few ways to "get your mind right" for the week ahead:
1. Reflect on what you've already finished.
Your to-do list is, and will always be, fluid. It moves as you move, and it stays put as you stay put. If you don't get things done, they remain on the list. And if you are always getting things done, then your list will be a growing and expanding reflection of that process (which is the goal).
However, in order to know what is "next," you need to take a moment to reflect on the status of where things currently are. Look through your to-do list from the week prior and see what you got done or didn't get done--and then ask yourself why certain things got accomplished and others didn't.
If something remains on your to-do list for weeks on end, you need to make a decision: Either remove it entirely (clearly it's not getting done) or push it all the way to the top and make it a priority to do that item before anything else.
Take the time to reflect, though. It is immensely valuable over the long term.
2. Organize your to-do items based on category.
This is a tactic I've learned from Tony Robbins (although I'm sure many others use it as well). Go through your to-do list and organize things by category or project, even separating between "Random Life Things" and "Work Things."
The reason why it's helpful to organize by category is two-fold:
First, it is far less overwhelming to look at a to-do list that is organized by category. Looking at a long and random list of everything mixed together, you can feel how exhausting it would be to bounce between so many different types of tasks. That's what you want to avoid. Instead, organize by category so that you can get in one frame of mind and work through everything in that specific category.
You are far more efficient when you can remain in one frame of mind for a long period of time, rather than bouncing between different types of tasks. Organize, and you'll be more efficient.
3. Do what you can ahead of time.
The best example I have of this is meal preparation.
If you bring your lunch to work, or you pack your bag in the morning, why not do those things the night before? Anything you can do ahead of time gives you more freedom the next day, and is one less thing you have to think about.
The reason why this is so valuable is that you have more head space to think about what is coming up next, instead of trying to remember all the things you have to do.
Mondays are always jam packed. Anything you can get done now, you might as well.
4. Prioritize input, not output.
Sundays should be input days--not output days.
The start of every week is always output focused. You show up to the office, or to school, or even to your own desk to crank through work, and you are expected to be in output mode.
Knowing that's around the bend, it is advantageous of you to spend as much of Sunday as possible in input mode. You want to be feeding your creativity and your soul so that come Monday morning you are ready to go. Think of a windup car. You pull it back, you pull it back, and then you let it rip.
That's input. And more input leads to better output.
5. Take time to yourself.
And finally, the most important part of Sunday night should be the time you take solely for yourself.
Going back to this idea of input versus output, you need to quiet down and relax in order to sustain yourself throughout the week. One way to do this is to meditate. Another way is to read (a book, not social media), or even to just sit quietly with a cup of tea. Silence does wonders, and in our overly busy society it is a valuable asset we all too often forget.
Take time to yourself and sit in silence. If you can sit in silence even for just fifteen minutes, you will be amazed at how refreshed you feel. No distractions. No interruptions. And then go to sleep feeling ready for the week ahead.
Photo credit: Getty Images
To beat the MONDAY MORNING BLUES?
Click for Some Helpful Tips
First-time Managers - The Coaching Group of Switzerland
by Bill Gentry, Director, Leadership Insights & Analytics and Senior Research Scientist
A professional getting promoted into his or her first formal leadership position in an organization is one of the biggest and most difficult transitions for any leader.
Far too often, the leader and the organization take for granted just how difficult that transition is.
The numbers prove it:
Their ineffectiveness may be the result of not realizing what they are getting themselves into when it comes to leading others, not being supported in their new leadership role, and not being given the opportunity for training and development early enough in their careers as leaders.
Think of the time and money that has to be spent on replacing these ineffective leaders—not to mention dealing with the low morale and disengagement of employees working under these ineffective leaders.
This inevitably hurts your leadership pipeline and may eventually hurt your organization’s bottom line.
First-time managers have as much of a right for leadership development as others, but their voices, time and time again, go unheard. They want to do well but so often are struggling at making the transition from individual contributor or professional who does the work and does it well, to a leader who must continue to do the work and more importantly, leads others doing their work.
Many first-time managers feel that no one understands what they are going through.
So what can you do to help?
Understand the struggles first-time managers have and help them overcome the challenges relevant to their new leadership role.
For example, consider a first-time manager who now manages former peers, and who in some instances are friends inside and outside the workplace. How can they gain respect and authority while balancing the relationship they had before?
Organizations should encourage their first-time managers to:
The information from this white paper will help you understand the perspective of first-time managers and their struggles.
You can use the information to support first-time managers in the most difficult transition they have made so far in their careers--developing them as leaders, and ultimately, strengthening your leadership pipeline.
Never underestimate how effective one to one coaching with a qualified, experienced neutral outider is for first- time managers in conjunction with leadership development. Get in touch with the Coaching Group of Switzerland, we can help you.
Self-Help Book / Personal Development