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With Toxic People, Silence is Golden, but Duct Tape is Silver!

This title was borrowed from my good friend Marsha Petrie Sue, author of “Decontaminate Toxic People: without using weapons or duct tape”. I just spent the afternoon doing a live session with her that we are going to distribute in the next few days.

38499944_sI’ve known Marsha for years, having first met her at a trade show where she was speaking. Her energy, enthusiasm, humor, and candor are very hard to beat. Her focus is helping business leaders learn about how to deal with toxic people. OK, maybe in today’s politically correct world that tag seems harsh. Let’s be honest. We all know someone, somewhere we put in that category.

I wanted to do this interview because I think all of us are confronted from time to time with a toxic person who wants to disrupt everything going on, suck the life out of a situation, or derail a plan. This kind of negative energy can significantly interrupt our sense of work-life balance.

Everyone deals with toxic people and difficult behavior at work and at home. Strong skills have to be practiced to manage these situations. Outcome? On the business side, reduced turnover and increased profitability. According to Watson Wyatt (now Towers Watson), shareholder returns for organizations with the most effective communication were 57% higher over the last five years than were returns for companies with less effective communication.

Marsha shared three key ideas for challenging that toxic person at work. She calls it TLC. This stands for take it, leave it, or change it.

The person who is so toxic needs to be brought to a consideration of these things. The managers who have these people on their team need to bring the person to a fundamental understanding of these options.

Here’s how they work:

  • TAKE IT –  The person needs to be ready to consider the idea of just taking the circumstance or situation as it is. Stop complaining about it, stop interfering. Just accept it.
  • LEAVE IT –  If the company’s job opportunity is perceived to be so bad, then this person needs to leave. Give everyone at work a break and decide to leave.
  • CHANGE IT –  Here’s the C-word. Change is so hard for most people. But it is a viable solution. Change can happen when a person decides on  a course of action. In the case of toxic people, change is difficult to achieve, but can be worth the effort.

Check back again soon to see the entire interview with Marsha Petrie Sue.