Positive Attitudes for Dealing w/ Toxic Leaders #PeopleSkills

Positive Attitudes: How to Survive Toxic Leaders

Your initial reaction to this title might be that if they’re toxic, they are not leaders.

Most people would probably agree with you. BUT you still have to deal with these toxic leaders unless or until you choose to leave.

Positive Attitudes: Image is the word Toxic w/ dollar signs around it.

Positive Attitudes: Dealing w/ Toxic Leaders Image by Don Shall via Flickr.

Image by Don Shall via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Positive Attitudes: Mind Over (What Doesn’t) Matter

Positive attitudes give you the power to cope and even transform very difficult moments. The question is: Can you get your mind to overcome what doesn’t matter?

First and foremost, know what matters to you. For me, it’s my health. I can’t live without it. I’ve learned what conditions zap my health. In those toxic moments — if I can’t change them — I move on.

In other toxic moments I use positive attitudes to survive and even thrive!

  1. Realize it’s a feeling not a fact. You can feel conquered by toxic leaders when you believe that what you are feeling is an unchangeable fact. You can change your outlook and your feelings. You have choices. You’re not trapped!

    “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” ~Wayne Dyer

  2. Know and focus on your long term goals. This is a pleasant detour from the rough road of toxic leaders. It gets you to your destination without getting lost in their toxic behavior. Your positive attitudes set the path of that detour; don’t take theirs!

  3. Find sanctuary in your own energy. Success takes energy. Channel it into your happy journey not a toxic dump. Positive attitudes lift you up!

  4. Be an amused spectator. See the dysfunction of toxic leaders as a reality TV show. Enjoy the humor in the absurd behavior from the safe distance of mental objectivity. Take great pleasure in seeing through, behind, and beyond the toxic behavior.

  5. Escape to positive attitudes. During work, mentally escape to positive attitudes that spur you on. I often think of how much I am learning. It gives me great comfort. After work, engage in activities that you love. Your happiness is your choice.

  6. Compare what worse you have already faced. As galling as toxic leader behavior is, it pales in comparison to serious, even life threatening events. I will always remember a client telling me that toxic leaders don’t bother him.

    Before that, he was in the U.S. Coast Guard on a patrol boat looking for drug runners. He told me, “This is way better than getting my ass shot off in the Gulf of Mexico. I’m happy to have a job, contribute, and yes, even deal with my crazy boss.” Ask yourself, what is your current job better than?

What positive attitudes keep you going? Share them with us!

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related People Skills Posts:
Reduce Conflict: Hear the Urgency Before the Yell
Career Success: Rock With These 13 Key People Skills
6 Key Reasons Leaders Get Annoyed With You

©2014 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

Get more inspiration and actionable tips for high engagement results!


Buy Kate Nasser’s new book Leading Morale (Amazon.com).


4 Responses to “Positive Attitudes for Dealing w/ Toxic Leaders #PeopleSkills”

  1. Dave Moore says:

    Great post Kate.
    Toxicity in Leadership is quite visible in the workplaces I have visited. The majority of the sales departments, targeted, direct, confrontational, competitive environs have this Toxic streak. They always have had in many industries. Slowly, the mood is changing…thankfully.
    I love #1: Realize it’s a feeling not a fact.
    Oh how many times have I told people in my seminars that this is how we destroy our lives; we turn thoughts and feelings into things and believe them to be reality.
    thanks for this very enlightening post.

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Hi Dave,
      Many thanks for the kudos on this post. My favorite aunt lives with #1 as her mantra and has reminded me of it when I started to lose my way. I love it too!!?


  2. Alli Polin says:

    Have to say, I LOVE your “be an amused spectator!” Sometimes that’s just what people need to let go of feeling frustrated and angry at their leader’s toxic behaviors and attitudes. I’ve also found that reminding yourself that they are a human being helps. It’s powerful to give the benefit of the doubt that they’re just a human, trying their best, even if they’re stinking it up. It allows us to bring more forgiveness to the table.

    Positivity truly matters! Love this, Kate!

    ~ Alli

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Thank you Alli and nice touch on “remember they are human beings.” It doesn’t mean we must tolerate abusive behavior yet sometimes it does help us to find another way to communicate that can break through the toxic traits.

      … Kate

KateNasser on Facebook KateNasser Blog KateNasser on Twitter KateNasser on LinkedIn KateNasser on Pinterest