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Coping with Toxic Managers, Subordinates ... and Other Difficult People: Using Emotional Intelligence to Survive and Prosper Paperback – November 27, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Lubit, an academic, psychiatrist, and management consultant, explains how our ability to work effectively with difficult or "toxic" managers will have a significant impact on our careers. By improving this ability, he claims, we will learn to better understand and manage ourselves. The first order is to increase our emotional intelligence, comprising personal and social competence. These competencies are our abilities to understand our own feelings, strengths, and weaknesses, and to control our emotions while also understanding the feelings of others and developing skills to form positive relationships with them. Lubit delineates the behaviors of five types of toxic managers--narcissistic, unethical, aggressive, rigid, and impaired--saying that these behaviors are manifestations of depression and fear. By understanding them, we will be able to design strategies to protect ourselves. While this reads like a textbook, the author has valuable insight to share with those in today's business world who are dealing with--or who may someday deal with--a toxic manager. Mary Whaley
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From the Back Cover

In any organization, recognizing and understanding the nature and impact of toxic behaviors can provide for the ability to manage the adverse environment and mitigate the potential risks that we often face in the workplace. In Coping with Toxic Managers, Roy Lubit skillfully tackles this complicated topic by presenting the psychological aspects of toxic behaviors in a manner that is understandable and embraceable. This is not one of those 'flavor of the month' pop-psychology books—it's truly about the science of how and why toxic people think, act, and react. Read this book and you may start looking at the people in your organization quite differently.—Michael Chuchmuch, V.P. Business Transformation and Change Management, UNISYS Corporation

I found this book to be right on the mark and learned a lot from it. Lubit understands the problems people in business face from difficult people above and below them and comes up with very insightful and practical ways to deal effectively with the situations. If all of my managers read this book they would do their jobs better. —Jeff Schindler, President and CEO, Etronics

Executives, and the senior HR officers who counsel them, struggle every day with how to deal with toxic leaders, the ones who try to achieve high performance by abusing, intimidating, mistreating, and demeaning their subordinates. Finally someone has written a book on how to handle the various types of corporate ax murderers, how to help them develop, and when to let them go. —Michael Feiner, Professor, Columbia Business School; formerly Sr. V.P. and Chief People Officer for Pepsi-Cola worldwide

Roy Lubit's new book is an exciting breakthrough for anyone who has ever had a boss! It's hard to remember that bosses are only people. This book helps you understand what makes them tick, their different styles, how you can manage them effectively from below, and how to get everyone working on the same team. Lubit's secret ingredient is his incisive knowledge of how people and organizations work. A must read! —Jeffrey P. Kahn, M.D., President, WorkPsych Associates, Inc.; Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Cornell University; and former President, Academy of Occupational and Organizational Psychiatry

To lead and manage effectively, we need to understand the people with whom we work. Coping with Toxic Managers, Subordinates and Other Difficult People is an excellent and thorough book containing crucial insights into why managers behave as they do, and how to cope with different types of people. It will not only help you to understand and better deal with toxic managers, but it will also help you work with yourself and with the normal vulnerabilities of managers with whom you work everyday. —Ronald A. Heifetz, Co-Founder, Center for Public Leadership, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

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, working with them can be a nightmare. In Coping with Toxic Managers, psychiatrist and organizational consultant Dr. Roy H. Lubit shows you how to develop your emotional intelligence and protect yourself and your organization from the destructive impact of toxic managers.

Drawing on his extensive experience as both a mental health professional and organizational consultant to Fortune 500 firms and large law firms, Dr. Lubit offers concrete advice as well as a way to better understand with whom you are dealing.

The basic premise of the book is that the better you understand how specific types of toxic managers view the world and what motivates them, the better you will be able to influence them to behave in ways that enable you to do your work and survive your hours at work. To borrow a phrase, this is not pop psych advice, it is sophisticated advice served quickly and understandably.

  • Handling narcissistic managers. What to do when your manager thinks she's the center of the universe. What senior management can do to recognize narcissistic managers early in their careers.
  • Dealing with unethical managers. How subordinates can avoid becoming accomplices and how senior management can decide whether to reform or fire them.
  • Handling rigid managers. Understanding the different factors that can lie underneath rigid behavior and how to cope with each of them.
  • Dealing with aggressive managers. Practical techniques for handling a variety of aggressive behaviors: when to push back, when to submit, and when to head for the hills.
  • The impaired manager. Coping with anxious, depressed, obsessive, bipolar, and chemically dependent managers. Appreciating when one of these underlies aggressive, rigid, or narcissistic behavior, and what to do.
  • Using emotional intelligence to develop your career and your organization. How organizations can recognize toxic managers early and decide whether to attempt to reform them or simply fire them. How to create an organization that limits toxic behavior. A guide for improving your ability to cope with the stress of dealing with toxic managers.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: FT Press; 1 edition (November 27, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0131409956
  • ISBN-13: 978-0131409958
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #92,529 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
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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50 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Jack D. Herrington on January 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
I wasn't sure I would like this book. The topic of workplace psychology can be done wrong in so many ways. You can present it too clinically and thus lack any practicality. And you can slide the other way and shower the user with pop psychology check-lists and acronyms.

This book walks the ideal path deftly and presents practical workplace issues with the right blend of psychology background and practical wisdom on how to handle individuals with personality issues.

The book is organized by disorder. Each type of personality is presented in it's own chapter with what to look for. As well as how to handle that individual as a boss, a coworker and as a subordinate.

A fascinating read on it's own, and practical advice for people stuck in tough jobs where they have to contend with coworkers who have personality problems.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By "culturemail" on April 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
Lubit's volume, "Coping with Toxic Managers and Subordinates," should be considered 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.
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. 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 the 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.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By ronala on December 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
Beginning with its title, a real "grabber," Dr. Roy Lubit's new book "Coping with Toxic Managers, ..." holds your interest as it exhaustively and brilliantly organizes, classifies, describes and analyzes the entire spectrum of toxic behaviors to be found in the workplace. Any workplace. The book deals comprehensively with toxic behaviors from peers and subordinates as well as superiors. I think it will be recognized and appreciated as an invaluable contribution to the literature. The references alone are worth the price.
If that were all Dr. Lubit did that would be enough to distinguish this book, but he also gives detailed prescriptions for dealing with every type of behavior discussed in the book. These are often presented in the context of case studies and examples that make fascinating and satisfying narratives in themselves and allow Dr. Lubit's insights to really sink in.
Dr. Lubit, an experienced and recognized forensic psychiatrist and holder of an MD and a Ph.D. from Harvard, does an outstanding job of marshalling an array of toxic behaviors and codifying it in a manner that is understandable enough to be mastered by a college student yet profound enough and broad enough to be of great value to other professionals and to his peers. This book is scientific yet should prove of practical value to anyone who needs to manage, understand or otherwise deal with any business organization or, indeed, almost any human group in modern America. It does so in terms that anyone can understand and put to use. "Coping with Toxic Managers . . ." is one of those truly rare books which combines accessibility with depth, and I recommend it highly. Ronald Blum, Ph.D.
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