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How to Avoid Becoming a Toxic Boss

Becoming a toxic boss is a pitfall no leader intends to fall into. However, in today’s modern workplace, there seems to be a fine line between being an inspiring figure and becoming a toxic boss.


Provide autonomy, but not so much that people feel unsupported. Don’t micromanage, but also don’t withhold feedback or information. Expect excellent work, but be realistic.


Even the best-intentioned managers can exhibit bad boss behaviors simply because we’re unaware or experience a mismatch between our style and what our colleagues need.


As most of us have experienced, the impact of having a bad boss can ripple through an entire organization, leading to decreased morale, diminished productivity, and higher turnover rates. But where do you start if you want to avoid falling into that toxic leadership trap?


In today’s post, we’ll delve into strategies that ensure you avoid becoming a toxic boss, as shared by this week’s podcast guest and leadership coach, Rob Kalwarowsky.



Self-Awareness is the Foundation


The journey to avoiding toxic leadership starts with self-awareness. Take a reflective stance and identify your strengths and weaknesses as a manager.


Are you prone to micromanaging? How do you react when a team member makes a mistake? Do you struggle with effective communication? Are you always available when your team needs your guidance?


Acknowledging these aspects allows you to set a solid foundation for personal growth and development as a leader. Unfortunately, while most of us think we’re self-aware, the vast majority of us don’t recognize how others perceive us. It’s important to get a clear view of yourself in order to avoid accidentally falling into bad boss behaviors.


Rob Kalwarowsky suggests one way to help you easily identify your strengths and weaknesses–get feedback from other people in your life. You can find a confidant at work that you trust to do that, as well as a coach, a therapist, a wife, a husband, or a partner. The goal is to get as much data as you can.


Understand Your Brain’s Defenders and Protectors


Have you ever wondered why you react in such a way in certain situations?


According to Rob, as we evolved through our lives, we experienced moments that established hurt child parts in our brains. These so-called defenders sit on top of those hurt child parts to protect us from experiencing those hard feelings and painful experiences.


In return, when triggered, these defenders make us do bad boss behaviors, such as avoiding conflict, yelling at a colleague, and expecting unreasonable perfectionism.


When you start to understand how these sensitivities get triggered, you can heal those hurtful past experiences in your life and, eventually, eliminate your bad boss behaviors. Remember that letting go of your past doesn’t happen overnight.


As Rob says, you need to attend to those hurtful parts with love and compassion. Only through giving yourself love and compassion will you heal those wounds. Only then will they slowly lose their grip on you.


Becoming a toxic boss is a slippery slope that can have dire consequences for your team and the organization as a whole. By prioritizing self-awareness and healing, you can most definitely steer clear of the toxic leadership trap.


Remember this: A great leader is not measured by the numbers but by their positive impact on your team’s growth and well-being. So, strive to be that leader who inspires, nurtures, and empowers.


If you want an in-depth discussion about this topic, listen to my entire conversation with Rob Kalwarowsky HERE and learn how to avoid becoming a toxic boss.



Connect with Rob Kalwarowsky

- Follow Rob on LinkedIn here


- Check Rob out on Instagram here


- Visit Elite High Performance for more here

- FREE How to Deal with A**hole Boss eBook here


- Get $50 Off promo code for the How to Deal with A**hole Boss program here

(Use the code MODERNMANAGER)


*Members of The Modern Manager community get a FREE Elite High Performance’s Purpose Playbook (Usually at $99).


Elite High Performance’s Purpose Playbook program supports people in becoming clear on their core values and uncovering their innate gifts so they can tap into their sweet spot and create more purpose, meaning, and fulfillment in their lives.


Get this discount and many other member benefits when you join The Modern Manager Community.



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