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Home » Ep. 26: Anatomy of a Toxic Manager with Jesse Frechette

Ep. 26: Anatomy of a Toxic Manager with Jesse Frechette

Ep. 26: Anatomy of a Toxic Manager with Jesse Frechette

Harmful people managers aren’t born that way. Everyone has a story that influences how they behave. Today’s episode delves into the anatomy and development of toxic people management skills. 

Our guest, Jesse Frechette, is a family systems therapist who will help us understand the origins of poor management skills and how we can avoid falling into the trap of becoming ineffective people managers.

Key Takeaways:

  • Most people don’t intend to be toxic managers but are heavily influenced by the models they experienced in their work and home lives.
  • Reflecting on our management behaviors that have caused harm can leave us feeling shame and guilt. Taking corrective action also requires self-compassion. Once we know better, we can do better.
  • Managers make the weather for their team. An unchecked angry or grumpy mood quickly permeates throughout the team.

Reflection Questions:

  • Reflect on how you learned to lead. If we experienced someone (e.g. parents, teachers) barking orders, yelling, threatening, bullying, or harassing us, that may be the model of leadership we emulate. What types of leaders did you experience in your childhood and career?
  • Self-awareness is a core component of healthy leadership. Reflect on behaviors that may be unintentionally causing harm to your team. Where did you learn those behaviors? Who or what could support you in changing them?
  • Managers are not immune to stress. Our stress response is the body’s natural physiological reaction to stressful, frightening, or dangerous events. How do you handle stress? Consider how your response to stress may affect your team.

Action Items:

  • Use a coach or an accountability partner. Changing long-standing habits is challenging. Getting support from a coach or accountability partner creates ease and makes it more likely that the change will remain.
  • Practice mindfulness to help you pause and reflect before responding. Learn simple techniques such as taking a deep breath or noticing the smells around you to support you in responding consciously to people.
  • Leaders are human and don’t know everything. Be transparent with your team about your strengths and also your areas for growth. Create time for a team exercise to share strengths and one area you want to improve.

Additional Resources:

The Managing Well podcast, with host Tonya Ladipo, talks about wellness in the workplace with people leaders, mental health professionals, HR experts, and more. Click the link to subscribe to the podcast and get the latest episodes.