Handling Toxic Emotions: New Challenges for Leaders and their Organization

Frost, Peter J.
May 2004
Organizational Dynamics;May2004, Vol. 33 Issue 2, p111
Academic Journal
he author explores issues of emotional pain in the workplace and discusses new challenges for industrial leaders and organizations to handle these emotions. Emotional toxicity is a byproduct of organizational life, and it is noxious. It drains vitality from individuals and from the whole organization. Unless it is identified and handled in healthy and constructive ways, it is a serious and often overlooked cause of organizational dysfunction and poor performance. The article cites a fictitious example of industrial executive Harry and his organization, to illustrate such emotional pains in an organization. Several studies support the kinds of toxic effects found in the Harry Smith story. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that organizational change at any level can lead to a loss of 75 percent in productive work time. Often the trigger is insensitive change methods. Job stress resulting from inadequate management and inhumane company practices shows up in the organizational costs. The article also presents sources of emotional toxicity in organizations and outlines methods these organizations can develop and formalize for caring for employees.


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