Bernie Anderson
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How To Sail Clear Of The Sea Of Toxicity

We’ve all had the swig of poison that is toxic leadership.


A leader who uses you as leverage to posture and position herself into a place of power. He tells you one thing and does the opposite and uses his position to control and manipulate his ever-changing agenda.

Those are not fun days.

Spit that venom out and never go back again. Turn this boat around. Stay away from the shores of the land of toxicity.

Because you will get the opportunity to lead. And there is always the danger of the abused become the abuser. But it doesn’t need to be this way.

These three principles will help you avoid those turbulent waters.

1. Stay away from the Sirens.

Those loud, enticing voices who seek to lure you back into their toxic sea and sink you in their poison. Don’t use up energy and air in your “one, wild, and wonderful life” with those whose sole aspiration is to draw you into their melodrama. You and I can not benefit in doing battle with them. Win or lose, precious time and energy is wasted. Don’t enter into their fight. Stay away from their lurid song. As far as possible with you, remove them from your life.

2. Let go of the need to steer.

Anyone can steer. I “drove the boat” when I was a five-year-old. It feels like big stuff when the captain puts his captain hat on my head and lets the little kid control the general direction of the craft. But steering is actually only a small piece of what makes a boat work. Steering is not leading. (Wearing the captain’s hat isn’t leading either). There is wind behind us. None of us can have the kind of ultimate, manipulative control toxic people think they have. There are forces beyond us driving this thing. You have significantly more power when you let go of your need to steer and begin to practice oursight. Watch the wind. Know your horizon. It’s counter-intuitive. But it’s actual leadership.

3. No one gets thrown overboard.

But you may have to let some folks off at the next port. Sometimes people jump ship, and there’s not much you can do about that. But, as soon as you throw someone off the boat, the waters become poisoned. You’ve crossed a line there’s never any going back from. Conflict isn’t resolved by throwing people to the sharks. That usually just makes it worse. Determine that this will not happen. There are times when parting company is best for all, but seek every opportunity to do so with gratitude, grace, and dignity.