And if you were hunting for your managers toxic, cunning leaders desperate to subtly remove their rivals in the war promotions and bonuses? A profile that would have on the rise in business, according to two Swiss authors. Here are some tips to uncover it.

Regularly change the priorities of his team, full of officials appointed on a project, communicating only by internal guidelines. These adverse managerial behavior have one thing in common: “They characterize the typical profile of the toxic manager,” says Stefano Mastrogiacomo, teacher researcher at HEC Lausanne, author of Lords of Management, unusual and offbeat book highlighting the levers of conventional anti-management enabled by this kind of bad leaders.

Subtle stratagems

“Far from being proven harassers, used to humiliate their employees in public, managers are toxic people discrete, using subtle tricks to hurt their team, and this, by displaying an irreproachable attitude,” warns Stefano Mastrogiacomo. If these behaviors are often consciously adopted, it is because they target a very specific purpose: to allow the author to gain a personal advantage. “By pretending to work, those executives who work away from their team and company resources, seek above all to preserve their privileges, or dismiss their rivals still frothing to get the biggest bonus,” analyzes the author.
But how do they get from the work of others without being detected? According to the authors, they would use four levers:


# Foster confusion within the team by issuing deliberately vague objectives: sharing tasks unclear, systematic change of mission, program / ​​canceling meetings at the last minute, etc. To do this, the manager shall seek to avoid face to face exchange, focusing exclusively by e-mail communication.
# Keep his team in a state of disengagement and morale very important, not making any critical feedback on the tasks carried out or worse, giving no recognition for work well done.
# Cut off the oxygen of the team promoting the obstruction of resources. In other words, allocate budgets without ever allocate.
# Capitalize on the negligence of employees or cause them to sin, by failing to consider the risks associated with different activities. This allows the manager to disconnect when a problem occurs. But also to reap the laurels, if the work is successful.

The occasional use one of these maneuvers suffice to characterize the toxic manager? “No, says Peter Sindelar, a psychiatrist in Geneva and co-author of the book, what kind of profile enables these levers in everyday life. “How? By saying a panel of short sentences, which may at first seem harmless, but occur repeatedly, generating a real disorder in the collaborator. Convincing Example: congratulating his colleague, saying: “It’s a good job but I was expecting something concrete. ” “This sentence is ambiguous, regularly pronounced, takes all the credit for work well done. Result: it deprives the employee his full confidence in him. Lacks a coherent vision of his work, he loses his bearings and fell into a constant stress, “describes Peter Sindelar.

Toxic interactions

Interactions all the more toxic they directly affect mental health. “Insomnia, depression, burnout,” explains the psychiatrist, “many evils which often leads to sick repeatedly, thus generating significant cost for the company. Not to mention the lost productivity of field crews, since these managers are true inhibitors of the collective performance of those around them, like say the authors.

This means the need to identify such risk behaviors. A task often a challenge. “In a tough economic climate, where suffering at work tends to grow, these attitudes have become so commonplace they have become the norm, making it difficult to locate them to implement corrective actions. Especially since, among the victims of such abuse, only a minority dares to complain, “deplored the authors of the book, which lists just 85 examples of faulty communications to help business leaders to detect toxic interactions.

Once the manager identified, awareness and a questioning on his part is needed, a long and difficult,” says Peter Sindelar, “not to mention the complete redesign of the network of relationships within the team through the establishment of new modes of communication to promote mutual understanding sufficient. “Models of management healthier, on which the authors have just floored. “They are tested in vivo in Swiss companies, and early results are promising,” says Stefano Mastrogiacomo.