Leadership from the Field - The High Cost of Toxic Leadership!
Leaders' Newsletter July 2015
Welcome to this month's issue of "Leading from the Field."
Hi ,

Welcome to the July 2015 issue of "Leading from the Field."  A warm welcome to new and continuing subscribers!

 In this issue:

  • Leadership from the Field - The High Cost of Toxic Leadership
  • It's Time to Address Your Stress - free webinar - JULY 21
  • Upcoming Speaking Engagements: Healthcare INFORMS and the IIE Lean Conference            
  • What I am Reading: Delanceyplace Daily Email
  • Solutions for Your Most Challenging Issues @jeanannlarson.org
  • Updated Summer Catalog
  • Author Page
  • Countdown to August 24th - Organizational and Process Reengineering Approaches for Health Care Transformation is coming!

Also, please check out my website and browse through my blog posts, and leave your comments and replies! 


Thank you,

Dr. Jean Ann Larson

Managing Partner

Jean Ann Larson & Associates

800-823-4330 (office)

Leadership from the field 

 The High Cost of Toxic Leadership


Are you the cause of low productivity, low employee engagement and high turnover in your organization? Or do you know leaders who would provide more value to their organizations, if they stayed away from the office? A recent study shows how toxic bosses wreak havoc on teamwork (Adams, 2014). A related finding is that targets of an abusive boss's ridicule will often turn around and start abusing other team members.  This then makes the environment more toxic as everyone devolves into negative and competitive conflict.  Sadly, I've witnessed this among senior executive teams.  In one case the CEO was widely known as a narcissistic bully. His executive suite seemed to have a revolving door where executives came and went.  New executives would arrive on the scene as great heroes but within 6 - 18 months the CEO would turn on them. For those VPs who wanted to survive and remain in the organization, they had to basically become just like him and turn on their own peers and direct reports. Leaders with options quickly left.

 So what do bosses do to demoralize employees?  Here are some common examples:

  • They micromanage and second guess their direct reports despite the fact that the direct reports have more expertise and experience than the boss.
  • They walk away from a conversation because they lose interest (I was once called out on this - OUCH!).
  • They take calls in the middle of a meeting without walking out - this applies not only to bosses. I was recently on a client site where the team was discussing next steps.  One participant didn't just receive a phone call, he MADE it and then began an unrelated conversation with another party in a very loud voice. 
  • Bosses may openly mock people by pointing out alleged flaws or personality quirks in front of others.
  • They remind their subordinates of their role and title in the organization.
  • They take credit for wins while pointing the finger at others when problems arise. 

Employees who are harmed by these behaviors quickly learn to stop sharing ideas and they hold back throwing any hope of innovation out the window.


So why do managers say that they behave like bullies?  They say that they are overloaded and don't have time to be nice.  But seriously? Is being respectful all that time-consuming? Being respectful on a regular basis makes it easier to navigate through both good and bad times leading to higher levels of productivity, more innovation and lower turnover.  And, what if you had another type of behavior that derailed your success and had such a negative impact on your organization's productivity and bottom line?  Wouldn't you want to change it?  Research has proven that incivility and bullying hijack workplace focus.  According to a survey of 4500 doctors, nurses and other hospital personnel, 71 percent tied disruptive behavior, such as abusive, condescending or insulting personal conduct to medical errors, and 27 percent tied these behaviors to patient deaths.


In two separate studies, Bennett Tepper of Ohio State found that nearly 14% of US workers are subject to abusive supervisors.  Because of the damage these mean bosses cause, Tepper estimates that abusive supervision costs companies $23.8 billion a year.  Clearly no amount of automation, process improvement, six sigma or lean management techniques (not that we should ever stop the continuous improvement journey) can overcome the bad impact of these mean bosses.

 So what can you do if your boss is a bully?

  1. First and foremost, do not doubt your self-worth.  If you've been successful in your career up until this boss, the issue is with him or her, not you.
  2. Draw on your own inner resources and tell friends and loved ones outside work about your difficult boss. They can be your allies by listening and affirming your competence and value as a human being.
  3. Accept the fact that though you may love the company and the job, the boss may not make it possible for you to stay in your position.  Keep your options open.
  4. Check out the additional strategies for survival in Robert Sutton's book referenced below.

What if you are the bully?  (If you're not sure whether or not you're a bully, take the self-assessment in Robert Sutton's book referenced below.)

  • Accept the fact that your behaviors are hurting your organization's productivity and ability to innovate.
  • Work on improving your emotional intelligence - particularly self-awareness and self-regulation.
  • Get an executive coach to help you improve your leadership effectiveness. Studies done by the University of Southern California and the Center for Creative Leadership have shown that the number one characteristic associated with an executive's failure is an insensitive, abrasive or bullying style.
  • Reconsider your behavior: Do you want to lift people up or hold them down.  Understand that if they look good you do too.
  • Also, you do NOT, I repeat do NOT have to be the smartest person in the room. Give your people a chance. 

Do you have other strategies that have worked for you when dealing with toxic bosses?  Drop me a line at JeanAnn@jalarson.net  I'd love to share your ideas with my subscribers.

For more strategies on how to deal with bullies in the workplace, I recommend the book, The No A--hole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't  by Robert I. Sutton. It is well researched and very practical. Starting on page 121 of the paperback copy of the book, you can even take a quick self-test called, Are you a certified A-Hole? Signs that your Inner Jerk is Rearing Its Ugly Head (Sutton, 2007).  Click here for more information.


Jean Ann Larson & Associates

800-823-4330 (office)

Email ~ Website


It's Time to Address Your Stress

 Free Webinar July 21 at 9 a.m. PDT


Register HERE.


Instead of counting sheep, your mind is fixated on your mounting mental to-do list for the week. You toss and turn, and as you squint at the clock in the middle of the night, you punch your pillow knowing that 7 a.m. is a few hours away.

You can't be a zombie at your desk for a second straight day - surely, someone will notice. Or will they? 

Stress is a silent productivity killer within organizations. Gone unchecked, it creates burnout - and directly impacts retention, the morale and engagement of individuals and teams.


Today, my long time business partner, TTI Success Insights is proud to launch a new microsite, MeasureYourStress.com, providing you resources to better manage workplace stress. Visit the website to:

    *    View key stats on the impact of stress in the workplace
    *    Determine how leaders should address stress
    *    Learn 7 ways stress manifests itself
    *    Understand the warning signs of stress

Questions or comments can be sent to me at jeanann@jalarson.net or  TTI SI Vice President of Corporate Communications Emily Soccorsy at emily.soccorsy@ttiltd.com. 


Jean Ann Larson & Associates

800-823-4330 (office)

Email ~ Website
"The choice is ours, in every moment." - M. J. Ryan
Up-coming Speaking Engagements 

July 29-31 - INFORMS Healthcare at the Omni Nashville Hotel in Nashville.  I am copresenting with two colleagues from Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Our topic is Soft Skills for Leaders in Healthcare Analytics


September 30- October 2 in Atlanta at the IIE Lean Engineering Conference on Mastering Your Own Lean Professional Transitions


For more information on any of these engagements or conferences or to book me for your organization or event, please email me at jeanann@jalarson.net or call me at 800-823-4330 


Jean Ann Larson & Associates

800-823-4330 (office)

What I Am Reading 




Instead of recommending a book this month, I'd like to share a daily email post I enjoy every day.  If you're fascinated by ideas, new perspectives and ways of thinking, yet don't have time to read all the books and authors you'd like to read, I recommend Delanceyplace.  What is it? Delanceyplace is very simply a brief daily email with an excerpt or quote that is interesting or noteworthy, offered with commentary to provide context.  There is no theme, except that most excerpts will come from a non-fiction work, mainly works of history, and those that have a more universal relevance than simply the subject of the book from which they came.  Delancey Place is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

Here is an excerpt from Delanceyplace founder Richard Vague's letter to subscribers:

"Why did I start Delanceyplace? Certainly not for the money - Delanceyplace is strictly not-for-profit. In fact, the money we make when readers buy books through the site is given to children's literacy organizations. Instead, Delanceyplace is a genuine passion. I read a lot. Probably two or three non-fiction books a week. And for as long as I have been reading, I have never failed to come across certain passages (we call them "selections") that were so striking that I wanted to share them. I am thrilled when I stumble across a passage that explains something I have been puzzling over, or persuasively contradicts something I previously believed, or reveals something unexpected. With the advent of the internet, it didn't take much for me to want to share those passages virtually."

To check out Delanceyplace and decide if you'd like to subscribe to the free emails, below is a link to some of their archives.  Past topics have included:


truman capote's memories -- 6/26/15
bodies found in bogs -- 6/25/15
simply love her -- 6/24/15
self control -- 6/23/15
american graffiti -- 6/22/15
taking things bird by bird -- 6/19/15
fathers -- 6/18/15
cleopatra was worth $96 billion -- 6/17/15
nitrates -- 6/16/15
the pain of exclusion -- 6/15/15
neuroplasticity and chronic pain -- 6/12/15
adultery -- 6/11/15
 football and eating lunch alone -- 6/10/15
information overload and decision-making -- 6/09/15

Solutions for your Most Challenging Issues

  • Need leadership development? Jean Ann Larson & Associates provide executive team development, executive coaching and leadership retreats. Click here 
  • Want to maximize your team's results and enhance business strategy? Let Jean Ann and her team do an organizational audit and business process review to align you, your work teams and employees for maximum engagement. Click here 
  • Want to deal more effectively with your major change initiatives? Let us work with your team on a change readiness assessment refresh and boot camp to improve your effectiveness at leading change. Click here
  • Want a road map and proven method to truly transforming your organization's people, processes, methods and mindsets? Hire Jean Ann Larson & Associates for an Organizational Reengineering Engagement. Click here
  • Need an inspiring keynote for a corporate event or professional association? Jean Ann Larson is an acclaimed keynote speaker and facilitator.  We also do customized programs and workshops for high potential leaders and other key people in your organization. For a listing of recent programs and topics, please see our Updated Summer Catalog.

Updated Summer Keynote Speeches and Workshop Catalog


If you're interested in a copy of the Summer Catalog, send me a note at info@jalarson.net with CATALOG in the subject line. It includes some new topics and a curriculum for high potentials.


"All know the way; few actually walk it." Bodhidharma
Check out my Amazon.com author page

Coming Soon!
Organizational and Process Reengineering: Publication Date: August 24, 2015.


You can preorder it at a 20% discount by following this link:

Here's what people are saying:  

Stay tuned for book signing receptions coming later this summer.

Here's what people are saying:

Modern healthcare organizations find themselves in a tremendously precarious and challenging position to continually do more with less without compromising quality and patient satisfaction. Solutions to process change are oftentimes complex and far from easy. Dr. Larson has created a brilliant approach to organizational transformation through her unique combination of approaches to process improvement coupled with her vast experience in the industry. This book is the only resource you will need to charge forward with courage and confidence to move your organization to unbridled success. Val Gokenbach DM RN MBA RWJF, Leading Leaders, Formerly CNO of Beaumont Health Systems, Detroit MI

I highly recommend that anyone who is a leader read Dr. Larson's insights regarding the importance of process improvement and culture in change management and quality improvement. Her command of both process and structure to support outcomes is superb. In addition, she possesses vast knowledge and understanding of human behavior and its relationship to process improvement required to achieve performance excellence.

Gene Michalski, Former President and Chief Executive Officer, Beaumont Health, Royal Oak Michigan


U.S. healthcare is beyond simply picking the "low hanging fruit" of siloed process improvement initiatives. True transformational change is a product of highly effective communication, collaboration, trust and a clear vision of the desired future state.  Jean Ann cleverly aligns the best tools and techniques together that drive reliable, sustainable change to our modern healthcare organizations. Rudy Santacroce, PE, Vice President, Operational Excellence, RTKL and Associates, Dallas Texas

If you need to lead your organization through fundamental change and improvement, this book provides a road map along with case studies, templates and lessons learned. 


Check out my website and browse through my blog posts, and leave your comments and replies. And don't forget to sign up for my blog posts!
Subscribe here

"Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything."

- George Bernard Shaw  
Our Services
Click Here
About Us
Click Here

Free Assessment 

See how we combine powerful diagnostic tools with facilitated workshops to help individuals, teams and organizations become more effective and get better bottom-line results. CLICK on the button to your right and enter the code 221778TES for a no-obligation, COMPLIMENTARY assessment to get started today.  Click Here 

See you next month


If you would like to continue the discussion, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ reply to this Newsletter or call me at 1-800-823-4330.

Please follow me on Like us on Facebook Facebook, Follow us on Twitter Twitter,  View our profile on LinkedIn LinkedIn and Find us on Google+ Google+. 


All the best!
Jean Ann


Copyright 2015 Jean Ann Larson & associates. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.