How Emotionally Intelligent People Handle Toxic People

A 21st-century article below from Dr. Travis Bradberry, Ph.D. who was an award-winning co-author of the #1 bestselling book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, and the co-founder of TalentSmart, the world’s leading provider of emotional intelligence tests and training, serving more than 75% of Fortune 500 companies. 

“Toxic people defy logic. Some are blissfully unaware of the negative impact that they have on those around them, and others seem to derive satisfaction from creating chaos and pushing other people’s buttons. Either way, they create unnecessary complexity, strife, and worst of all stress.

“Studies have long shown that stress can have a lasting, negative impact on the brain. Exposure to even a few days of stress compromises the effectiveness of neurons in the hippocampus—an important brain area responsible for reasoning and memory. Weeks of stress cause reversible damage to neuronal dendrites (the small “arms” that brain cells use to communicate with each other), and months of stress can permanently destroy neurons. Stress is a formidable threat to your success—when stress gets out of control, your brain and your performance suffer.

“Most sources of stress at work are easy to identify. If your non-profit is working to land a grant that your organization needs to function, you’re bound to feel stress and likely know how to manage it. It’s the unexpected sources of stress that take you by surprise and harm you the most.

“Recent research from the Department of Biological and Clinical Psychology at Friedrich Schiller University in Germany found that exposure to stimuli that cause strong negative emotions—the same kind of exposure you get when dealing with toxic people—caused subjects’ brains to have a massive stress response. Whether it’s negativity, cruelty, the victim syndrome, or just plain craziness, toxic people drive your brain into a stressed-out state that should be avoided at all costs.

“The ability to manage your emotions and remain calm under pressure has a direct link to your performance. Talent Smart has conducted research with more than a million people, and we’ve found that 90% of top performers are skilled at managing their emotions in times of stress in order to remain calm and in control. One of their greatest gifts is the ability to neutralize toxic people. Top performers have well-honed coping strategies that they employ to keep toxic people at bay.

“While I’ve run across numerous effective strategies that successful people employ when dealing with toxic people, what follows are twelve of the best. To deal with toxic people effectively, you need an approach that enables you, across the board, to control what you can and eliminate what you can’t. The important thing to remember is that you are in control of far more than you realize.”

They Set Limits (Especially with Complainers)

“Complainers and negative people are bad news because they wallow in their problems and fail to focus on solutions. They want people to join their pity party so that they can feel better about themselves. People often feel pressure to listen to complainers because they don’t want to be seen as callous or rude, but there’s a fine line between lending a sympathetic ear and getting sucked into their negative emotional spiral.

“You can avoid this only by setting limits and distancing yourself when necessary. Think of it this way: if the complainer were smoking, would you sit there all afternoon inhaling the second-hand smoke? You’d distance yourself, and you should do the same with complainers. A great way to set limits is to ask complainers how they intend to fix the problem. They will either quiet down or redirect the conversation in a productive direction.”

They Don’t Die in the Fight

“Successful people know how important it is to live to fight another day, especially when your foe is a toxic individual. In conflict, unchecked emotion makes you dig your heels in and fight the kind of battle that can leave you severely damaged. When you read and respond to your emotions, you’re able to choose your battles wisely and only stand your ground when the time is right.”

They Rise Above

“Toxic people drive you crazy because their behavior is so irrational. Make no mistake about it; their behavior truly goes against reason. So why do you allow yourself to respond to them emotionally and get sucked into the mix?

“The more irrational and off-base someone is, the easier it should be for you to remove yourself from their traps. Quit trying to beat them at their own game. Distance yourself from them emotionally and approach your interactions like they’re a science project (or you’re their shrink, if you prefer the analogy). You don’t need to respond to the emotional chaos—only the facts.”

They Stay Aware of Their Emotions

“Maintaining an emotional distance requires awareness. You can’t stop someone from pushing your buttons if you don’t recognize when it’s happening. Sometimes you’ll find yourself in situations where you’ll need to regroup and choose the best way forward. This is fine and you shouldn’t be afraid to buy yourself some time to do so.

“Think of it this way—if a mentally unstable person approaches you on the street and tells you he’s John F. Kennedy, you’re unlikely to set him straight. When you find yourself with a coworker who is engaged in similarly derailed thinking, sometimes it’s best to just smile and nod. If you’re going to have to straighten them out, it’s better to give yourself some time to plan the best way to go about it.”

They Establish Boundaries

“This is the area where most people tend to sell themselves short. They feel like because they work or live with someone, they have no way to control the chaos. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Once you’ve found your way to Rise Above a person, you’ll begin to find their behavior more predictable and easier to understand. This will equip you to think rationally about when and where you have to put up with them and when you don’t. For example, even if you work with someone closely on a project team, that doesn’t mean that you need to have the same level of one-on-one interaction with them that you have with other team members.

“You can establish a boundary, but you’ll have to do so consciously and proactively. If you let things happen naturally, you are bound to find yourself constantly embroiled in difficult conversations. If you set boundaries and decide when and where you’ll engage a difficult person, you can control much of the chaos. The only trick is to stick to your guns and keep boundaries in place when the person tries to encroach upon them, which they will.”

They Won’t Let Anyone Limit Their Joy

“When your sense of pleasure and satisfaction are derived from the opinions of other people, you are no longer the master of your own happiness. When emotionally intelligent people feel good about something that they’ve done, they won’t let anyone’s opinions or snide remarks take that away from them.

“While it’s impossible to turn off your reactions to what others think of you, you don’t have to compare yourself to others, and you can always take people’s opinions with a grain of salt. That way, no matter what toxic people are thinking or doing, your self-worth comes from within. Regardless of what people think of you at any particular moment, one thing is certain—you’re never as good or bad as they say you are.”

They Don’t Focus on Problems—Only Solutions

“Where you focus your attention determines your emotional state. When you fixate on the problems you’re facing, you create and prolong negative emotions and stress. When you focus on actions to better yourself and your circumstances, you create a sense of personal efficacy that produces positive emotions and reduces stress.

“When it comes to toxic people, fixating on how crazy and difficult they are gives them power over you. Quit thinking about how troubling your difficult person is, and focus instead on how you’re going to go about handling them. This makes you more effective by putting you in control, and it will reduce the amount of stress you experience when interacting with them.”

They Don’t Forget

“Emotionally intelligent people are quick to forgive, but that doesn’t mean that they forget. Forgiveness requires letting go of what’s happened so that you can move on. It doesn’t mean you’ll give a wrongdoer another chance. Successful people are unwilling to be bogged down unnecessarily by others’ mistakes, so they let them go quickly and are assertive in protecting themselves from future harm.”

They Squash Negative Self-Talk

“Sometimes you absorb the negativity of other people. There’s nothing wrong with feeling bad about how someone is treating you, but your self-talk (the thoughts you have about your feelings) can either intensify the negativity or help you move past it. Negative self-talk is unrealistic, unnecessary, and self-defeating. It sends you into a downward emotional spiral that is difficult to pull out of. You should avoid negative self-talk at all costs.”

They Limit Their Caffeine Intake

“Drinking caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline. Adrenaline is the source of the “fight-or-flight” response, a survival mechanism that forces you to stand up and fight or run for the hills when faced with a threat. The fight-or-flight mechanism sidesteps rational thinking in favor of a faster response. This is great when a bear is chasing you, but not so great when you’re surprised in the hallway by an angry coworker.”

They Get Some Sleep

“I’ve beaten this one to death over the years and can’t say enough about the importance of sleep to increasing your emotional intelligence and managing your stress levels. When you sleep, your brain literally recharges, shuffling through the day’s memories and storing or discarding them (which causes dreams), so that you wake up alert and clear-headed. Your self-control, attention, and memory are all reduced when you don’t get enough—or the right kind—of sleep. Sleep deprivation raises stress hormone levels on its own, even without a stressor present.

“A good night’s sleep makes you more positive, creative, and proactive in your approach to toxic people, giving you the perspective you need to deal effectively with them.”

They Use Their Support System

“It’s tempting, yet entirely ineffective, to attempt tackling everything by yourself. To deal with toxic people, you need to recognize the weaknesses in your approach to them. This means tapping into your support system to gain perspective on a challenging person. Everyone has someone at work and/or outside work who is on their team, rooting for them, and ready to help them get the best from a difficult situation. Identify these individuals in your life and make an effort to seek their insight and assistance when you need it. Something as simple as explaining the situation can lead to a new perspective. Most of the time, other people can see a solution that you can’t because they are not as emotionally invested in the situation.”


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

An Open Letter to My College-Bound Son During The Age of Disruption

A unique letter (wrote to her child) by Clar Rosso, Executive Vice President-Engagement and Learning Innovation, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants.

Clar Rosso in focused on how work is changing, industries are being disrupted, artificial intelligence is improving, and more tasks are becoming automated, and innovation is increasing.

She also wrote to her son about graduating from high school and heading to college and learning skills such as:

Complex Problem Solving: The future will require you to solve new kinds of problems that may not be well defined.

Emotional Intelligence: Success will require you it identify and manage your emotions and anticipate the emotions of others around the office. Handling your relationships with empathy is key and a skill you’ll be able to develop throughout your career.

Critical Thinking: Objective analysis of facts and issues will be key to exercising your judgment.

Creativity: When you think of creativity, you probably picture an artist, but the kind of creativity I’m talking about is technical creativity, which drives new ideas, theories and technologies.

People Management: Creating a rock star team and getting the most out of them will continue to be valued in the workplace.





Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How Compassion Builds Better Companies

LinkedIn’s Jeff Weiner wrote a unique article:

“The importance of being compassionate, how it can change your career path, your company, and your life.”

He also wrote aspiring to compassion was helpful: “So I decided to change. I vowed that as long as I’d be responsible for managing other people, I would aspire to manage compassionately. That meant walking a mile in the other person’s shoes; and understanding their hope, their fears, their strengths and their weaknesses.  And it meant doing everything with my power to set them up to be successful.”

He mentioned that to create the right culture, and you create a competitive advantage is another point about the need for compassion. “The flip side is developing a culture with a compassionate ethos. That’s what our leadership team has tried to do at LinkedIn; create a culture where people take the time to understand the other person’s perspective, and not assume nefarious intention; build trust; and align around a shared mission. After nearly 10 years, I still celebrate the fact we can make important decisions in minutes or hours that some companies debate for months. Create the right culture, and you create a competitive advantage.”




Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

7 Simple Tricks That Will Instantly Increase Your Emotional Intelligence

Learning to do these seven things will help you avoid saying and doing things you later regret.

  1. Pause
  2. Volume
  3. Mute
  4. Record
  5. Rewind
  6. Fast-Forward
  7. Trailer

The article is linked here:

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Is Your Emotional Intelligence Authentic, or Self-Serving by Ron Carucci in Harvard Business Review

“It’s possible to fake emotional intelligence. Similar to knockoffs of luxury watches or handbags, there are emotions and actions that look like the real thing but really aren’t. With with best intentions, I’ve seen smart leaders charge into sensitive interactions armed with what they believed was a combination of deep empathy, attuned listening, and self-awareness but was, in fact, a way to serve their own emotional needs. It’s important to learn to spot these forgeries, especially if you’re the forger.

“Our ability to express emotional intelligence is sometimes impaired by unacknowledged, unhealthy, emotional needs. If you want to genuinely employ effective emotional intelligence skills, pay attention to the unaddressed scars and voids lurking beneath the surface of your inner emotional landscape. Tend to those honestly and carefully, and you’ll better be able to maintain credibility and strong relationships with others.”

The article’s more information on Harvard Business Review Link:

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How Good Eggs came back from the brink–and plans take on Amazon

How Good Eggs came back from the brink–and plans take on Amazon

“Good Eggs first launched in 2011 as a digital version of a farmer’s market, bringing local produce to customers who didn’t have time to shop in person. By 2015, it was struggling. The company had quickly expanded and then crashed badly, closing its locations in New York, Los Angeles, and New Orleans, and laying off 140 workers. But the San Francisco location stayed open, changed leadership, and worked to solve its problems in just one market.

“The investors saw an opportunity for the company to grow, even in the face of Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods, which now means competing against free grocery delivery for Prime Members in San Francisco. ‘I think there is a type of customer who wants what they stand for related to food to not be from the largest e-commerce provider in the world,’ says Bill Gurley, general partner at Benchmark. ‘I think that Whole Foods is already at a scale that makes some of the local work that Good Eggs does impossible . . . it’s a little counterintuitive, but when you get to where you have 1,000 stores, it’s remarkably inefficient to source locally. You can actually be too big to deliver against that value proposition.’

“After initially expanding too quickly, the company hired a new CEO, Bentley Hall in late 2015, and was able to turn the business around. From 2016 to today, the company’s average order size has increased 21%. The company has grown more than four times, even while competitors like Instacart and Amazon have entered the market. The cost of Good Eggs’ offerings are fairly similar to Whole Foods; eggs and dairy prices are slightly lower. Produce, which Good Eggs says it sources to a higher standard, is 4% higher on average. It declined to share specific numbers, but Hall says that Good Eggs is delivering thousands of grocery orders each day.

“When Hall took over as CEO, he says that the biggest shift the company made was to focus on what customers wanted. The team at Good Eggs started offering more products so that it would be possible for someone to buy a full week’s worth of groceries in one place.”

In the Giraffes of Technology book’s Chapter 3, we wrote about dealing with problems in The Cycle of Falls and Rises so that when you fall (with problems) you are still able to rise again as being positive vs negative. Chapter 6 deals with Blending into Communities that helps companies move forward with customers, and Chapter 1 focuses on The Lookout Post that keeps leaders to look forward in the age of science and technology in a broader vision to keep rising vs. falling more.

Fast Company Link:

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Review of our book by Better World Books

I recently learned about the review of our book by Better World Books that received it from libraries as a “former library book.” They wrote a unique review of the book attached below in black sentences.

Giraffes of Technology by Dr. Hubert Glover


Giraffes of Technology: The Making of the 21st-Century Leader frames a new model of leadership and vision that is suited to the realities of today’s marketplace and that responds to the complexity of technology and change. Laying out six core concepts in the construct of an empowering metaphor, Giraffes of Technology will stimulate your imagination and open your eyes to new ways of thinking about the opportunities and challenges present in the technologically-driven culture of today.

For more information, visit


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Giraffes of Technology Published in Atlanta-Fulton Public Central Library

I recently learned that our book was posted on Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System, Central Library, in Atlanta, GA 30303, United States.

Below they wrote about our book and the unique Giraffe metaphor:

Giraffes of Technology: The Making of the 21st-Century Leader frames a new model of leadership and vision that is suited to the realities of today’s marketplace and that responds to the complexity of technology and change. Laying out six core concepts in the construct of an empowering metaphor, Giraffes of Technology will stimulate your imagination and open your eyes to new ways of thinking about the opportunities and challenges present in the technologically-driven culture of today. For more information, visit



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Lookout Post—Giraffes of Technology

In our book’s chapter The Lookout Post—Giraffes of Technology about the future of work due to science and technology, we researched MIT’s Peter Senge and his unique book about the world’s future published in 1990: The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization.

In 1999 the Journal of Business Strategy named MIT’s Peter Senge “Strategist of the Century.” He is the definition of a look-out post that continually scans the horizon. In 1990 he wrote The Fifth Discipline, a book that predicted that business was entering a time of quickening pace where there no longer would be a stable environment. Society would be bombarded with ongoing change and need to be more alert through intensive, ongoing learning. Senge suggested that when encountering rapid change, only companies that were “flexible, adaptive, and productive” would excel.

He argued that companies must begin to see their employees as people, as assets to develop and feed through learning. The industrial-age terms “human resources” and “personnel” would shift to “human capital.” To keep up with change, companies would need to become sincere learning organizations and decentralize the power of old industrial-age hierarchy, bringing human characteristics such as the ability to adapt to a changing environment. Peter Senge viewed companies as organic entities that needed to adopt behavior that emulates learning. In his book The Fifth Discipline, Senge writes about “organizations where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning to see the whole together.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Businesses Exist to Deliver Value to Society

Businesses Exist to Deliver Value to Society

In the Harvard Business Review (HBR), Kenneth Frazier (CEO of Merck) was interviewed about “Businesses Exist to Deliver Value to Society.” Since becoming CEO in 2011, he has earned praise for stabilizing Merck—no easy feat in an industry convulsed by change. He promised new launches, such as the cancer drug Keytruda.

During his interview by HBR, he responded to the questions listed below:

Thinking more broadly about the role of business in society, Milton Friedman once said that a business’s sole purpose is to generate profit for shareholders. Does that seem right?

While a fundamental responsibility of business leaders is to create value for shareholders, I think businesses also exist to deliver value to society. Merck has existed for 126 years; its individual shareholders have turned over countless times. But our salient purpose in the world is to deliver medically important vaccines and medicines that make a huge difference for humanity. The revenue and shareholder value we create are an imperfect proxy for the value we create for patients and society.

What’s the biggest hurdle to innovation in drug development? The science? Regulations? The costs of R&D?

I’d say the main factor is our lack of knowledge about the human body and human biology. People talk about the importance of sequencing the human genome and the fact that we are generating more and more genetic insights. But as Roger Perlmutter, our head of research, says, what that really gives us is a parts list. It doesn’t tell us how those parts are integrated to operate the human body. That’s what we’re now interrogating across multiple disease areas.

Where do you most need to apply your time and attention, and where can other people lead?

I think the CEO needs to focus on critical areas. The first is setting the strategic direction of the company. The second is deciding how to allocate capital across the company to produce the greatest long-term value for the society and shareholders. The third, and by far the most important, is to ensure that the right people are in the right jobs. And CEOs have to be willing to give up power: The most important decisions made inside Merck are not made in my office.

What do you see as your biggest challenges going forward?

First, we want to make sure that our people, who are very good at operating in today’s business model, are prepared to adapt to change. What I worry about most is that we’re so comfortable with what we know that we won’t make the kinds of changes we need to make. My other big concern is whether we’re hiring the next generation of leaders. The ultimate test of a leader is, who are the people who will take over from you, and are they as talented and as committed as committed as they need to be to succeed?

How do you plan for that transition?

You have to fight against hierarchy, which is one of the biggest obstacles to success and innovation. It’s important for leaders to diffuse power to people who are actually in a position to make a difference. I’d love to convince Merck’s people that they already know what to do—that they don’t need to look up to their leaders for answers.

What would you like your ultimate legacy to be?

I’d like people to say that Merck continues to make a difference in the world by harnessing science and translating it into solutions that really matter for human and animal health around the world. It’s that simple.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment