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Men build too many walls and not enough bridgesIsaac Newton

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Toxic Emotions At Work

Toxic Emotions At Work

The author paints a picture of the various types of emotional distress which can be found in the workplace. He also points out that a specific category of employees, known as ""toxic handlers,"" is extremely effective in managing the stress of those around them.

Author(s): Peter J. Frost

Publisher: Harvard Business School Press

Date of publication: 2003

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Peter Frost paints a striking portrait of the emotional pain that can be found in organizations, e.g. personal problems, poorly managed change, lack of information, lack of interpersonal skills by many managers, etc. Potentially stressful situations are innumerable.
The original side of this book is that it identifies a little-known category of employees, which the author called “toxic handlers.” These employees know how to listen to their co-workers when they have problems. Often on their own initiative, they help others manage their stress by listening, helping them see situations differently, buffering them from additional stress relative to what they have just experienced, etc.
The author recommends that companies acknowledge this role, which is so critical to the smooth functioning of the organization. Unless they are recognized and supported, these valuable employees often pay a high personal price for their devotion. They can become very stressed from the emotional load that they must manage. Moreover, the time they spend helping others may appear to lower their own productivity. Recognizing this dimension of their work is therefore crucial. Companies would also benefit from training managers to do this well, because after all, aren’t managers supposed to create the conditions for optimal employee performance?