Mini-MasterClass: Coaching Abrasive Leaders

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Mini-MasterClass: Coaching Abrasive Leaders

Abrasive leaders rub their coworkers the wrong way. Their words and actions create interpersonal friction that grates on subordinates, peers, and superiors, grinding away at trust and motivation, inflicting deep wounds, and disrupting the smooth flow of work.

The management styles of abrasive leaders include one or more of the following characteristic behaviors: over-control, overreaction, threats, public humiliation, and/or condescension. These individuals present a significant challenge for the executive coach: unable or unwilling to see the impact of their destructive styles on coworkers and on the greater organization, they can be highly resistant to traditional coaching methods.

At the same time, the need for coaches skilled in coaching these individuals is growing. As workplace bullying legislation is instituted worldwide, employers are increasingly motivated to find a solution for technically competent (and thus, valuable) executives, managers, and professionals whose abrasive conduct results in organizational disruption. Finally, this specialty practice is deeply rewarding for many reasons. Coaching abrasive leaders can dramatically improve the workplace climate, while reducing the potential for harassment litigation and coworker attrition. Further requests to coach other abrasive leaders in a given company can profoundly reshape that organization's culture. In view of this, executive coaches are perfectly positioned to relieve individual and organizational suffering caused by workplace bullying.

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