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Toxic management: How offensive can you get?

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The Washington Redskins’ hiring of an “offensive consultant” looked to some like a pure play to undermine the head coach.

Put aside for a second the notion that to employees, any consultant is an “offensive consultant.” By its nature, a consultant’s presence signals lack of faith in the team.

The Redskins owner, Dan Snyder, rationalized that his hired hand was “another pair of eyes.” That only works, though, if the coach wants another set of eyes. Since that wasn’t the case, the owner appeared to be perpetuating infighting and chaos.

Result? A case of “toxic management” as defined by Roy Lubit of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, in which the leader is rigid, aggressive, self-centered and divisive—clearly the opposite of someone who builds up an organization.

Toxic management shows on two sides of the same coin: refusal to accept criticism on one side and deflecting blame on the other.

Other characteristics: bullying, impulsivity, moodiness and inability to focus. You also see lawsuits and grievances, customer complaints and high turnover.

And finally: paranoia. “Things go bad, somebody’s got to go under the bus,” the team’s defensive coordinator said in October. Which may have been followed by a running back trying to get a fullback benched. Which does not happen when you have healthy leadership and a solid team.

— Adapted from “In Unstable And Serious Condition,” Sally Jenkins, The Washington Post.

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