Toxic Handlers Essay

693 words - 3 pages

A toxic handler is one who helps those who are struggling with organizational change to cope with different nuisances associated with the change (Palmer, Dunford, & Akin, 2009). Change that is not communicated well is abrupt and untimely or has unrealistic expectations create toxic feelings in employees that must be handled. A characteristic of a toxic handler is a capacity for empathy and a willingness to act to try to address pain and suffering in others caused by organizational change (Palmer et al., 2009).
In the article chosen, Savannah was a project manger charged with implementing a new program to change the existing promotion system that was based on seniority instead of performance (Frost, 2006). Although she had the support of top management, other managers were angry about the change and began to attack the efforts of Savannah and her team (Frost, 2006). Top management initiated the change and Savannah and her team was to implement it (Frost, 2006). Her team had a hard time because all of the anger concerning the change was directed at them and not top management (Frost, 2006). There were managers exhibiting deviant behaviors that forced Savannah to strategically thwart their plans and maintain the focus of the change (Frost, 2006). However, Savannah was able to redirects these toxins, so her team never know about the toxicity of the situation, thereby shouldering the responsibility of keeping them safe (Frost, 2006).
There is no reference as to how long these attacks by the managers lasted for Savannah and her team but whatever the time frame was, it was too long. Many potentially toxic situations in organizations cannot be changed in the short run (Frost, 2006). Sponges are attributed to toxic handlers because they take on so much of the pain of others along with their own pain and frustration concerning the change while being intermediaries (Palmer et al., 2009). Voluntarily shouldering the frustration and anger of other, taking on unwarranted anger, listening to gripes and remaining empathetic and supportive can eventually lead to burnout (Palmer...

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