Best-selling author, Gary Thomas, says it took him years to figure out that some people are just plain toxic. They don’t respond to love, to correction or to direction.
Gary shares how to walk away from toxic people at work, in your family and in life, and why the traditional Christian response of “just love them more” isn’t really that Christian.
Welcome to Episode 331 of the podcast. Listen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.
Plus, in this episode’s What I’m Thinking About Segment, Carey gives his latest thoughts on the COVID-19 crisis and how to respond as leaders.
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We’ve got a crisis going on in our own lives and in our own culture, but it also happens elsewhere in the world, where even response to a global pandemic, access to healthcare is not nearly as real as it is for most of us. So during the moments of crisis here, we have the benefits of leadership and ministry resources. We can jump on the internet. We have resources that others don’t have. So imagine navigating this in India or Lebanon or South Sudan. Not only would you not have access to the resources in your language, you might not even have a bible that you could use regularly.
We’ve partnered with a ministry called International Cooperating Ministries. They’re a leader in global church development at work, and while we have crises of our own, since 1986, they have been equipping and helping indigenous church leaders around the world. They’re in 100 different countries. They are EFCA accredited, have four stars on Charity Navigator, and for $35 a month, you can equip pastors in a developing nation to respond to crisis and minister effectively. Sometimes one of the best things you can do as a leader is say, “You know what? I’m going to help someone else.”
3 INSIGHTS FROM GARY
1. Healthy relationships are too boring for toxic people
It’s hard to fathom that a person like this exists, but many many toxic people can’t stand healthy relationships. A toxic husband will get bored with a healthy marriage. A toxic co-worker will get tired of a healthy workplace culture. We have to be aware of those people as the church and look for ways to drive them out.
The biggest danger of these toxic people is that they will often be master manipulators, and when they begin to not get their way, they will attack anything standing in their way. Gary outlines a few stories in his book where toxic individuals intentionally “murder” other people’s reputations and lives for the sake of toxicity.
2. If you throw your pearls before swine, you’ll be ripped to shreds
The natural Christian response to dealing with toxic people is to try and just stick around and pour more and more energy, love and care into a toxic person hoping that they change. Gary has learned through studying the New Testament that this is the wrong approach. The New Testament says to do the opposite.
The New Testament says that we will encounter people who are “swine” that are toxic and not worth our time or effort. It says that we cannot throw our pearls before them or it will tear us apart. When we identify someone as toxic, it’s time to walk away.
3. As a leader, removing the toxic people from your organization is on you
It’s so tempting, as a leader, to give in to toxic people little by little over time. You think, “It’s not really a big deal that they gossiped one time.” Or, “Maybe they are just really extroverted and need to verbally process their feelings.” Eventually, they have taken over the office with drama.
If you allow that as a leader, you suffocate the rest of your team. As a leader, you need to be constantly on the lookout for toxic people within your organization and get rid of them. When you get rid of them, tell them the truth. Call a toxic person toxic. They need to hear it, and your other leaders need to know why you made the decision you did.
Quotes from Episode 331
Looking for a key quote? More of a reader?
Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.
HOW TO LEAD THROUGH CRISIS: A NEW FREE COURSE
The world is experiencing a series of unprecedented challenges, and you’re leading in the midst of it all.
I’ve got a brand new online, on-demand course, called How To Lead Through Crisis, that can help you lead your team, your church and yourself through the massive disruption.
The course is the gift from me and my team to you and leaders everywhere. In light of everything that’s going on, we decided to make it available 100% free.
Inside How To Lead Through Crisis, you’ll learn how to:
- Cultivate a non-anxious presence that inspires confidence and trust.
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- Advance digitally to scale past physical barriers and grow your outreach.
- Lead your team and congregation remotely
While no one has all the answers in a crisis this big, in the course, I share the mindsets, habits, tools and strategies that I believe will help you lead through crisis to get you and the people you lead to a new (and better) future.
Subscribe for free and never miss out on wisdom from world-class leaders like Brian Houston, Andy Stanley, Craig Groeschel, Nancy Duarte, Henry Cloud, Patrick Lencioni, Francis Chan, Ann Voskamp, Erwin McManus and many others.
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