I recently uploaded a post that focused on the danger of applying labels to others.
Psychologically there is the risk of projecting onto others our labels – such as describing others as ‘toxic’ at work. If those supposed ‘toxic’ co-workers accept this, then it is called projective identification.
Sadly, I have seen this many times.
A powerful example was in a magazine for journalists. It featured a weekly cartoon series called “the dark side”, which focused upon media sales people. On one hand, investigative journalism that was (nobly) free of commercial influence; on the other hand, the sales people who brought in significant revenues.
Inevitably – and for valid reasons – there were tensions, but to label these people as “the dark side” was simply many steps too far.
And it reveals the presence of such destructive thinking, which serves to fragment the work efforts of the “bigger team”.
In different contexts, marketing teams and production teams, for example, may have different ways of working and different needs, but to castigate each others’ approaches seems at odds with the needs of the “bigger team” to which they all belong.
Effective executive coaching helps leaders to lead their teams through such turbulent choppy waters.