The Surprising Source of Unintended Toxicity

The following readers won copies of The Vagrant because they left a comment on yesterday’s post:

  1. Darryl Hogue
  2. Pam Brown
  3. Carol Shanks
  4. Mark Medland
  5. Kristina Richard

Toxicity is almost always unintended.

My children used to say, “Stop yelling, dad.” My voice sounded calm to me. I said, “I’m not yelling.” (Probably too loud.)

Good intentions don’t guarantee positive results.

Authority amplifies impact. Image of a person using a small hammer.

Authority amplifies impact.

The more authority you have, the louder you seem. For example, when you ask, “What happened?” it might feel like an accusation.

You think, “I’m curious.” They think they did something wrong. Status enlarges the concerns of others.

Respect magnifies influence.

Toxicity expands when leaders whisper the good and yell the bad.

Unintended toxicity:

Toxic environments develop when you don’t appreciate your power. Quiet is loud when you’re respected.

Toxicity expands when leaders whisper the good and yell the bad.

Put a gag in your word hole if you disrespect the power of your voice.


Respect the impact of your influence, even when you feel you don’t have much.

Embrace your importance but reject self-importance.

You matter in destructive ways when you forget you matter.


Imagine everything you do has more impact than you believe. You think your volume is a three. They feel like it’s an eight.

“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” William James


I’m not puffing you up. Most of us grapple with ego. I’m reminding you of the power of your words and behaviors.

Don’t think less of yourself, just help others believe in themselves.

Leaders – who fear they don’t matter – throw their weight around like bullies. Humble leaders believe they matter.

A respected person enjoys the opportunity to enhance the power of others.

Note: This post reflects the themes in our new book, The Vagrant.

We’re choosing 5 people who leave a comment on today’s post to receive a complimentary copy of The Vagrant, my new book co-authored with John David Mann.

If you don’t win today – 9/20/23 – we’re giving away five more copies tomorrow!

This offer is limited to US/Canada.

What’s your takeaway from today’s post?

Order The Vagrant:


Barnes & Noble