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Laura Crawshaw: Grow Your Spine - Insights For Managing Abrasive Leaders

Episode 83

About Laura Crawshaw: Dr. Laura Crawshaw (aka "The Boss Whisperer®") is the world’s leading expert on coaching abrasive leaders and relieving the organizational disruption and workplace suffering they cause. With more than 35 years’ experience as a psychotherapist, corporate officer, executive coach, researcher and author, she founded The Boss Whispering Institute in 2008, which is dedicated to research and training in the field of coaching abrasive leaders. Through her pioneering work, Dr. Crawshaw has dispelled the myth that leaders who engage in bullying behaviors are incapable of changing their management styles, bringing insight to these individuals and hope to their employers.


In this episode, Jordan and Laura discuss:

  • The reasons that bosses are not clear and direct with abrasive leaders

  • Abrasive leaders need to know the consequences of their impact on others

  • Seeing through the lens of ego and mechanisms of defense

  • Coaching abrasive leaders takes the cooperation of their management and HR

Key Takeaways

  • Leaders must realize they are the guardians of the mission of the organization and they are also guardians of the workforce that works to fulfill that mission. They have the duty to provide a physically and psychologically safe workplace.

  • Abrasive leaders tend to not see themselves as abrasive. Some of them believe that they’re doing what needs to be done in order to achieve the organization’s goals. This is why abrasive leaders need to develop awareness of their behavior and the consequences of it.

  • Always keep this in mind. When people respond in anxiety and fear in your presence, try to be open to knowing why they are threatened and with that knowledge, put them at ease.

  • Coaching an abrasive leader to develop healthier habits of communication needs the cooperation of first the abrasive leader, and also, their manager. The manager needs to directly let the leader know that they are abrasive.

“[Leaders] are guardians of the mission of their organization. They're also Guardians of the workforce that works to fulfill that mission and so they have a duty to provide a physically and psychologically safe workplace. That is a manager's duty.” — Laura Crawshaw

Check out Laura’s books:

Connect with Laura Crawshaw:

Jordan Goldrich

Your host, Jordan Goldrich, grew up in a loud New York family and once lost an executive position because of his style. He is co-author of the Amazon Best Seller, Workplace Warrior®: People Skills For The No-Bulls**t Executive, Chief Operations Officer, Master Corporate Executive Coach, and Licensed Clinical Social Worker. His guests are part of his international network of Workplace Warrior® executives, master corporate executive coaches, and thought leaders. Each guest will engage you in conversation about their successes, mistakes, and solutions. You will get strategies for being completely authentic, while you fulfill your commitment to your organization, build positive relationships, and take performance to an even higher level.

Connect with Jordan Goldrich: 

For executives wanting a complimentary executive coaching conversation:


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