Toxic Jerk Meeting Prep Guide

Most people have either accidentally or on purpose acted like a toxic jerk sometime in their lives (on a power trip). We strive to and do stamp those kinds of behaviors out while learning how to filter and respond to them when necessary.


Managing one’s own and developing the self esteem of teammates is one of the top jobs of a leader. At Medigram, leaders are expected to monitor and manage their own self esteem continually and proactively while building and maintaining the esteem of their direct reports and all colleagues and partners. One unavoidable aspect of life is the presence of misunderstandings based on variances in interpersonal communication skill levels, development, styles, and emotional self management skill levels. There are also varying backgrounds and self confidence levels. The purpose of this guide is to help you manage and assess interactions with people that may present undesirable behaviors that may negatively impact self confidence. As complexity in modern and work life accelerates and with that ignorance and arrogance, these coping skills will become ever more critical for all professionals, namely executives.

Step one: The day before the meeting, self-assess your self esteem according to the image below and the 10 questions. It will take you 90 seconds and be the best 90 seconds you spend.

Step two: Memorize the three mental responses below to deploy that you can leverage if you are the target of any barbs, jabs, mind games, outright but inaccurate insults and the projecting of insecurity with the three coping mechanisms below.

Step three: Review the self esteem assessment pictured again (10 questions) right after the meeting. Compare the results to this assessment and the results of the prior assessment before the meeting. Take note of any change.

Step four: If the meeting companion was unable to provide their “opinion” or feedback in a respectful or constructive way, and they were coming from a place of themselves being insecure at all and it impacted how you felt. Did you get a sinking feeling in your stomach. Did you feel defensive or attacked? Then evaluate if you are required to interact with them at all. Consider containing the amount of time, or cease meeting or interacting with them if it’s possible. If it’s not possible to stop interacting with them, ask them to do something specific instead of what they did before. We will cover this latter conversation in a different post on “conflict management.”

Review the 10 questions above both before and after the meeting
Score the above 10 items both before and after the meeting; compare two sets of scores

Three Mental Responses: How Do You Survive a Verbal Attack? or Attack by Text or Email or Behind Your Back?

  1. Discover your emotions that underlie.
  2. Remember that a critic is only an opinion.
  3. Keep calm. Sometimes it’s hard to stay calm

From Psychology Spot [1]

– Discover the emotions that underlie. Normally constructive criticisms are made out of rationality and respect. This means they have a contained emotion. When critics overflow with emotions, chances are high they are a projection of one of these renegades “ego”. Therefore, the problem is not yours but of those who criticize you this way.

– Remember that a critic is only an opinion. Too many people are quick to criticize and love to hear themselves talk. In any case, remember that criticism is only an opinion, good or less like any other. In fact, chances are that the critic is based on a totally distorted image of you, without knowing you as a person or your story. Don’t forget that constructive criticism is based on understanding and builds bridges, destructive criticism is based on misconceptions and raises walls.

– Keep calm. Sometimes it’s hard to stay calm, but this is the best weapon we have for dealing with this type of criticism. If you lose control and let emotions flow, the poison of criticism will begin to enter you. So, try to keep a calm and rational attitude. Ask yourself if you can take advantage of this opinion in order to grow as a person and, if not, simply delete it from your mind. A good strategy to keep you from getting harmed is to identify the most absurd aspect. When we laugh off the things that happen to us we subtract emotional impact and, therefore, we can go on without major consequences on our emotional balance.[1]

We hope this post helps you to continue to create your own path to resilience while helping to develop the people you love.

The world is changing rapidly and some people didn’t get the memo and lack the motivation, tools and role models to evolve. That’s laid out here:

Old school to the left, today and tomorrow to the right

Here’s a Resource on toxic habits to recognize in yourself and others.

What would you add to this guide to prepare to meet with a potentially difficult person?

[1] Don’t let others project onto you their fears, insecurities and prejudices:

By: Sherri Douville CEO & Board Member at Medigram, Inc.

CEO @Medigram Mobile Intelligence For Healthcare

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