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Boss Whisperer and Workplace Detoxer. Jay levels up leaders and transforms teams with fresh, original training and coaching sessions.

Cool Mom Complex: A Cautionary Tale.

In my first leadership role, I learned a lot from my direct reports. I learned how to play drinking games. I learned how to mix a Bloody Mary. I even learned how to do a beer shot.

To shoot a brewski, you shake up your can, punch a hole in the side, then press your lips over the hole and let the carbonation do the rest. The beer rockets down your throat — or, in my case, out of your nose.

Getting drunk with my interns was fun until the day I had to scold them for the very drinking…

Real Problems. Real Solutions.

Three days before the publishing of this article, a director at a mid-sized technology firm used the methods outlined below to report her boss’ toxic behavior. Less than 24 hours later, she received this response from HR:

We take your allegations seriously. We will be hiring an outside investigator to handle this issue. In the meantime, please keep your mental and physical health as your main priority by staying home with full pay. Your boss has been informed to cease all communication with you. …


Rarely have I met a leader who actively decides to take credit for their team’s work. More often, leaders race through their day, choreographing input for presentations and projects, and never even think to mention which team members contributed what parts.

This oversight often results in unintended “credit theft” — taking credit for the hard work and good ideas generated by your team.

How does this accidental credit theft happen?

When you present the results and nod humbly as others say, “great idea,” without pointing to the team member who generated that idea, then you are committing credit theft.


…and 4 Other Reasons to Address Toxic Workplace Behavior Now.


“That ‘be kind’ bullshit only happens when the cameras are on,” one former employee of the Ellen DeGeneres show told BuzzFeed News. “I know they give money to people and help them out, but it’s for show.”

Reading Buzzfeed’s 45-paragraph expose about toxic behavior on Ellen gave me a literal buzz. I got excited — not by the toxicity, of course, but by the learning moment this travesty would provide.

With pen and paper in hand, I scoured the Twitter posts that prompted this backlash. I just knew there would be tales of managers throwing fits…

…and I will be telling this with a sigh…

Because the bully boss I’m referring to is yours truly, Jay Guilford. And just how bad were my bullying crimes? Well, I’ll describe my behavior and let you be the judge.

I once made an employee cry in an onboarding session that I was leading. I once yelled at a colleague that he “…hadn’t done $%#! to help me and my team.” I often told my direct reports, “I don’t really care about your feelings, I just need you to do your job.”

With all of this toxic behavior, I should not have been surprised when reviews from my employees…

James "Jay" Guilford

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