About the Authors of The Toxic Boss Survival Guide

This site is an independent extension of the research, writing, and lessons learned from the new leadership book– The Toxic Boss Survival Guide.

The two things that the authors all have in common is that they are all senior faculty members at the Center for Creative Leadership and are all are toxic boss survivors. As Craig, Bill, and Pete say in the book:

We lived to tell about it, but we lacked some critical survival knowledge and tactics that would have helped us immeasurably. In our work at the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), we have met and worked with thousands of leaders and managers from around the world and from all kinds of companies, government organizations, nonprofits, and educational institutions. When the classes or training programs are done for the day, we often find ourselves sitting with the program participants somewhere having a drink. In this more relaxed setting and with the lubrication of 2.3 beers *, the discussion leaves behind any in-class formality and the participants, male and female, young and old, will regularly share that they currently work for, or have previously worked for, an asshole. Our program participants are not whiners, and they don’t fear challenges. Most are pros who have built a track record of success, and all of them have faced some degree of hardship over the course of their careers. And, for the most part, they have worked their way through the hardship by focusing on the issue, working harder, being flexible, and in the case of interpersonal conflict, working openly and honestly with the other person—to “work it out together.” But if you find yourself working for a truly toxic boss, none of that works. Toxicity isn’t cured with carefully crafted feedback or through some kind of a win-win scenario where everyone comes out a better person. The bar conversations invariably ended up as a nightmare saga ending with a survival story. What people really want, we discovered, is a toxic boss survival guide.

*According to a 2016 report from the American Nightlife Association, the average drinking session usually involves 2.3 drinks. (Don’t overthink this. It’s an average. Nobody you know leaves two-thirds of a beer on the table.)

Craig Chappelow

Craig Chappelow managed the Center for Creative Leadership’s 360-degree assessment line of business and has worked with client organizations in more than 20 countries.  He has published widely on leadership, including articles in The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, and Fast Company. A former biologist, Craig has held technical positions at National Starch and Chemical Company and Glidden Corporation and was a faculty member at Wake Forest University.  He holds a master’s degree from the University of Vermont and bachelor’s degree from MacMurray College where he was also a mediocre Division III basketball player.

Pete Ronayne

Pete Ronayne has been working in leadership development and executive education for almost 20 years, with an enduring focus on resilience and experiential learning. At CCL he manages several open enrollment programs and is a core member of CCL’s neuro-leadership team. Pete previously served as a dean and faculty member at the Federal Executive Institute and has been a faculty member at The University of Virginia, American Military University, and Mary Baldwin University. He did his undergraduate work at Georgetown University and holds a PhD from the University of Virginia.

Bill Adams

Bill Adams is a West Point graduate, former U.S. Army officer, and faculty member at West Point and Duke University.  Since joining CCL he co-founded and serves as the faculty lead for CCL’s government sector. Bill is an expert in leadership development, team building, and performance enhancement for all levels of organizations. He also has more than 11 years of experience in higher education teaching psychology, performance enhancement, and leadership. Bill holds a master’s in applied-experimental psychology from Virginia Tech.

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