A deception plan usually designed to give (often false) assurances that things are as they should be, but especially when they are not.  To advertise a service in the knowledge that it will not perform or deliver.  Usually spin is employed with the intention of attracting or holding the attention of the customer, or the organisations hierarchy (in the case of internal services delivered by a toxic manager or team).

To talk up achievements or plans in the knowledge they are false or part true, or achievable or not.  Usually for gain or narcisistic supply.

In uber cultures, spin can be employed for example to cover up abusive management, (See also Churn below) a lack of resources or determination, while still giving the appearance of capability.

(Some organisations have websites that advertising great services that they cannot hope to provide due to inability to recruit and retain appropriate human resources.  The NHS for example and many public sector organisations.)

Spinning up a project is a risky strategy especially when things go wrong.  The presence of spin “doctors” is a sure sign of organisational and individual dysfunction.

Four weeks after a major disaster,  the Kensington and Westminster Council is still advertising the benefits of the Grenfell Tower Restoration Project.  While nobody could have foreseen the disaster, the cladding which caught fire, ending so many lives was specifically mentioned as an enhancement, but tragically turned out not to be, bringing into doubt the integrity of the council.

Uber Culture

An over arching dysfunctional management culture.  See Uber

Goal Blocking

The prevention of achievement of individual personal or work goals.  Usually achieved by interference or disruption of day to day work or activities.

Usurp or Usury

In the context of Toxic Lives the act of taking over, usually illegally, the work or achievements of others.  Such an act may be “sanctioned” by dysfunctional or uber cultures.  It has relevance in social circles where the achievements of individuals are eroded or played down by toxic people for social gains.  When such behaviour gives rise to fear and or distress it may be viewed as stalking.


To talk down the experience and achievements of others to put a negative spin or bias on them.  In toxic situations usually to support goal blocking, usury and invalidate people.  Often this takes place out of earshot of the person being disparaged and with the purpose of destroying others confidence in them.

Challenge Support Model

According to various sources a model of human performance, used in management or leadership to determine the outcome when individual or group challenges are set.  It states categorically that performance will grow when the right amounts of support are available for the level of challenge over time.  It predicts several outcomes, the worst being Death when challenge is high and support is low.  When used appropriately this model promotes a happy motivated and balanced workforce.

When used inappropriately the model promotes toxicity by causing stress, creating an atmosphere of fear.  This can be achieved for example by setting goals and then blocking them, withholding or withdrawing information, funds and resources without addressing or modifying the level of challenge.  See also a view of Toxic Leadership here


Positive re-enforcement of a person or organisations image or capabilities.  In toxic situations a person may become deliberately invalidated, leading to an impact on his or her self esteem.

Abusive Supervision


The exclusion of an individual from an activity in order to limit his or her status and involvement.  In toxic workplaces for example, your place at a meeting with superior or junior personnel appropriate to your level i.e. who you need to facilitate and support your work, is instead consistently taken by another.  This allows them to appear as if they are doing your job for example and also take credit.  See also 


A management technique using 360 degree awareness of individual human characteristics to build teams of people that work together.  See Belbin

Burn Out

A mental and physical breakdown caused by exposure to toxic situations.  See Challenge Support Model above.

Constructive Dismissal

The termination of employment contract(s) or churn brought about by unfair means such as demanding productivity from unsupported unacknowledged, invalidated people waiting to be usurped by another colleague.


In an organisation, the rate of turnover of staff.  In uber cultures, a tool to create low income and therefore low challenge, low support jobs.  An atmosphere of fear is used to maintain productivity by treating people as disposable.

Call closure Culture

In call centres, when an operative has dealt with a call it is closed.  Operatives may earn bonuses or score on the number of calls they have dealt with (or closed).

Abnormal or premature call closure.  This occurs when:

  • Work is to be avoided or queued with the possibility of it being due to lack of resources, but alternatively to give priority to higher “value” customers.  (subject to abuse therefore).
  • The operative or service provider lacks the knowledge to support the customer.
  • A call or query expires after a set time
  • others.

How it works.  Customers or callers are fobbed off (possibly to another call handler) with a plausible excuse which is usually untrue.  The call is subsequently closed.

Dropped Calls

When the subject matter of the call or complaint is dropped without warning.

Copyright:  Toxic Lives 2017.