The most critical investment strategies for leaders is in people and relationships. Here are 10 things you can do to prevent and eliminate the toxic relationships that hold you back.


Over the years, I have learned some critical lessons around investments and have gained the experience and confidence to become successful in especially risky investments.

One of the most important investment leadership strategies I have learned though is about people and relationships. In life and leadership, you can only go so far without proper and balanced investments in emotional capital.

Lessons I learned in this area started in leadership and eventually, I had an ‘ah-ha’ moment and began carrying the same lessons over into my personal life. What an incredible difference that has made in my life!

It is just as important to know when to eliminate your investment to avoid unhealthy relationships. I call it ‘people hoarding’ – when people keep people around even though they know they are toxic for them.

We’ve all done it in both life and leadership. Sometimes it’s easier, but every time it will take its toll.

10. Surround Yourself with The Right People.

You are whom you surround yourself with!  If your core values and goals are not aligned, it just causes dysfunction, chaos and keeps the most unhealthy relationships in your life.

Remember, you only have so much emotional capital to give, so make sure you are investing it in the right people.

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Toxic and unhealthy relationships creep into both our personal and professional lives. Be aware of them.

9. Define Your Success.

Success (however you define it, and there are many definitions) only comes with taking a risk.

Surround yourself with people who will truly support you when you fail, because eventually, you will fail.

There is no shame in failure with a healthy relationship. Toxic relationships (and leadership) will support you – but to fail again.

Pay close attention to the actions of others when you do encounter failure.

It is a critical indicator of who to include in your very inner circle.

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Define what success is to you to avoid unhealthy relationships. The goals should be mutually beneficial on both sides.

8. Keep Perspective.

Keep those people close who give you the proper perspective and advice to mitigate the consequences of taking a risk.

unhealthy relationships keep perspective - keep those people close who give you the proper perspective and advice to mitigate the consequences of taking risk.
To be successful in work and life, taking a risk is required. Unhealthy relationships do not give you the perspective – or confidence – to take that required risk.

7. Attract Opposites.

Keep close those individuals who compensate for your deficits. Distance those people who sanctify your deficits.

We all have deficits. With the proper support, they should never hold you back.

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Toxic relationships will actively feed your deficits. Why? Your potential and success threaten them.

As humans, we naturally gravitate towards those that are ‘like us.’ That doesn’t allow for much growth and can actually feed into our deficits.

Attract opposites – those that you can learn from and grow and keep them close.

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Unhealthy relationships usually involve those that are not different enough from you. Avoid those that FEED your deficits.

6. Avoid the Complacent.

Keep those people close to you who build you up and want you to succeed.

Distance those who would see you fail or even be the slightest bit complacent about your success.

unhealthy relationships avoid the complacent kris fannin intelivate - keep those people close to you who build you up and truly want you to succeed. Distance those who would see you fail or are complacent about your success.
Eliminate those people that are complacent about your success and happiness. Those unhealthy relationships can be just as damaging as someone who is actively working against you.

5. Distance Emotional Drainers.

Keep those people close to you who increase your emotional capital.

Distance those who continually drain your emotional capital. Those who drain you leave you nothing to invest. You become ‘trapped’ in these unhealthy relationships.

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You know the ones. The people that always drain your emotional capital. The drainers among the most unhealthy relationships.

4. Invest Wisely to Avoid Toxic Relationships.

Spend your emotional capital wisely and mutually – emotional capital is not only finite, but it is also expensive!

If you do not invest it properly, you will lose the people that you need to be successful, happy and healthy. Only the toxic relationships remain.

That will not turn out in your favor.

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Emotional capital is expensive. Investing in unhealthy relationships means you are neglecting the relationships that you need to be happy and succeed.

3. Focus on Quality Relationships – Not on Quantity.

If there is a persistent deficit in what you are investing versus what you are gaining, don’t invest as much emotional capital in the person.

Quality has nothing to do with frequency of contact and time spent. Proper measurement of your investments is quality over quantity. Some of the most unhealthy relationships involve constant contact, especially in corporate culture.

unhealthy relationships - quality over quantity - great relationships have nothing to do with frequency of contact and time spent. Proper measurement of your investments is quality over quantity.
Focus on the quality of person – including mutual goals and support – to avoid misaligned unhealthy relationships.

2. Listen to What You Need – Not What You Want.

Keep those people close who will tell you what you NEED to hear. Distance those people who say only what you WANT to hear.

By never heeding the former and only hearing the latter, you will never grow. Getting the information you NEED is especially critical as a leader. People in unhealthy relationships become fed by hearing only what they want – especially the controlling micromanager.

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eliminate unhealthy relationships hear what you need to hear not what you want to hear - life is short. let's do this - intelivate leadership strategy
Unhealthy relationships feed you what you ‘want’ to hear. That’s toxic and holds you back in both life and career.

1. Realize that Confrontation is Good and Necessary.

Confrontation gets a bad rap. Confrontation is the only way that relationships evolve and grow.

It does not mean ‘fighting.’ Confrontation is about compromising to meet the needs of both people in the relationship. It’s impossible to grow as a person – or a relationship – without conflict.

Confrontation is critical to sustainable, healthy and valuable relationships. All you need are some solid conflict management strategies.

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Confrontation is both useful and necessary for sustainable and healthy relationships.

Final Thoughts

Some of these have been extremely hard lessons to learn, but the hardest lessons are the most impactful in the overall scheme of life and career.

Relationships are key to your happiness and success in both life and career. Be sure to invest in the healthy ones and continuously look to eliminate the toxic relationships that inevitably keep you from being as happy and successful as you deserve to be!

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