- Sabotage team performance thru public humiliation, demoralization, micromanagement, and turnover.
- Drain people of their emotional, mental, energy resources and the organization of time, human, and financial resources. They create waste.
- Distract workers from performing the mission by creating self-serving drama.
- Create conflict and polarize people and groups in order to maintain their position of power.
- Create confusion and suspicion through erratic and ambiguous behavior and discrediting experts who counter their perspective.
- Exercise power and control even if it means destroying the organization, the institution, and people’s careers, lives, and success.
- Have clear detrimental effects on organizational performance and finances.
- Erode the organization from within. They are a covert, insider threat.
Myths of Toxic Leaders
- Toxic leaders are overtly verbally abusive.
Actually, research indicates that
most toxic leaders demonstrate
passive hostility, using spin and
snide comments to belittle others.
They know how to operate under
the threshold of a clear violation.
- Toxic leaders are incompetent.
Actually, toxic leaders are often highly skilled in a few areas, which provide power and influence. They use their skills to create a co-dependent relationship with the organization. People often say, “We need him/her.”
- Toxic leaders are irritating but don’t cause any harm.
Actually, research indicates toxic leaders cause a great deal of harm. They not only bring negativity. They degrade individual and team performance, motivation, innovation, collaboration, and cohesion. They create a tax on the bottom line by wasting resources, time, finances, and team members as they manipulate for personal gain.
- Toxic leaders contribute a lot so we need to tolerate them.
Actually, although toxic leaders may contribute to the organization, the net result of their behavior is a tax. They always act for their own good. Organizations and members are better off not tolerating their abusive and disrespectful behavior.
Toxic leaders are not simply poor leaders, but are those who sabotage teams for personal gain. They have clear detrimental effects on performance.