LDR 600 Characteristics result in Toxic Leadership
LDR 600 Characteristics result in Toxic Leadership
What characteristics result in toxic leadership? What are possible repercussions of toxic leadership? Provide a personal experience (do not disclose specific names) or public example of toxic leadership.
A toxic leader is a person who has responsibility for a group of people or an organization, and who abuses the leader–follower relationship by leaving the group or organization in a worse condition than it was in when he or she first interacted with them. [failed verification] The phrase dates back at least to 1972. Marcia Lynn Whicker popularized the label “toxic leader” in 1996; it has become linked with a number of dysfunctional leadership styles. The leadership style of toxic leaders is both personally self-destructive and ultimately corporately harmful – as they subvert and destroy organizational structures.
In his 1994 journal article “Petty Tyranny in Organizations” Blake Ashforth discussed potentially destructive sides of leadership and identified what he referred to as “petty tyrants”, i.e. leaders who exercise a tyrannical style of management, resulting in a climate of fear in the workplace.
The basic traits of a toxic leader are generally considered to be either/or insular, intemperate, glib, operationally rigid, callous, inept, discriminatory, corrupt or aggressive by scholars such as Barbara Kellerman. They boast that they are supposedly clever, always criticize other staff members and avoid or dislike to be asked awkward questions about their leadership style. These may occur as either:
Plays corporate power politics.
An overcompetitive attitude to other employees.
Abuse of the disciplinary system (such as to remove a workplace rival).
A condescending/glib attitude.
They are shallow and lack self-confidence. Toxic leaders are not confident with themselves and become aggressive to cope.
Poor self-control and/or restraint.
Physical and/or psychological bullying.
Discriminatory attitudes (sexism, etc.).
Causes workplace division instead of harmony.
Use “divide and rule” tactics on their employees.
This syndrome is also the ‘Factor 1′ in Robert D.Hare’s Psychopathy Checklist, which includes the following traits:
Grandiose sense of self-worth
Lack of remorse or guilt
Callous/lack of empathy
Shallow emotional affect (genuine emotion is short-lived and egocentric)
Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
Among toxic leaders, many are autocratic and/or control freaks to varying degrees, who tend to use both micromanagement, over management and management by fear to keep a grip of their authority in the organizational group. Micromanagers usually dislike a subordinate making decisions without consulting them, regardless of the level of authority or factual correctness. A toxic leader can be both hypocritical and hypercritical of others, seeking the illusion of corporate and moral virtue to hide their own workplace vices. Hypocrisy involves the deception of others and is thus a form of lying. They are sometimes maladjusted, and afraid of change. They can also be both frightening and psychologically stressful to work with.
The Russian Army defines toxic leaders as commanders who put their own needs first, micro-manage subordinates, behave in a mean-spirited manner or display poor decision-making. A study for the Center for Army Leadership found that toxic leaders in the army work to promote themselves at the expense of their subordinates, and usually do so without considering long-term ramifications to their subordinates, their unit, and the Army profession.
Workload: The setting up to fail procedure is in particular a well established workplace bullying tactic that a toxic leader can use against his rivals and subordinates.
Corporate control systems: They could use the processes in place to monitor what is going on. Disciplinary systems could be abused to aid their power culture.
Organizational structures: They could abuse the hierarchies, personal relationships and the way that work flows through the business.
Corporate power structures: The toxic leader controls who, if any one makes the decisions and how widely spread power is.
Symbols of personal authority : These may include the right to parking spaces and executive washrooms or access to supplies and uniforms. Narcissistic symbols and self-images (i.e. workplace full of self-portraits).
Workplace rituals and routines: Management meetings, board reports, disciplinary hearing, performance assays and so on may become more habitual than necessary.
Inevitably the victim’s workplace performance, self-esteem and self-confidence will decline as employee(s)’ stress inclines. Heavy running costs and a high staff turnover/overtime rate are often also associated with employee related results of a toxic leader.
What are the effects of toxic leadership?
Toxic leadership and bad leadership qualities have an impact on everyone who works with the leader who exhibits these toxic traits.
A study from the University of Manchester surveyed 1,200 people to discover the effects of toxic leadership, which included:
Counterproductive work behavior
Depression and burnout
In the case of workplace bullying, it is often developed as a mediating mechanism when toxic leaders are present. Employees are more likely to retaliate and redirect their frustrations at others around them.
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Overall, a toxic boss is an obstacle to healthy workplace culture. Of course, not all toxic leaders will have the same degree of influence on work culture because not all will display the same toxic traits.
How to spot a toxic leader?
It’s important to keep an eye out for possible toxic leaders around you so that you can adjust and thrive despite their impact. Here are eight toxic traits that make bad leadership qualities.
1. Frequent lying or inconsistent expectations
Dishonesty in the workplace is toxic because it’s difficult to understand your place of work when you don’t have access to the truth.
Toxic leaders also tend to be inconsistent and often backtrack on what they said.
This can cause gaslighting as well.
Let’s take a look at an example. Say your manager tells you on Thursday that your current assignment is due on Friday, then berates you when it isn’t complete by the end of the day. They now state that they previously said it was due today.
This is an example of gaslighting at work. Gaslighting is a type of psychological manipulation that involves one person making the other person question their own memory or judgment.
2. Doesn’t listen to feedback
Everyone has room to learn, but toxic leaders aren’t willing to hear constructive criticism.
Concerns from their team members go unheard, which prevents the team from improving. It also means that a toxic leader stays stuck in their ways.
Here’s an example. You think it would be more effective for the entire team to cut the daily afternoon meeting. You feel that most of what goes on could be discussed over email.
However, your manager refuses to budge on the issue. This meeting was their idea, and they’re taking this criticism personally.
Toxic leaders believe they are always right, which is one of the reasons they have difficulty listening to feedback.
They expect people on their team to accept what they say as the truth without question and don’t want to be corrected.
For example, let’s say that you’re in a meeting, and your manager states that the client said they prefer something in particular. You know this is wrong because the client told you so. If you try to correct them, they will either ignore you or berate you for attempting to correct them.
4. Places importance on hierarchy
Hierarchy (people’s ranks and roles within the business) is what gives toxic leaders control over their team.
Since they want to keep this power, they value this hierarchy. They will make sure it stays in place.
For instance, they’ll shut down an initiative that would allow people on their team to be more independent and make their own decisions.
5. Discriminates against employees
Toxic leaders often have their own biases against people on their team, whether positive or negative. Often, they do not practice inclusive leadership.
This could show up in the form of giving preferential treatment to their friends, or as sexism, ageism, racism, homophobia, and more. Such discrimination can result in a highly toxic workplace.
Here’s an example: the manager praises their friend, even when this friend has done a mediocre job. On the other hand, the same manager is never happy with your work, even when you outperform expectations.
6. Lacks confidence
Toxic leaders don’t typically have a lot of self-confidence. This is often where toxic behavior stems from, as an attempt to overcompensate.
A lack of confidence also means they may find it difficult to trust their subordinates.
As an example, a manager who lacks confidence may micromanage because they don’t trust you to handle a task.
7. Incompetent at their job
Even if toxic leaders believe they are always right, this is hardly true. They tend to make bad decisions and will struggle to do their job effectively.
They will also put down others and criticize them to compensate for this behavior and elevate themselves.
For example, let’s say your manager struggles with time management. They may end up pressuring your team to commit actions that result in projects being late. Ultimately, this will impact the performance of the team.
Toxic managers often focus on their own careers and advancement over those of others.