Recipe for Toxic Leadership


Leaders can make or break an organization.

Some of us have met toxic leaders. You know the ones– individuals in leadership positions that lack leadership skills, have low emotional intelligence, excel at politics, micro-manage, bully, leave things unclear, and take credit for other’s work. Sound familiar?

I worked with a client who was going through change. This is not unusual. What was different in this situation was the extent of dysfunction in the leadership team and the consequences of these traits.

The above word-cloud reflects a study that I conducted that included over 100 employees’ input from a variety of industries on factors that influence feeling valued at work. This specific word-cloud represents the data of what influenced employees to not feel valued.

The study’s overall findings were consistent with the interviews and the anonymous employee surveys conducted with this client. Lack of communication and integrity, blaming, lack of performance feedback, recognition, and clarity of expectations were their key themes — the very factors that create the recipe for toxic leadership and a demotivating under-performing environment where employees do not feel valued.

The experience with this client underscores the importance of the leadership role for the organization. Specifically, this leadership team caused low morale, anger, decreased business performance and customer service, increased turnover and employee issues, and increased legal costs.

To be successful and to be able to scale, organizations must focus on developing quality leaders and clear expectations. Leaders need the ability to create high-performing environments where employees feel connected to the mission of the business, are excited to perform at their best, and feel respected and valued. Organizations, where employees are connected, will have increased customer loyalty, productivity, and financial performance.

The success of an organization hinges on the quality of #leadership at all levels. Leadership is not only about having a great vision. Leaders also get things done and make things better through their people. Investing in developing high-quality leaders is worth the effort and the resources to position your organization to achieve its potential! 

Article originally published on LinkedIn


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