How to Recognize the Presence of a Toxic Leader in Your Organization

How to Recognize the Presence of a Toxic Leader in Your Organization

By: Abraham Khoureis, Ph.D.

Introduction

A healthy, positive, efficient, and productive environment is not easily created. And when it exists, its success is attributed to the overall and collective efforts of the organization’s leadership style, traits and approaches.

Such positive and healthy environment can easily by disturbed, disrupted, and totally destroyed by the hiring, or ascending of a toxic leader to the helm of the leadership of the organization.

A Toxic Leader is defined as an individual in a leadership position with no vision or values, except his own, be it right or wrong.

If the ideal leader is known as a leader that inspires, and is concerned about his followers’ (employees, subordinates, staff) well-being, let it be known, the toxic leader does not care for others and his concerns are concentrated on himself or herself only.

Generally, the role of a successful leader is to align the organization’s vision with the efforts of its followers in order to achieve the objectives and goals of the organization. But, and since the toxic leader lacks empathy and no concerns for his followers are exhibited, the efforts of the followers will go unnoticed and their hard work will be noticeably unappreciated; thus, the disinterest of the followers to effectively produce any positive feedback and efficient results could easily be documented.

The disinterest of the followers will lead to a long-term negative effects on the work environment and the people operating within it. In such a negative work/political/social/personal environment the followers will feel their presence unwelcome and their hard work unappreciated, which in turn may lead to the followers’ low performance, and lack of interest in contributing to the success of the objectives of the organization.

Characteristics of a Toxic Leader

The attitudes of the toxic leader are mostly negative and are self-centered. Some of the characteristics and descriptions, which may make us recognize the presence of a toxic leader within our organizations are:

Arrogant;

Exaggerate the facts;

Stretch the truth;

Disruptive;

Narcissist;

Self-centered;

Respects no one;

Sexual predator: the behavior of grabbing them by the p***y is the norm;

Autocratic: feels as he is the deserving king and others are there to serve his needs;

Easily irritable, even by a tweet;

Fears change;

Has no confidence;

Trusts no one;

Incompetent;

Hierarchical;

Has a false pride;

Likes to exert his authority on others in order to feel personally satisfied;

Discriminatory;

Biased;

Racist: likes his own race and hates others;

Prejudice; and,

Sexist.

In conclusion, and briefly, the presence of a toxic leader at the helm of your organization will set the tone for the failure of your organization. And so, if such toxic individual was at the leadership helm of your own country, or, within the comfort of your own home. It is worthy to note that a toxic parent will cultivate the eventual existence of a toxic member of our society.