You’ve probably heard the old adage that people don’t leave bad jobs—they leave bad bosses. Your style of leadership is important to every element of your team’s success. It’s up to you to create a culture of positivity and support, or one of intimidation and mistrust.
Toxic leadership happens at every level in every type of organization, leaving employees, teams and organizations demoralized and ineffective. It’s rarely intentional, and many leaders who practice toxic behaviors aren’t even aware of what they’re doing. Here are some of the top signs:
When you lead with arrogance. If your leadership is based on a sense of self-importance, it is likely causing negativity. Leadership is about advancing others, not promoting yourself.
When you lead with micromanagement. If you can’t trust your team, if you keep putting your fingerprints on everybody’s work, if you have a hard time letting go of the details, you’re likely engaged in micromanagement. And that means your team is almost certainly feeling undermined and uninspired—which, in turn, means they’re less effective and productive than they could be.
When you lead with unrealistic expectations. Demanding leaders are constantly asking for things that are unrealistic or even impossible. Getting people to stretch is good, but setting goals so high that they’re virtually impossible to reach results in a disengaged team.
When you lead with deficiencies. You may have the title, but that doesn’t mean you have all the answers—or even that you should. The best kind of leadership is being genuine enough to say, “I don’t know it all, but I surround myself with people who do.” Leadership means amplifying the strengths of others instead of insisting on the sound of your own voice.
When you lead with a temper. Emotionally unstable leadership is by nature toxic; a leader with anger problems creates an organizational culture that feels unsafe and uncomfortable. If you can’t manage your own emotions, it’s hard to persuade others to have faith in you. Your team can’t perform well if they’re walking on eggshells.
When you lead with insolence. If you’re rude to those who disagree with you or dismissive of those who express opinions that differ from your own, if you have a reputation for being intolerant of dissent, you’re likely to be inspiring contempt rather than excellence. Honest exchanges of ideas and opinion are an essential part of any functioning team, and without them your leadership can’t prosper.
Few leaders are entirely toxic, but too many have at least a streak of toxic behavior—and whatever the degree, it’s damaging to everyone involved. If you recognize even one of these signs in your own leadership, you need to make a change. Seek out a coach or mentor, or work with yourself and make a disciplined effort to become the kind of leader you can be proud of.
Lead from within: Awareness is key in leadership, and it’s the key to avoiding the kinds of toxic leadership that create a negative experience for yourself and those you lead.
#1 N A T I O N A L B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap
What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.
Additional Reading you might enjoy:
- 12 Successful Leadership Principles That Never Grow Old
- A Leadership Manifesto: A Guide To Greatness
- How to Succeed as A New Leader
- 12 of The Most Common Lies Leaders Tell Themselves
- 4 Proven Reasons Why Intuitive Leaders Make Great Leaders
- The One Quality Every Leader Needs To Succeed
- The Deception Trap of Leadership
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Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.