Wednesday, January 08, 2014

How Not to Lead

How many toxic leaders have you been exposed to throughout your career?

I've experienced destructive leaders in both my military and civilian careers. It's a constant psychological battle when you encounter one on a daily basis and have to meet their insane and ever changing expectations. I first started reading about this topic after I worked under someone in the military who was borderline "toxic". And then I experienced another, and another. I most recently left a job where I worked for an individual who exemplified many of the traits of toxic leadership. They, and their habits, became easier to recognize over time. I'm happy to learn that the army is interested in this topic and is taking measures to stop this abusive form of leadership.

I highly recommend the book, "The Allure of Toxic Leaders" if you're struggling with this problem.

According to Army Doctrine Publication 6-22, "Toxic leadership is a combination of self-centered attitudes, motivations, and behaviors that have adverse effects on subordinates, the organization, and mission performance. This leader lacks concern for others and the climate of the organization, which leads to short- and long-term negative effects. The toxic leader operates with an inflated sense of self-worth and from acute self-interest. Toxic leaders consistently use dysfunctional behaviors to deceive, intimidate, coerce, or unfairly punish others to get what they want for themselves. The negative leader completes short-term requirements by operating at the bottom of the continuum of commitment, where followers respond to the positional power of their leader to fulfill requests. This may achieve results in the short term, but ignores the other leader competency categories of leads and develops. Prolonged use of negative leadership to influence followers undermines the followers' will, initiative, and potential and destroys unit morale." Read more...