This negative style of leadership may yield short-term results because employees comply with demands and direction out of fear. But it’s not effective in the long-term. In the long run, toxic leaders end up with stressed-out, unproductive employees and high turnover.
How do you spot bad leadership and avoid becoming a toxic leader yourself?
Michelle Meadows, director of the internal communications program at the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research’s Office of Communications and contributor to PR News' Book of Employee Communications Strategies & Tactics Vol. 5, provides us with five leadership practices to avoid.
- Intimidation: Aggressive behavior, abrasive language, a condescending tone and yelling never motivate anyone.
- Selfishness: Self-centered thinking leads to forgetting about what the team needs. It's hard to inspire and encourage others if your focus is on yourself.
- Jumping to conclusions: Making rash assumptions and blaming others without checking facts or getting all sides to a story creates unnecessary conflict.
- Unethical behavior: Lying, taking credit for other people's work and other unethical behavior destroys trust. Once trust is destroyed, it's hard to rebuild.
- Hypocrisy: This includes saying one thing and doing another or acting differently with different people. For example, leaders who show kindness and compassion only to people above them but not to subordinates will face a credibility problem.
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