Not all leaders are created equal. What’s more, just because a person is in a position of leadership doesn’t mean they belong there. This is a serious problem that many companies struggle with. They have a problem recognizing what a leader is. They will spend money and time on diagnostic tests, evaluations and assessments to help give them insight on an individual’s leadership ability but in reality, they only need to ask themselves one question: Does this individual produce results?
As John Maxwell said, “There is no success without a successor.” Leaders will help build other leaders which will drive your company forward. Toxic leaders, on the other hand, if left alone will eat away at your company’s culture and success. To identify toxic leaders, take a look at the following topics typical of a leader that will eat away at a company’s success.
Leadership without vision is destined to fail. A toxic leader doesn’t have a clear vision of which direction to lead his team in. It can be likened to the blind leading the blind. Without vision a toxic leader cannot rally his team around a common goal and motivate them to perform at their best.
A toxic leader without the discipline to lead himself cannot be relied on to lead others. Sure, it is easy enough to lead others if the individual is intelligent, likable and persuasive. But if they are lacking in integrity or ethics it will eventually come to light as they become victims of their own behavior. What’s worse, those they are supposed to be leading won’t be inspired to answer to any sort of discipline either.
True leaders are extremely aware of how much they don’t know. They don’t exhibit the know-it-all mentality that toxic leaders display. Real leaders are not intimidated by another’s experience or intelligence. Quite the opposite. They are eager to hear other ideas and learn from others. A toxic leader has no curiosity but a good leader will seek out and encourage the thoughts of others, particularly those on his team.
A toxic leader with a communication problem will quickly corrode the team concept. A poor leader doesn’t communicate a problem until the last minute, usually when a situation cannot be salvaged. They don’t see the value in constantly communicating goals and how the team is reaching them. Poor communicators are also bad listeners. They tend to ignore suggestions and complaints from those under them. Their figurative door is always closed.
A toxic leader doesn’t invest in his most valuable asset, his team. If not dealt with, the toxic leader will even drive his best employees out of the company. A good leader will build other leaders. He will look for avenues to help his team improve their skills. He will also look for ways to reward them for their success with bonuses, gifts, achievement awards, or time off.
Toxic leaders will eventually eat away at the success of your business. Good leaders, on the other hand, will build success and help others to succeed as well. They will also possess creative vision, communicate well, and invest in those they supervise.
Dennis Phoenix is a human resource specialist and writer. He writes on topics from productivity to employee satisfaction for Able Trophies, a supplier of crystal awards.