It’s been fairly well established that toxic people can be very damaging to a business. But having toxic leaders can be particularly devastating, and it can also be hard to spot them.
Many toxic managers initially improve sales figures and appear to be increasing the company’s profits because that’s their focus.
But the boost is often short-term and can have devastating consequences for worker morale, often leading to a high turnover of staff and demoralized employees who lack any commitment to their roles.
It’s important to identify bad management before it has too much of an impact on your staff.
There are a few key signs you can look out for:
1. Being Poor Teachers
A manager ought to show patience and kindness to new employee who is going to get their first impression of your company through their training experience.
So if the leader is sharp, belittling, or reluctant to explain things properly, they are probably not going to make the person comfortable.
A leader is often tasked with the responsibility of training new staff since they oversee departments and should have a grasp on what needs to be done in different areas.
An inability to empathize with others often indicates poor management and people skills.
You might need to look at training your leader to improve their ability to empathize, or you may need to dismiss them from their position of authority.
It’s true that nobody likes taking the blame. But if your leader never recognizes their own responsibility, this is a major red flag.
They oversee others, so if they can’t own up to their own mistakes, they may start trying to make others seem culpable to save themselves.
This is one of the quickest ways to ensure morale falls and can often encourage other employees to behave similarly.
Make sure you respond quickly to blame-passing and explicitly demonstrate it’s not acceptable.
3. Refusing to Listen
One of the most crucial skills for good leadership is being able to listen. Managers who can’t listen will be unable to effectively respond to problems in the workplace, and won’t be able to address issues when they arise.
Failure to listen also often points to a level of arrogance, which may lead managers to undermine their colleagues and refuse to take on board criticism, even from their own superiors.
If you feel your manager isn’t listening to their team, express this to them. And if they aren’t listening to you either, it may be time to let them go.
4. Ridicules Others
Your leader should not make personal remarks or mock other employees. This will discourage cooperation and trust in the workplace and will quickly alienate your staff from each other and your company.
Leaders ought to resolve conflicts and encourage their staff, boosting their confidence and energizing them with encouragement. Disrespect is never excusable and should be a significant warning sign.
If you’re getting concerned about one of your managers, think about how to address the issue before you just dismiss them. It might be that just talking to them about it is enough, or it may be that you need to improve your company training on toxicity.
If it’s only one of these areas in which your leader struggles in, see if you can help them understand why their behavior is damaging and encourage them to address it.
Make sure your other staff feels comfortable calling out their manager if there is a problem.
Whatever you do, don’t ignore managerial toxicity, or you risk your company’s survival.
How Can You Spot Toxic Leaders?
If you have ideas you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!
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There are two other characteristics of a toxic leader I have experienced:
1. Undermining employees – criticizing employees in the presence of the whole staff
2. Deliberately hitting on the weakness of a staff member hoping that the member will react verbally to the abuse.