The Army recently announced a major project to eliminate toxic leadership from the Army, as reported on NPR. Based on research, toxic leadership may have effects on morale, productivity, mental health, and potentially even suicides. The definition of toxic leader was added to the 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.”

I don’t believe toxic leadership is found only in the Army. Have you ever had a boss who exhibited toxic leadership? What did you do about it? Are there any techniques or ideas you can share about dealing with toxic leadership?

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