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5 Toxic Leaders you should avoid

- By Shalini K, 04 January 2021 | 8 MIN READ


Leadership is not for everyone but at the same time leadership is a skill which can be acquired over the period of time with patience and persistence.

It is the willingness to inspire others that makes a leader. Leadership is not a designation or position where you pass orders or exhibit your power of position.  Nor money can make you a great leader.

When someone is in power or the key decision maker it’s very likely that her or she could easily fall into the trap of wrong leadership and still be in illusion that they are trending the right path.

While some are gifted with leadership skills, some train themselves to be great leaders with great perseverance and patience. What’s important is to understand the difference between toxic leadership and an inspiring one.  

Great leaders come with a grand vision to achieve greater good for all and in the process inspire others to follow their vision willingly for creating wonders and phenomenal achievements.

On the other side toxic leaders use their power and position for self serving goals and accomplishments.

You can identify a good leader and a toxic one from the source of their strength. A good leader’s strength lies in helping, inspiring others, and always for common good. Position is an opportunity for good leaders to help others, while a toxic leader depends on position or money or designation.

We are going to discuss 5 types of toxic leaders to be weary off. If you are working under a toxic leader, it’s time to make a change.

1. They use the power of their position or money

You might have heard the phrases “do what I say” or “I am the boss”. When your boss does not listen or pay attention to your point of view and coerces you for a job by using his position rather than logically guiding you, its time you realise that you are working under a toxic boss.

Good leaders never use their position to get things done at least in a normal situation or setting. It’s understandable when CEO of a company uses his position to upload something that they seriously believe in. Great leaders never use their position at every given opportunity.

A toxic leader can never lead or inspire a team using his power or position. Be wary of people you do not care to listen to your ideas or value your suggestions.

2. They have double standards

Take a keen look at the actions of leader rather than their words. A leader can use lofty words in any given situation but do they live up to what they have said. Toxic leaders do not believe in leading by example or showing the way. They do not see themselves as part of the team.

Toxic leaders do not believe in what they say. They just try to safe guard their interests by using words. What they say to others does not apply for them. They are discriminatory in their actions. They do not hesitate to show favouritism just for the sake of their ego.

Double standards are a common trait among poor leaders. They do not use the power of conviction to inspire people and they never practice what they preach. Pay close attention to the actions of your boss. His/her actions will tell everything you need to know about him or her. It’s time to move on if your boss shows explicit double standards.

3. Do not hesitate rewarding incompetence

It may seem as a surprise that toxic leaders do not blink an eye to reward or entertain incompetence. They refuse to appreciate well performing and deserved team members. And it may come at the cost of team morale.

Team spirit or rewarding competence does not find importance or significance in toxic leadership. It could partly because of own inadequacies and incompetent leadership. A competent leader would never hesitate to appreciate performance or encourage his/her team members. It’s not very surprising, bad leaders are always discriminatory.

A leader who does not appreciate your contribution to the company or team has to be avoided at any cost. Working under such leadership would affect your morale and lower your confidence.

4. Arrogance is their armour

Arrogance is the shield that incompetent leaders use to cover up their ignorance. A good leader is always willing to learn and share his wisdom with his peers and team members. Toxic leaders do not hesitate to just dismiss others out of sheer arrogance. They fall into the trap of thinking that they are always right.

They are not willing to be corrected or want to seek the truth. Toxic leaders are blissful in their ignorance. Most importantly they hate to be corrected by subordinates. To hide their fallacies bad leaders turn to arrogance.

 Toxic leaders can be quite boastful. Working with such leaders can be exhausting. You cannot share your ideas and thoughts. You will end up chasing unrealistic goals and projects which will leave you worn out.

5.  You cannot learn from them.

 Leadership is a great opportunity to inspire and help other. To make a difference in life of others and make this world a better place. Great leaders always strive to empower others. They take people under their wings and nurture new and young talent. They are always willing to give and share their wisdom.

On the contrary toxic leaders have nothing to share. Their whole purpose is self serving. They do not believe in mentoring others and making them future ready. Toxic leaders cannot build strong teams which can create amazing products or services. Soon they will make their employees or team feel stagnated.

Toxic leaders cannot inspire people to work their full potential. When constant learning is not a core philosophy of leadership sooner or later such teams and companies become irrelevant.  

A great competent leader is a guiding force in every one’s life. Knowingly or unknowingly if you end up working for a toxic leader it’s time to take a brave decision to move out of the shadows of such leaders.

You will not find any light at the end of the tunnel. Great leaders lead their team to the path of light and success. Finding a right leader is as much critical as finding a job. Be conscious of under whom you are working and make right choices about your career.



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