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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Chase

Going Soft On Toxic Leaders

We've all had them or seen them in action, and while their faces are different the consequences of toxic leaders are the same.


It was initially believed that the positive effects of such leadership would far outweigh the negative effects of good leadership. In fact, due to this misconception some boards continue to keep a toxic leader given their strong financial performance and ignoring their poor “soft skills or people skills.”


Regardless of the fact that keeping a toxic leader in place is detrimental in the long-term.

A fascinating insight coming from the US Military which sheds some light on why we need to step back and rethink some of the traditionally held beliefs of toxic leaders. Simon Sinek, a leading management consultant sums this up in the two minute video:


It would be hard to find a better example than Trust as an essential skill. Trust is something toxic leaders fail to engender into their teams and workplaces. While toxic leadership can negatively impact employee mental health, transformational leadership can have a positive effect. If coupled with a broadly cognitive diverse team can further compound the potential of trust based leadership to influence workplace outcomes. But without it, a toxic leader can manipulate and destroy the efficiency of a company and worst, without board members even being aware.


A recent article in Scientific American https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-best-way-to-boost-worker-mental-health-is-to-give-them-good-managers1/serves as a reminder of the profound influence of leadership on employee well-being. The added dimension of cognitive diversity emphasizes that leadership doesn't operate in a vacuum. By intertwining transformational leadership with cognitively diverse teams, organizations have the potential to not only enhance employee mental health and increase retention but also to cultivate an environment ripe for innovation, adaptability, and resilience.


A Glass Door survey found that companies will make a least one bad apple hire per year. Intertwining the transformational and essential skills of leadership with cognitively diverse teams, organizations will be more prepared for the adverse behaviors of toxic leaders by mitigating damage across the company culture.

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