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The Dark Side of Leadership (Toxic Leadership Behaviors and Their Impact)

Kirjoittanut: Frida Ateh - tiimistä Kaaos.

Esseen tyyppi: Blogiessee / 1 esseepistettä.

Frida Ateh
Esseen arvioitu lukuaika on 2 minuuttia.


Leadership is often considered a beacon guiding organizations to success. Toxic leadership refers to a style of leadership in which a leader engages in harmful behaviors that have detrimental effects on individuals, teams, and the overall organizational culture. This leadership style is characterized by actions that undermine the well-being, performance, and morale of those being led. Toxic leaders often prioritize their own interests, lack empathy, and create a negative and unhealthy work environment. 

Personal Qualities of Toxic Leader 

Lack of integrity that reveals leaders as cynical, corrupt, or untrustworthy 

  • insatiable ambition that prompts leaders to put their own sustained power, glory, and fortunes above their followers’ well-being;
  • Enormous egos that blind leaders to the shortcomings of their own character and thus limit their capacity for self-renewal; 
  • Arrogance that prevents toxic leaders from acknowledging their mistakes and, instead, leads to blaming others; 
  • Amorality that makes it nigh impossible for toxic leaders to discern right from wrong;
  • Avarice that drives leaders to put money and what money can buy at the top of their list.
  • Reckless disregard for the costs of their actions to others, as well as to themselves; • Cowardice that leads them to shrink from the difficult choices; and 
  • Failure both to understand the nature of relevant problems and to act competently and effectively in situations requiring leadership. Worst of all, perhaps, there are toxic leaders who combine several, or occasionally all, of these negative attributes and behaviors.

effects of toxic leadership 

Toxic leadership and bad leadership qualities have an impact on everyone who works with the leader who exhibits these toxic traits or behavior. Below are some of the effects 

  • Workplace bullying  
  • Counterproductive work behavior 
  • Job dissatisfaction 
  • Psychological distress 
  • Depression and burnout 


The impact of toxic leadership resonates far beyond the immediate circle of influence. According to Lipman-Blumen’s, work on toxic leadership provides a lens through which we can dissect destructive behaviors and their systemic consequences. Therefore, Organizations must be vigilant in identifying and addressing toxic leadership, recognizing that the dark side of leadership, which if left unchecked, will cast a long and ominous shadow over the future of the entire organization. 


Lipman-Blumen, J. (2005). Toxic Leadership: When Grand Illusions Masquerade as Noble Endeavors. Oxford University Press. 

The 8 Toxic Leadership Traits (and How to Spot Them) (betterup.com) 


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