8 Toxic Leadership Methods to Avoid (And What to Do Instead)

Aaron Vick - 5 Toxic Leadership Methods to Avoid (And What to Do Instead)

Aaron Vick - 5 Toxic Leadership Methods to Avoid (And What to Do Instead)

Toxic leadership can destroy the morale of your employees and lead to the downfall of your organization. Here are 5 methods to avoid and what to do instead.

Are your employees quitting in herds? You may be feeling frustrated by what appears to be their lack of commitment and loyalty. But it may be time to evaluate exactly what is causing your employees to walk out the door.

There are dozens of reasons why people leave their jobs, including low pay, lack of benefits, and a poor work environment. However, about 50% of employees admit that they quit a job because of their boss.

Employee retention is important to any company. So, how can you keep them around longer? Well, by identifying toxic leadership qualities, you can evaluate your leaders and see which ones might be causing the high employee turnover rates.

Don’t know what to look for? Keep reading to learn about 5 toxic leadership methods that you should avoid and what to do instead.

Harassing Lower Level Employees

Yes, we’ve all seen movies with the evil boss who seems to take pleasure in screaming at their employees. This is perhaps the most obvious toxic leadership technique. While we’d all like to pretend that this only happens in movies, the truth is that it happens more often than you’d think.

Screaming and harassing lower-level employees causes tension in the workplace. This leadership mindset typically revolves around the idea that fear will make your employees work harder. However, all it does is create unhappy workers, and unhappy workers are 12% less productive than happy workers.

Harassing employees whenever a mistake is made or a goal isn’t met will do more harm than just lower productivity. Your employees will also be afraid to come to their leaders with questions or problems which can result in further work delays, trying to cover up issues, and unsatisfactory work.

Instead, your leaders should be more relaxed when talking to employees. They are there to help, after all. If an employee makes a mistake, it should be dealt with in a professional and respectable way.

They may be written up or given a verbal warning, but harassment and screaming will just drive good employees away.

Refusing to Listen to Feedback

It’s important to recognize that there is always room to improve – and that goes for everyone in your company. Toxic leaders sometimes refuse to acknowledge this fact.

If you notice your leaders aren’t listening to feedback from you, your customers, or your other employees, then that’s a big sign of toxic leadership. If your employees are constantly telling your or your managers that something isn’t working – listen to them.

There is probably a better and more efficient way to complete the task.

You should ensure that your leaders know that they should never stop learning. Listening to the ideas, complaints, and critiques of others can go a long way and help your company improve.

While leadership certainly should be the one calling the final shots, it’s important that your employees feel heard. Setting up a suggestion box or hosting weekly meetings where managers ask for suggestions can be a great way to get the ball rolling.

Inconsistent Behaviors

Your company leaders should function as role models. They should be someone who your employees can look up to and trust. However, managers who demonstrate inconsistent behaviors make for bad role models.

Leaders who don’t always follow the rules can become untrustworthy, and your employees will become frustrated that the rules don’t seem to apply to them.

You should make sure that leaders are held to the same standard as employees. Be sure to reprimand leaders who break the rules accordingly.

Leaders who are constantly changing policies at the drop of the hat can also be toxic. Your employees may feel overwhelmed and confused while trying to keep up with these mysterious policy updates.

The good news is that proper communication for leadership is a skill that can be learned. Make sure any changes are employed with open and honest communication where employees can feel free to ask questions.

Using People to Get Ahead

Using people to get ahead can be a very toxic leadership mindset. We’ve all heard stories where the dedicated employee worked overtime to complete a project just to have all the credit snatched away by their leader.

Your employees will notice when their leader is doing this and will think of them as being selfish. This may make your employees feel unmotivated to accomplish top-notch work.

When doing a leadership style assessment, ask your managers questions about their moral code and the need to succeed. Managers should want their employees to succeed. In fact, they should be a mentor to them! The best teams are those who can trust each other to work together.

Not Recognizing Good and Bad Work

Part of a leader’s job is to make sure their employees stay on the right track. Evaluating and recognizing both good and bad work is important to keep the company running smoothly.

Employees who get away with breaking the rules or submitting bad work will just continue to do so. This habit can tend to create a domino effect. Other employees may start to do the same if they notice that there are no consequences.

Instead, you should be sure to appropriately reprimand your employees in a quick and professional manner.

One of the biggest lessons on leadership is to make sure you are recognizing good work too. Employees who work hard and don’t get any recognition sometimes feel unvalued and unimportant. This may lead to them becoming unmotivated and likely not working as hard.

Instead, be sure to reward good work. Keep track of which employees are going above and beyond. Assign them to the best projects and consider them for raises and promotions. This will make your good employees feel appreciated and motivate others to work harder.

How to Stop Toxic Leadership

Toxic leadership can be a driving force behind high employee turnover rates. If you want to keep your employees happy and working hard, a leadership style assessment may help.

Be on the lookout for leaders who harass others, refuse to listen to feedback, have inconsistent behaviors, use people to get ahead, and fail to notice both good and bad work.

Remember that good leadership is a skill that can be learned. Encourage your leaders to be fair, open to new ideas, stick with the rules, help employees succeed, reward good work, and properly discipline those who submit unacceptable work.

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