Are You A Toxic Leader?

You’re probably better than most, maybe better than everyone you work with. Right…

Chances are you’re toxic. If people are smart they will find ways to not work with you. How can you spot if you’re toxic, and what can you do about it?

  1. You’re too good for your job. You may be actually overqualified, but that will never make you “too good” for the job that you have. If so, leave… quit… go somewhere where you’re among peers. Of course you won’t. You’re too fearful to take that risk and you love the ego-boosting aspect of being overqualified and telling everyone about it. Instead, reflect on two things: 1) If you are over qualified what is keeping you from moving forward with a job/role that may challenge you more?, and 2) Why do you need for others to know (or think) that you’re overqualified?
  2. Nothing is your fault. You deflect blame like a lightsaber deflects attacks. You avoid taking any responsibility in conflict and aren’t accountable for your actions. This keeps you from growing and maturing because without learning from mistakes you fail to gain insight on what to do next time. You will continue to repeat the same mistakes over and over. Instead, the next time you get defensive reflect on the details of the current situation and what you’re really afraid might happen. Will you look bad? Will this hurt your reputation? Chances are your fear is based on your filters, not the filters of others. Others appreciate and respect an accountable person.
  3. No one else is as great as you. Sure, there are a few people you may find smarter (better, more attractive, or whatever) but you find something critical about almost everyone. Heck, you don’t even have to know them to find their obvious flaws. This glass ego of yours will only serve to inhibit your own growth and happiness. Instead, before you open your mouth and share your criticism, consider why you find this person (or thing) offensive. If it’s based on facts, consider the value in sharing the information. If it’s based on your subjective scrutiny, look to what it fills inside yourself. If you’re generally negative you might find positive people “annoying” or “dim witted” etc. Instead of looking for faults in others, try looking for ways to increase your own happiness and success in life.
  4. You’re right, always. Which usually means you cannot communicate, cannot empathize, and cannot see the long-term damage of your short-sighted decision. Honestly, you’re not a leader, but you may be in a leadership role. This is the most toxic trait you have. This will have daily impacts on your productivity, your overall success, your stress level, your satisfaction, and your team. Communication is key. It requires empathy and reflection. Success requires effective communication, planning, and action. If you’re always right you will continue to hit the biggest and baddest wall of them all, your own ignorance. Break that wall down now.

Toxic behaviors keep you from true happiness and emotional maturity. Stop spending energy where there is no value, instead spend it on actions and thoughts that make you feel love, peace, and accomplishment. If what you’re about to do, or say, won’t bring you this then don’t do it, don’t think it, don’t say it.

Leaders have the obligation to work on their toxic behaviors, but I also believe everyone has the responsibility to work on them too. You interact with people, peers, co-workers, loved ones. You influence people in ways you might not even realize. Toxicity hurts our culture, and it absolutely cripples you. Assess and reflect daily. Self-awareness is step one, but taking action in furtherance of emotional maturity is what matters. 

Have questions? Feel free to contact me. And, if you’re interested in working with me, check out my coaching program.

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