Toxic leadership is the more difficult to spot because at first look such leaders come across as intelligent and very performance oriented. They project an attitude of confidence. On the job, they are often to be seen ordering, commanding, rushing around, their reprimands, praises, communications very public and visible; and their presence very much felt. They may not always be loud though. A toxic leader may be soft spoken and quiet too. But loud or not toxic leaders display a common characteristic. With the boss they are compliant. A toxic leader will never argue with the boss. They are the “yes bossers”, the essential “babus” the ones who are always assuring the boss “the job will be done.”
There is always a higher rate of attrition in an organization, with such a leader. Moreover, toxic leaders in the long run do not engender the level of confidence in their team that is necessary to lead to an esprit de corps. The team becomes dysfunctional because the members will seek every excuse to escape either out of the team or if that is not possible out of the organization itself.
An organization would do well to be on the watch for tell tale signs which betray the presence of a toxic leader-a general sense of dissatisfaction among the team members, a tendency for the more intelligent to leave the organization, a reluctance among the team members to speak out freely, signs of fear. The best way to spot toxic leadership is to get the team assessed by an independent manager. Invariably the team members whose qualities have been played down by the toxic leader will turn up trumps.