Toxic Leadership


We have focused on leadership and the key attributes of great leaders so far this week.  Today we will look at the worst type of leader and raise your awareness to the behaviors of insecure leaders.

For many of us that have been in the workforce for a few years, we have experienced many different types of leaders.  There are those that are inspirational, motivating, thoughtful, mentors and unafraid to build great teams with people that are more skilled then them in many areas.  Then there are leaders that do not belong in a position of leadership – Insecure leaders.

Insecure leaders are dangers. Dictionary.com shows the reason why these leaders can be dangerous. Insecurity is defined as being, “subject to fear & doubt, anxious, a risk & danger, and not firmly or reliably placed.” When insecurity is present in a leaders life it becomes a cap to their influence and effectiveness. It hurts the people around them, and the organization.

Insecure leaders are highly threatened by the truth, by facts, by transparency and by honesty.  In order to protect their lofty, undeserved positions of power, they campaign against talented people that pose a threat to their positions.  They lie, they commit to tasks that they never deliver upon, they mislead co-workers, they fail to communicate, they miss deadlines, they undermine all positive things and worst of all, they are toxic to the companies they work for, creating environments of distrust and ineffectiveness.  They make excuses about every deadline they miss or every project they fail to do because they say “I was too  busy”, “I have too many other things to do”, “I did not understand the process”, or “I don’t care about the process, I just needed to get something done”.  Of course, all that means is that the people that know how to get it done right will now have to fix it, wasting much more time and creating both employee and client dissatisfaction.

Insecure leaders like to distract employees and business partners by focusing on tasks that are not important or do not create customer or employee benefit/value.  They want to find that one nugget of information that substantiates their beliefs so they can use it to their advantage and create a hostile environment.  This is how they maintain control.  This “rope a dope” technique of focusing people on unimportant, irrelevant topics is part of their modus operandi to distract their co-workers from focusing on their leadership and managerial inadequacies.  They are the masters of publicly agreeing to key strategies in meetings with their bosses, only to undermine these decisions in conversations with their subordinates.  You might hear a statement like, “Although this was the agreed to decision, it will never work”, or “This is what I committed to, but let’s do it this way.” Have you heard any of these before?

A leader who is insecure cannot successfully lead those around them. This is because their actions, attitude, and motives are controlled and driven by their personal insecurity. Below are some negative characteristics and unhealthy aspects of an insecure leader:

  • They control people, systems, polices, and are micro managers.
  • They avoid partnering or hiring smart, talented, and people better then themselves.
  • They create an insecure work environment.
  • They avoid moving outside of their comfort zone.
  • They resist personal, organizational, or team growth or change.
  • They avoid calculated risks because of the fear of failure.
  • They don’t encourage or empower their people.
  • They guard against building open and strong relationships.
  • They see others through their insecurity.

Great leaders and great companies identify this type of leader immediately and take action.  The behaviors are painfully obvious.  Great companies rid themselves of these insecure leaders and more importantly, stop hiring people with these traits.  Great leaders do not listen to these insecure leaders, they do not fall for their unhealthy charm or their “opinions” of other co-workers that are threatening to their existence.  Insecure leaders do not care about the company or their co-workers.  They only care about themselves, their careers and feeding their egos at the expense of others.

No person or leader, however good they might be, is exempt from potentially becoming or being insecure. This is why it’s essential to be able to identify and eliminate insecurity from our life. To do this I suggest:

Lead yourself – The most important person you can lead is yourself.  An important aspect to leading is to become self aware. This mean you are aware and comfortable with your strengths, weaknesses, personality, temperament, and emotions. You know you have been uniquely made and you accept it. A powerful way to avoid insecurity is to be aware and have control of your inwards thoughts and dialog.

Develop trusted relationships- The people in your inner circle will either lead you forward or hold you back. This is why it’s essential to build friendships with secure, positive, and confident people. When you have trusted relationships, those people can help you spot areas you need to change (Insecurity is one area) and be a support for you.

Do you know any leaders like this?  If you do, call your CEO now and tell them.

Webman

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