Based on my experience in a number of industries and with a variety of bosses, I have identified five characteristics that differentiate great organizational leaders from “toxic” leaders. “Toxic,” refers to the very worst of leaders, those who destroy the value of the company and the spirit of its employees. The great leaders are those who are:
• Ethical: Just, Upright, Honest, Open, Straight Forward, Honorable
• Credible: Forward Looking, Inspiring, Visionary
• Politically Astute: Knowing how to build coalitions and make compromises so that groups with disparate goals will work together toward a common goal
• Competent: Combining education, experience and skills that tell followers that this person knows what they are doing.
• Concerned for Organization vs. Concerned for Self
What makes “toxic” leaders so dangerous is that often they share some of those same characteristics!
Extremely unethical and amoral, credible in beginning but lacked credibility in the end, very politically astute, very competent, could even be visionary and charismatic.
Narcissistic and self-centered, unethical, not credible, politically astute, sometimes competent, many times not competent, not visionary or charismatic,average leaders,
ethical for the most part, some credibility, sometimes too focused on their own self-interests, average competence and political skills, not visionary or charismatic.
Very ethical, credible, above-average competence, average political skills, sometimes visionary and charismatic.
Very ethical, extremely credible and competent, excellent political skills, visionary and charismatic.
This article discusses:
• The characteristics of great vs. toxic leaders.
• Warning signs if your current leader seems to be going down the toxic path.
• What to do about it, and how you can protect yourself.
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