Monday, January 13, 2014

The Cost of Toxic Leadership

Detoxifying a Toxic Leader 
by Krista Henley, M.A., LMFT

As an esteemed colleague once said, “consider the red ink.” Red ink is the cost that quickly adds up when a leader (or manager) in your organization has such poor behavior and soft skills (the skills that build rapport and relationships in an environment of respect), that he or she creates a toxic environment. For example, a toxic leader may bark out orders without respect for the receiver, or present unpredictable moods that keep employees afraid and vigilant. The red ink flows when time, productivity, and spirit are drained slowly out of individuals who encounter these tough leadership and management styles.

If you consider the lost contributions never made by dispirited employees, plus the time spent overcompensating for and commiserating about the difficult leader, the costs are clear. In addition to the soft losses, you can price out the wasted time in terms of each person’s salary, and quickly you see enormous hard-dollar figures that become interpersonal red ink. What’s worse, you stand to lose high-value talent because of difficult management styles or a leader’s sloppy interpersonal behavior.

The purpose of this article is to detail simple actions to place toxic leaders – the cause of those red ink problems – onto a path toward healing, before their relationships with their staff and peers are permanently crippled by the negative impact of their poor leadership skills.
Krista Henley’s company, Inside-Out Communications, specializes in customized executive and team leadership coaching programs (

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