Emerging Leaders Program

Emerging Leaders

ICLD 3.8 Toxic Leadership: Discussion Board

Instructor: Dr. Mitch
  1. Post a new discussion related to the topics covered in this module.  Your post needs to provide specific lessons learned with examples from this module helping you enhance your leadership capacity at work.
  2. After posting your discussion, review posts provided by other students in the class and reply to at least one of them. 


  • This module provided a lot of good information about the characteristics and outcomes of toxic leadership. I’m sure at some point we have all had to deal with a toxic leader and have experienced how draining and frustrating it can be as they are often quick to keep promoting. In the lecture, Instructor Randy Watt had some good advice for working with toxic leaders that I think are extremely relevant. First is to always stay committed to your values. This is sometimes not easy particularly in face of adversity, it requires mental resilience and courage, but your values will strengthen you and keep you going even when things are hard. Second, do not react to the toxic leader – they are bullies who are rewarded by the discomfort of others. Rewards and punishment are often used to change behavior, it is important not to reward their toxic behavior and give them what they are after or it will make it worse in the future. And third, keep your emotions in check. Emotions are the enemy of good decision making.

  • Toxic leadership is a real problem that can have a significant impact on organizations. When leaders exhibit toxic behaviors, it can create a negative work environment that lowers morale and can even lead to decreased productivity. Toxic leaders can be abusive, manipulative, and create a culture of fear and mistrust within their teams.

    One of the most significant impacts of toxic leadership is the effect it has on morale. When employees are subjected to constant negativity and criticism, it can lead to feelings of self-doubt, anxiety, and even depression. This can lead to a lack of motivation, decreased productivity, and high turnover rates. Additionally, toxic leaders can create a culture of fear, where employees feel unable to speak up or share their ideas for fear of retaliation.

    Toxic leadership can also have a significant impact on an organization’s bottom line. When employees are unhappy and unmotivated, it can lead to decreased productivity, lower quality work, and increased absenteeism. This can result in missed deadlines, lost revenue, and even damage to the organization’s reputation.

    In conclusion, toxic leadership is a real problem that can have a significant impact on organizations. It is essential for leaders to identify and address toxic behaviors to create a positive work environment that fosters productivity, innovation, and employee satisfaction. By doing so, organizations can improve their bottom line and create a culture that supports growth and success.

  • The Ted Talk on Destructive Leadership by Rhonda Martin was an interesting take on this topic. She discussed how for people to be a good leader, they must be a good follower first. It’s an interesting theory that I’ve never really given much thought. She points out that there’s hundreds of classes and courses (much like this one) to teach leadership skills/methods, but no one is teaching how to be a good follower. She points out that good followers should serve the mission/goals, participate in transformation, and have courage to speak up to leadership when things aren’t right. Team work is an essential skill in the ability of followers and should be developed.

    Regarding toxic leaders, they tend to be self-centered and only looking out for their “numbers” rather than the good of the people and the organization. It eventually will destroy any agency. Good employees leaving are the canary in the coal mine and only mediocre unhappy staff will remain.

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts on Rhonda Martin’s Ted Talk on Destructive Leadership. It’s great to see that you found the talk interesting and informative. Rhonda’s emphasis on being a good follower before being a good leader is indeed an exciting and thought-provoking theory. It’s true that teamwork is an essential skill for followers and should be developed.

      You’re right about toxic leaders being self-centered and only looking out for their “numbers.” Such leaders can cause a lot of damage to an organization, leading to the good employees leaving and only mediocre, unhappy staff remaining. It’s important to recognize and address such behavior before it causes any more harm.

    • I loved your analogy of good employees leaving being the canary in the coal mine. Unfortunately, as mentioned in the lecture, by the time the upper admins realize what is happening it is too late and the damage is done. It is very difficult to reverse this course once it is in full swing.

  • It is hard to believe that toxic leaders are in so many different organizations still today. These individuals can ruin morale, disrupt productivity and essentially sabotage the agency’s mission. Watt advised that there are three ways an individual needs ensure they survive a toxic leader. First, stay committed to your values. Second, do not react to the toxic leader and finally always keep your emotions in check (2017). I could see how this could be very difficult at times, however, it is imperative to ensure you don’t destroy your own career in the process.
    Watt, R. (2017). Toxic leaders. 3.8, Week # 11. National Command and Staff College. Retrieved from https://cloud.scorm.com/content/courses/NAGVXPB5E6/ToxicLeadershipcdf55361-7b5e-4ce5-b3c2-c54ed6c7aae1/3/index_lms.html

  • Toxic leadership tears down its employees and subordinates more than I can count on. I have witnessed it first hand. A new supervisor changed the way they treated us since taking a new role and forgot where he came from. They disrespected us and would look down on us like they didn’t start in the same position.

    • I have to agree that many leaders forget what it is like to be in that position and the demands of the job everyday. Another thing that bothers me is when they assume that you are doing something but they have never observed you. However, it shouldn’t be surprising as these leaders don’t care for their members and are not worried about the damage the cause.

    • It’s very unfortunate, but I’ve run into this as well. Some people just can’t handle power and should not be in management positions. It will ruin an organization from the inside out. When staff are always having to walk on egg shells with everything they do and are micromanaged, it’s hard to show up for work and want to do anymore than the bare minimum.

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