10 terrible traits of a toxic leader

Working for a bad boss increases your chances of a heart attack by 50%

10 terrible traits of a toxic leader

The old adage that people don’t leave companies, they leave managers, is as true as ever.

In the current COVID-riddled climate, leading with empathy and understanding is more important than ever before. Having said that, under such extreme stress and anxiety, management teams may have unravelled – leaving leaders feeling overwhelmed.

This is not an excuse to behave badly.

Read more: ‘Slow and steady’: Returning to work responsibly

Toxic leadership is a company cancer – it needs to be located and rooted out. Otherwise, left to fester, it can cause irreparable damage.

According to Inc, three quarters of employees claim that dealing with their boss is the worst part of their job.

Yet, sadly, it’s not as uncommon as we might hope. A report from Life Meets Work found that 56% of employees label their current manager as ‘toxic’. Worrying indeed when you consider that working for a bad leader increases the chances of having a heart attack by 50%.

Read more: COVID-19: Can you force employees to take the vaccine?

HRD pinpointed 10 signs that you’re working for a toxic leader and listed them below:

  1. They micromanage
  2. They play favourites with staff
  3. They refuse to be held accountable
  4. They never give praise
  5. They email at all hours of the day and night
  6. They lead by intimidation
  7. They place their own interests ahead of the company
  8. They don’t listen to new ideas
  9. They condone and reward bad behaviour
  10. They don’t communicate effectively

So, what’s to be done?

Well, the obvious answer would be to quit – but that’s not really helpful for the company and colleagues you’re leaving behind.

The first response to a toxic leader should be to approach your HR department. You may be nervous about raising concerns over a superior, however if their actions are beginning to hamper your mental wellbeing then it’s essential you make the call.

While toxicity isn’t technically illegal, when a leaders’ behaviour starts to verge on bullying, harassment or abuse it becomes a matter for the tribunal.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to support networks, either internally or externally, to help guide you through your options. 

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