Connect with us

Success Advice

The Dark Side of Success: How to Identify and Avoid Toxic Leaders

If you have a toxic manager on your hands, it could spell disaster for your company



Image Credit: Unsplash

Bad bosses may make good TV and movie villains. It’s true. But as an entrepreneur with dreams of success, you don’t want them to play starring roles in your company’s show. Unfortunately, many toxic leaders are also very crafty. If you’re not attuned to their subtle negativity, you might overlook problems and end up courting significant consequences.

As an entrepreneur, you know that your team is the backbone of your business. That’s why it is important to pay attention to the dynamics between your employees and their supervisors. If you have a toxic manager on your hands, it could spell disaster for your company. Professionals leaving their job due to a poor supervisor is not just a theoretical problem; many have left their jobs because they felt disrespected. 

Don’t let a toxic leader bring down your business. Keep an eye out for these warning signs and nip them in the bud before it’s too late. Trying to replace talent is challenging in any market. Additionally, if your startup has a reputation for being a difficult workplace, it will be harder to attract and keep top talent.

The good news is that it’s possible to spot early warning signs of toxic leadership in your midst. Just remember to look beyond the obvious. It’s a piece of cake to notice a firebrand who scares direct reports or someone who’s impolite, vulgar, or rude. Yet it’s also important to watch for the following low-level indicators of negativity among your executives and managers. That way, you can intervene quickly and either coach the coachable or let go of the irredeemable.

1. They Never Take Ownership Of Errors

The blame game is a real issue in many offices. That isn’t good if you have a director or supervisor who always points fingers. It means you can never get to the root of any problem so that it can be fixed.

Many bad leaders are good at blaming people who are unfavored or not well-known. For instance, a supervisor might blame errors on newer or younger employees. These employees may not understand how to speak up for themselves and maybe gaslighted into believing they are at fault. As a result, the toxic leader skirts any responsibility and the employee feels guilty for no reason. 

To avoid allowing this kind of behavior, practice total accountability. Start by making yourself the role model, so everyone knows that making mistakes is acceptable as long as you learn from them and try to avoid making the same mistake twice. Clear transparency is important in leadership, especially when things don’t go as planned. Leaders need to take responsibility for their actions and admit when they are wrong. This allows for a culture of trust and openness within the company.

“A leader is admired, a boss is feared.“

2. They Like To Play The Gossip Game

Gossiping negatively is a destructive behavior that can be especially harmful when it comes from a manager. Not only does it spread quickly and ruin reputations, but it also does a disservice to the company. Ironically, despite their negative impact, toxic managers who engage in gossip may be well-liked because they always seem to have the latest information.

It would help if you acted when you realized that you have a gossiper in a leadership role. Gossiping pits team members against each other and allows cliques to form. This can destroy a healthy corporate culture and cause rifts between people and departments. Eventually, the rifts will impact your work on behalf of clients or customers.

Gossip can be a destructive force in the workplace, but it’s challenging to stop it once it starts. Bring attention to the issue and suggest alternative behaviors, such as expressing gratitude and appreciation. Focusing on these positive emotions can help slow the spread of negativity and mistreatment in the office.

3. They Show Their Bias Against Particular Employees

As a leader, you’ll always have employees who are better performers than others. Typically, they’re your go-to team members for important projects and you hope they’ll stick around to be tomorrow’s leaders. Yet it would help if you did more than shower them with all your attention since that’s what bad bosses do.

A poor manager will focus all coaching and mentoring efforts on one or two favorite employees and ignore the rest. While this makes sense and is natural in one way, it alienates most of the team and prevents others from stretching their wings. That’s not good. Employees may initially have steeper learning curves but eventually become superstars with enough support.

Keep a close eye on your direct reports, who are your leaders. Do they bypass other employees for assignments, including smaller tasks that could serve as learning opportunities? You may have to intervene and insist that the work be completed more fairly. Ensure the leader doesn’t sabotage your request by withholding information to prove you wrong.

Toxicity has no place in your startup. It’s that simple. When you see it, put an end to it. Thanks to your diligence, your culture and your brand will be much better off.

Greg Walthour is co-CEO of Intero Digital, a 350-person digital marketing agency that offers comprehensive, results-driven marketing solutions. Greg has more than 20 years of experience directing paid media strategies, optimizing SEO, and building solutions-oriented content and PR. He leads a team of experts in web design and development, Amazon marketing, social media, video, and graphic design, and Greg has helped companies of all sizes succeed in the digital age.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Success Advice

The 2-Minute Rule: The Secret to Habit Success

By starting with a small, manageable task, it becomes much easier to build consistency



Image Credit: Unsplash

It’s a given fact that we all want to build habits, goals that we want to achieve, and things that we want to change in our lives. However, on the other side of the coin, it can be hard to sustain motivation and consistency.  (more…)

Continue Reading

Success Advice

20 Ways You Can Become a Powerful Communicator



Emile Steenveld Speaker and Coach

Some people seem to naturally know how to effectively communicate in a group setting. They can express themselves clearly and listen attentively without dominating the conversation.

Being a powerful communicator is important for several reasons, including building and maintaining relationships, achieving goals, resolving conflicts, improving productivity, leading and influencing others, advancing in your career, expressing yourself more confidently and authentically, and improving your mental and emotional well-being. Effective communication is an essential life skill that can benefit you in all aspects of your life.

But, don’t worry if you don’t naturally possess this skill, as effective communication is something that can be developed with practice, planning and preparation.

1.  Listen actively: Practice active listening by giving your full attention to the speaker and responding to what they are saying.


2. Use “I” statements: Speak from your own perspective and avoid placing blame or making accusations.


3. Avoid assumptions: Don’t make assumptions about what the other person is thinking or feeling.


4. Be clear: Express your thoughts and feelings clearly and concisely by getting to the point and avoid using jargon or overly complex language.


5. Show empathy: Show that you understand and care about the other person’s feelings.


6. Offer valuable insights: When speaking in a group, provide a valuable takeaway or actionable item that people can walk away with.


7. Be an active listener: Listen attentively and respond accordingly, incorporating your points into the conversation.


8. Choose the right time: Pick the most opportune time to speak to ensure that you have the group’s attention and can deliver your message without interruption.


9. Be the unifying voice: Step in and unify the group’s thoughts to calm down the discussion and insert your point effectively.


10. Keep responses concise: Keep responses short and to the point to show respect for others’ time.


11. Avoid unnecessary comments: Avoid commenting on everything and only speak when you have something important to say.


12. Cut the fluff: Avoid being long-winded and get straight to the point.


13. Prepare ahead of time: Sort out your points and practice them before speaking in a group.


14. Smile and be positive: Smile and nod along as others speak, to build a positive relationship and be respected when it’s your turn to speak.


15. Take responsibility: Take responsibility for your own actions and feelings.


16. Ask questions: Ask questions to clarify any confusion or misunderstandings.


17. Avoid interrupting: Allow the other person to finish speaking without interruption.


18. Practice active listening: Repeat what the other person said to ensure you have understood correctly.


19. Use your body language too: Use nonverbal cues such as eye contact, facial expressions, and body language to convey your message and build rapport.


20. Be aware of the tone of your voice: it should be calm and assertive, not aggressive or passive.


By keeping these tips in mind, you can improve your communication skills and become a more powerful communicator, which can help you build better relationships, achieve your goals, and lead a more fulfilling life.

I you want to learn how to become more confident in life then you can join my weekly mentorship calls and 40+ online workshops at so you can master your life with more success.

Continue Reading

Success Advice

Dead Men Tell No Tales: How to Navigate a Mutiny as a Leader in 10 Steps

You’re the manager. You’re the supervisor. You’re the leader. But maybe your people don’t see it that way



Image Credit: Unsplash

You’re the manager. You’re the supervisor. You’re the leader. But maybe your people don’t see it that way and perhaps that has created a divisive and adversarial working environment that makes it difficult for you to influence and inspire your team in a way that meets your vision. (more…)

Continue Reading

Success Advice

How to Think Like a CEO for Your Future Success

A blueprint for CEOs to draw a disciplined strategy



Image Credit: Unsplash

Strategic thinking helps CEOs build successful businesses. It helps them establish everlasting enterprises. It is one of the key elements of decision-making. It is different from strategic leadership. It differentiates between leaders from managers.  (more…)

Continue Reading