Donna Reade

Specializing in Consulting, Training, E-Commerce Solutions & Bookkeeping for QuickBooks Online

Toxic Business Leaders Defy Logic

You may not be able to tell at first but once you get a hint that you are working with a Toxic Business Leader run, run like the wind. No matter how hard you try you cannot fix them. No matter how much they say they want to learn the reality is they are using the Toxic behaviors to try to manipulate you. Gather the courage to just quietly and with dignity walk away.

Recently, I had to do this. It is not the first time I have worked with a Toxic Business Leader. My past experiences helped me recognize the Toxic behaviors and take control of my situation. One saying I always refer to is “The divorce is always present on the first date.” Perhaps I knew on the first day that something was amiss when the password to the owners laptop was …


You see, Toxic Business Leaders Defy Logic.
• They are blissfully unaware of the negative impact that they have on those around them.
• They derive satisfaction from creating chaos and pushing other people’s buttons.
• They create unnecessary complexity, strife and worst of all stress.

Stress is a formidable threat to your success—when stress gets out of control, your brain and your performance suffer.

Watch for these warning signs:

Toxic Business Leaders are often articulate, skilled socially and persuasive. They start out as largely healthy individuals but over time pressures and compromises degrade their integrity.

Toxic Business Leaders are “Masters of Manipulation” — of information and people. They choose what they will share, when, with whom and in what manner, manipulating the presentation of information. Through guilt, shame and threat of embarrassment, toxic business leaders manipulate those who work for them.

Toxic Business Leaders have no qualms about taking full responsibility for any success that occurs. Whether they have been involved or not, if the positive result occurs near their presence, they’ll proclaim the results are due to their superior vision, insight and efforts.

Toxic Business Leaders almost always relate to others in a condescending manner, except when they praise others in order to manipulate them. Smooth and socially suave in public, they reserve their condescension for workplace interactions.
Be forewarned: Do not challenge them in front of others. When they don’t feel appropriately respected, they tear down people they see as a threat to their authority.

Toxic Business Leaders may act like they care deeply about the organization’s cause and people. In fact, a toxic business leader can be a warm, engaging leader who comes across as caring greatly for others. Over time, their true persona becomes apparent to those around them. A toxic business leaders’ lack of authenticity becomes evident in other ways:
They don’t have the talents and skills they appeared to have.
• Their prior experience and education may turn out to be a sham.

Toxic Business Leaders rarely take responsibility for anything that goes wrong. They successfully attribute failure to others. They’re talented at rewriting history and coating themselves in Teflon, allowing nothing bad to stick.

Toxic Business Leaders tend to ignore issues that don’t help them look good. Issues crucial to the health of the organization, such as the financials, quality of service, cash flow, product quality, employee issues, etc., go unaddressed.

Rest assured that Toxic Business Leaders who use these behaviors in the world of work will eventually fail in leading others successfully — and will probably live a lonely life, as well.

3 Responses to Toxic Business Leaders Defy Logic

  1. Mike Drummond says:

    I’m glad I’ve never run into one of these! I think that if you’re good at your job, the things that appear on this list just wouldn’t be things that could happen. People want to be successful in their careers and a business as a whole wants to succeed. These things are difficult with someone actively working against that.

  2. Wally Barr says:

    One trait I have learned is when you are toxic and something goes wrong the first action taken is to find out who was at fault. It matters very little to solve the problem but they have to know who and how the mistake was made. They hide behind so we never make that mistake again but it is false.

  3. EndBullyingatWork says:

    A great article and v insightful. My instinct has been to try and encourage a change in behaviour but the reality is toxic people usually have a range of deep-seated personality disorders which laypeople are not qualified to deal with. One way is to highlight to the fact of how these behaviours are costing companies in financial and reputational terms, from the personal and emotional damage it causes.
    Eventually (hopefully) it will be deemed socially unacceptable to be an employer who encourages a toxic workplace/people. This article is part of that change. Thanks again