Destructive leadership is something we often talk about, but given how often destructive leaders show up in the news; it’s worth another look.
If we define leadership as the ability to build and/or maintain a high-performing team, then destructive leadership is behavior that undermines that team.
What do destructive leaders do? A destructive leader’s impact depends on his or her level in an organizational hierarchy.
First-line supervisors destroy teams by alienating subordinates through a series of destructive behaviors – bullying, harassing, exploiting, lying, betraying, and manipulating.
Mid-level leaders can destroy their teams by exhibiting the same behaviors listed for first-line leaders and by making bad tactical decisions – that is, through exercising bad judgment. Bad judgment negatively impact moral and erode subordinates’ trust.
Senior leaders can be the most destructive. In addition to the behaviors listed for first-line and mid-level leaders, senior leaders are responsible for making strategic decisions. Bad strategic decision-making can ruin teams, companies, and even countries.
For more information about destructive leadership, check out Dr. Robert Hogan’s recent Q&A.