Toxic Leadership, HR and Challenges

UPDATE: When Employees Volunteer to Fight Toxicity

© PatAhern_AdVision

The subject of toxic leadership is endless. I owe this update to Pat Ahern of AdVision  who brought up the issue of team, leadership and toxicity. Thanks, Pat for reminding me of the importance of this subject. Incidentally, concurrent circumstances made me rethink about the leadership role in team growth. So, yes, toxic leadership can generate quite a toxic environment and harm team spirit in one way or another. As managers become enablers of resistance to change for fear of losing long-time employees, they have a tendency to become irrelevant themselves. Relevancy is not measured by tenure. It is about adaptability, agility, understanding of changed and evolving principles, practices and needs. As a side note, could irrelevancy also be linked to subordination? The terms that define subordination status could certainly impact leadership relevancy. In a way, one can be only as good as he/she is allowed to be. When it comes to leadership I think that not only self-relevancy but also adequacy of interventions matter. My article referring to Netflix and its approach to transformation reminds us that sometimes different steps are needed to move along and bring about change if capacities or mindsets become irrelevant. On the bright side, when employees come to you and voluntarily commit to fight negativity and toxicity in the workplace in your support, it tells you three things:
  1. You have an engaged, and potentially successful employee. You also have a team player. Think talent pipeline and succession planning. 
  2. You must have done something right. So, keep on building your strengths and don't be deterred by internal partners who cannot overcome old managerial practices. If you are the HRM, think coaching , and coaching. If it does not work, then maybe time to reassess?
  3.  Feel free to move forward, however it could be in your case. Break through!

© 2014 AR_HRCom_WorkLife

Toxic leadership does exist. It is often due to lack of training or experience, or all too simply office/organization politics.

Personality could also matter, but more important is the ability to handle people and situations in the correct fashion. One cannot blame company culture for toxic leadership although many employees would see it as such.

All too often, leaders are part of the managerial team, or lead the managerial team. If you have the time, you may listen to this enlightening video of Marcus Buckingham on team performance and strengths (Highly recommended if you are in the service industry). And team performance depends not on the organization but on the unit, which unit is led by some leader. That's when we can be facing various outcomes, and maybe problems. That's when we come to talk about toxicity, which inhibits people's strengths.

SHRM Marcus Buckingham on Leadership 


Marcus Buckingham
Marcus Buckingham
Marcus Buckingham
Marcus Buckingham
Unfortunately enough, ineffective leadership could "over-stay" in large companies because despite objective metrics criteria, they are able to manipulate metrics or their interpretation. Toxic leadership knows how to scapegoat, survival oblige. Sadly, in smaller organizations, there is often a certain sense or "obligation" of loyalty that delays any separation. Consequently, toxic leadership prevails and can be seriously detrimental to business operations.

HR and Toxic Leaders

How should we deal with leaders who fail at managing?  It is not always easy. HR can be blamed for "partnering" with toxic leaders.

SO   WHAT   NOW ? Again, a proactive approach is the best one. The Global Leadership Forecast 2014-2015 survey has gathered responses from over 13,000 leaders,  1,500 global HR executives and 2,000 organizations from 48 countries and 32 industry groups. Impressive pool!

Here you will find about the proactive role of HR in the matter, from partner to anticipator.
According to the survey, today's HR has three distinctives faces: 22% Reactor, 60% Partner, and 18% Anticipator.

Have you witnessed toxic leadership? And what face of today's HR are you? Time for reflection?

En Synthèse... 

Des leaders toxiques. Un environnement toxique. Qui peut encore supporter cela? Merci bien, trop peu pour moi diriez-vous.
Table Ronde
A tort ou à raison les RH peuvent être accusés de complicité avec les leaders toxiques. Souvent, parce que les employés voient les RH comme principaux responsables. Pourquoi ces RH ne font-ils rien? Qu'est-ce qu'ils attendent? Ne savent-ils pas ce qui se passe tous les jours? Oh! Ils ne sont là que pour les paperasses... (une autre vidéo si vous avez le temps: échanges avec des experts)
Les Leaders, les Filiales ce n'est pas la Compagnie
Eh bien voila! Ce vidéo de Marc Buckingham est un incontournable si l'on veut parler des possibles variations dans une même entreprise. Ce qui se passe dans les filiales, ce n'est pas l'entreprise, c'est l’équipe. Et qui est le "chef d’équipe"? C'est le patron, le leader de la filiale. Si le leader est toxique que se passe-t-il? En fin de compte, des tas de données RH sont en jeu dans le succès des équipes, des filiales. Cela tourne autour du leader.

Cette étude sur le "Global Leadership Forecast 2014-2015" est tout aussi révélatrice de l'importance du rôle des RH en matière de support au leadership. Plus de 13,000 leaders,  1,500  HR executives internationaux and 2,000 organisations éparpillés sur 48 pays et 32 industries ont participé. 

Alors, quel genre de RH êtes-vous? Celui de demain? Comment réagissez-vous face aux leaders toxiques?




  1. Your work is very simple art of work its really a helpful.
    Human capital research

    1. Toxic Leadership is present in many organizations. The best protection is awareness. Thank you for reading! You also can find me on twitter @AR_HRCom


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