DOI: 10.2478/eras-2023-0012 ISSN: 2286-2552

About the Impact and Effects of Toxic Leadership on Employees and Organizations

Săcui Mihai Octavian


The concept of toxic leadership has emerged as a critical counterpoint to traditional leadership theories, particularly the Transformational Leadership Model. This model suggests that effective leaders are visionaries who develop and implement strategies to realize their vision while fostering the development and motivation of their teams. It emphasizes the positive and effective aspects of leadership, focusing on guiding organizations towards success in their current and future environments. However, this model has been critiqued for its lack of attention to the negative aspects of leadership. This critique has led to the development of the concept of toxic leadership, a taxonomy that includes a range of detrimental leadership behaviors. Some scholars categorize managerial incompetence as a form of toxic leadership, arguing that it undermines organizational agility and effectiveness. Incompetence in leadership roles can significantly impede an organization’s operational and strategic capabilities. More recent explorations of toxic leadership have focused on passive-aggressive behaviors, identifying them as prevalent in organizational settings. This perspective broadens the scope of toxic leadership to include not only overtly aggressive or illegal actions but also more covert forms of destructive behavior. Some definitions of toxic leadership extend to behaviors at national and pseudo-national levels, such as genocide. This expansion underscores the potential for leadership toxicity to manifest in various forms and at different scales, from individual organizations to broader societal structures. The discourse on toxic leadership serves as a vital lens for examining the complexities and potential pitfalls of leadership, highlighting the need for a more holistic understanding of leadership that includes both its positive and negative dimensions.

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