How Toxic Leaders Destroy People as Well as Organisations by Theo Veldsman is a sobering but excellent read that precisely and damningly describes and condemns the effects that toxic leaders have on their employees and organisations.
An interesting piece of trivia in this article is that
“The word ‘toxic’ comes from the Greek ‘toxikon’ which means ‘arrow poison’. In a literal sense, the term in its original form thus means to kill (poison) in a targeted way (arrow).”
Which means that ‘toxic’ is indeed the perfect word to describe leaders who use abuse their power in order to increase it:
“Toxic organisations and leaders therefore are those who deliberately destroy the fabric of the institution.”
Read this article if you are after an emphatic description of how toxic leadership works and what its effects are. If you yourself have been exposed to toxic leadership, and too many of us have been, then best read this when your blood pressure is nicely under control.
If Veldsman’s article induces a bout of teeth grinding and white knuckle fury then read Simon Terry’s The Life-crushing Magic of Hierarchy, which is pretty much about the same thing as Veldsman’s piece except that it’s very funny and will make you laugh. A mock advice column, it absolutely skewers the nasty behaviours and thoughts of toxic leaders:
“Humans are inherently messy creatures. We accumulate history and the entanglements of human relationships and emotions. As a manager this human mess can interfere with the joy of the unrelenting execution of your will. A cluttered organisation shows no respect to a manager’s inherent expertise and power.
My life as a manager was transformed when I discovered the life-crushing magic of hierarchy. Your life and organisation can be neat and orderly, if you follow these simple organisational principles.”
Do you think, though, that if a toxic leader were to read this they would recognise themselves? And if they did, would they care?