• Blog
  • February 20, 2024

How do you counteract toxic leadership?

Have you ever found yourself under the leadership of someone who made every day at work a challenge, not because of the workload, but due to their behaviour? How did it affect your motivation, your productivity, or even your overall well-being? Did you feel like walking on eggshells, unable to speak up or share ideas? This scenario is all too common in workplaces plagued by toxic leadership, a critical issue that not only undermines the psychological safety of employees but also threatens the very fabric of organisational culture.

If you’re a people manager, HRD or a member of a senior leadership team and are feeling stuck in a workplace with toxic leadership and aren’t quite sure how to turn things around, then you’re in the right place.

Read on or download our infographic of our eight-step approach to help you review and revitalise your leadership team, breathing new life into your work environment.

1. 360-Degree feedback

Implementing a feedback system that includes perspectives from all levels within the organisation can highlight disparities between a leader’s self-perception and their actual impact.

2. Broaden evaluation criteria

Assess leaders on a variety of metrics, including those that reflect their impact on team well-being, such as employee satisfaction and retention rates, for a well-rounded view of their leadership efficacy.

3. Encourage anonymous feedback

Safe, anonymous channels such as Trickle provide a space for employees to voice their experiences and can be instrumental in identifying toxic patterns without fear of backlash.

4. Prioritise leadership development

Investing in the growth of leaders, focusing on areas like emotional intelligence and team dynamics, can deter the development of toxic traits.

5. Directly address concerns

Engage in open dialogues with leaders about their detrimental behaviours, clearly articulating the need for change.

6. Formulate a plan for improvement

Collaborate on a roadmap for behavioural change with the SLT, underpinned by specific goals and regular progress reviews, with support mechanisms like coaching.

7. Monitor and acknowledge progress

Keep track of improvements and recognise efforts to encourage continued growth, preparing for further action if necessary. Make sure that culture is in the board pack for discussion.

8. Cultivate an accountable culture

A workplace where feedback is earnestly sought and acted upon promotes a sense of collective responsibility and contributes to a healthier environment.

In the workplace, where the influence of company culture on success is undeniable, the shadow cast by toxic leaders can be particularly damaging. These leaders, through their detrimental behaviours, create environments where fear and anxiety reign supreme, stifling the freedom of expression, creativity and innovation. Addressing the signs of toxicity within a leadership team isn’t just about improving organisational culture; it’s crucial for cultivating a workspace that is positive, productive, and psychologically safe for everyone.

This shift not only benefits individual employees but also strengthens the organisation’s market position, proving that investing in a leadership culture that prioritises psychological safety is not just beneficial—it’s essential for sustained business success.