The 12 Toxic Leadership Traits

The 12 Toxic Leadership Traits

What is Toxic Leaders?

The qualities of a toxic leader can be hard to spot at first. They often seem likeable and competent leaders, who are good at their jobs and generate a lot of good will among those around them. But over time, the behavior of a toxic leader will start to have a negative impact on the people they supervise, the organization as a whole, and the world.

Toxic leaders have qualities that make it difficult for people to work with them, or to trust them. Some are short-tempered and impulsive. Others are tactless and insensitive, which can cause hurt feelings and disrupt the team.
The toxic leadership trait is the ability to exert control through intimidation. It is a control that is not overt, but that is extremely harmful to those being controlled.

The 12 Toxic Leadership Traits:


Toxic leaders are very boastful and arrogant. They think they are always right and expect others to always take their word for it. They do not help others and hate when someone else dares to correct them, especially when it is a subordinate.

2-Oppositional Behavior:

The toxic leader often exhibits oppositional behavior, undermining subordinates, dismissing good work as inadequate or flawed, and making his team feel less than inadequate based on careless assumptions.

3-Blaming others:

The toxic leader never likes to admit his mistakes and likes to trick others into evading responsibility by blaming someone else for mistakes made through incompetence, negligence, or lack of foresight.

4-Lack of Confidence :

Despite acting very confidently, a toxic leader lacks confidence. As a result, they also find it extremely difficult to trust team members. Because of this lack of trust, difficult issues are often ignored or swept under the rug.

Related:Low Self-Esteem Causes, Signs, & 10 Ways to Cope

Related:15 Tips For Improving Your Confidence


Toxic leaders are narcissistic and often represent aggressive narcissism. This can be characterized as lack of remorse, callousness, inability to take responsibility, shallow charm, grandiosity, and indulgence in pathological lies.

Related:15 Signs You Are In a Relationship With a Narcissist

6-Condescending and shallow attitude:

Toxic leaders have a condescending and shallow attitude. They take pleasure in putting others down and putting down their peers and subordinates for some sense of personal gratification. They often try to attract people with shallow charm, grandiose self-esteem.

7-Incompetent :​​

A toxic leader may think they are the best, but they are incompetent and can often have trouble making even the most sensible decisions or completing the simplest of tasks. Their sense of importance and usefulness comes only from criticizing others and making them appear less than they really are.

8-Poor of Self-Control:

Lack of self-control is one of the most common indicators of insufficient leadership. Leaders who exhibit toxic behavior have poor self-control, are irritable, and tend to act impulsively.

9-Doesn’t listen to feedback:

Everyone has room to learn, however toxic leaders aren’t willing to listen to constructive criticism.
The team members’ concerns are not heard, which prevents the team from improving.Additionally, a toxic leader stays stuck in their ways.

10-Overly Competitive Attitude:

At the first sign of a competent subordinate, the toxic leader displays an overly competitive attitude to show they are better. This attitude is found not only in the professional environment, but also in private life. If a subordinate appears happy or qualified for personal achievement, the toxic leader will seek to prove they are better than them, whether by displaying an exaggerated sense of achievement or by maintaining a false, glorified image.


Perhaps unsurprisingly, toxic leaders also seem to be highly irritable. They want to be teased for everything. Not open to anyone’s other ideas, they despise being asked questions and avoid them as much as possible. As a toxic leader, the organization withers away due to a lack of innovative and fluid ideas.

Related: Why are we irritated? what i can do ?

12-Unrealistic Expectations :

Toxic leaders are known for setting unfair and unrealistic goals. Team members struggle with unattainable goals and become demoralized. The workload piles up and the company becomes set up to fail.


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