Command and Staff Program

Leadership in Practice: Toxic Leadership

Replies
279
Voices
140
Dr. Mitch Javidi
Instructions:  
  1. Post a new discussion related to the topics covered in this module.  Your post needs to provide specific lessons learned with examples from this module helping you enhance your leadership capacity at work.
  2. After posting your discussion, review posts provided by other students in the class and reply to at least one of them. 
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    Monte Potier

    Toxic leaders are leaders that can destroy any organization. I have worked for some which have made the environment so horrible the mood was "Hostile". The sad part is these leaders have no idea they are toxic, or just don't care. Employees are so miserable that want to go find another job.

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      Brian Johnson

      Monte, we have all witnessed toxic leaders within our organizations. As leaders, we have a responsibility to help them see their ways and correct their behavior for their and the organizations benefit. If they refuse to change than we must hold them accountable for the benefit of our departments. Brian

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      Jason Porter

      I have had subordinates that are toxic, unfortunately I have not had the pleasure of having a leader my self that was toxic. The subordinate was taken aside and talked to about his actions and attitudes. Nothing would sway his way of thinking. Eventually that subordinate crossed the line and was terminated. Some things just have a way of working out.

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      Lance Leblanc

      Monte, I would agree toxic leaders can destroy an organization. I have also worked for some and it was miserable. I think the problem is exactly what you stated: "they don't care".

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      Lt. Mark Lyons

      I left a job once due to the supervisor being a toxic leader. He was completely incompetent. Morale and productivity was low everyone was miserable. This person was so self absorbed, they never considered that they were the problem. It was always someone else that caused the issues the company was going through.

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        Paul Brignac III

        My department has lost several good employees as a result of a toxic leader. I was fortunate enough not to be affected directly by this individual. What is so unfortunate is that after several employees left the department, the toxic leader was removed. It is a shame that this did not occur before we lost valuable individuals.

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      Eduardo Palomares

      Monte,

      I have worked for and alongside toxic leaders. These individuals not only kill morale but roadblock aspiring leaders that really deserve to be promoted. Toxic leaders run the good personnel out of our departments. They sad part is that in some cases there are toxic leaders supporting toxic leader subordinates. It seems that toxic leaders tend to climb up the promotional ladder even though all they do is destroy our journey men cops that want to do a good job. This is because toxic leaders refuse to take extreme ownership of what occurs under their command. They munch rather destroy morale and kill the motivation of the proactive officers because they don’t want to be bothered.

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      I have been put in situations like this at work a few times in the past. There isn't really anything worse than a toxic work environment where you feel like you are constantly on edge for one reason or another. I would agree that these leaders that are creating the toxicity often don't realize they are doing it or don't realize what impact they have on others.

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      Monte,
      I have been there myself experiencing toxic leadership. I believe that the toxic leaders are to self centered to care about what their actions are not only doing to others but the organization.

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      Jarvis Mayfield

      I agree a toxic employee is one thing but when you have a toxic leader the business will crumble.

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      Steve Mahoney

      I have worked for them as well. IN fact it made me leave a department that i worked for because of it. I am not one that believes in job hopping or leaving jobs. The environment got to be too much to handle so I hade to switch and work at another department

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      Miranda Rogers

      I think Toxic Leaders don't care they are toxic because they don't know what Toxic Leadership. Remembering that they are self-serving, it may not matter if their destructive ways were pointed out to them.

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    Brian Johnson

    I have worked in both large and small police departments. I have worked for and supervised "toxic" supervisors, they are only supervisors- they are not leaders. As leaders, we have a responsibility to hold them accountable and help them to change or take the necessary to steps to remove them from their supervisory positions. It isn't easy, but if you want to have credibility within the organization, you need to take action to address the toxic employee, regardless of rank. Toxic employees, at all ranks, will undermine the organization and other employees if not addressed. If you are a small department, you will see a nature trend of good employees leaving to other departments because you failed to address the toxic employee. The first step is to document the unsatisfactory performance as a form of progressive discipline. If the behavior doesn't change, you will be required to place the employee on a performance improvement plan (PIP), to move forward with documenting the negative performance, which will result in negative discipline. Leaders are responsible and accountable to make these unfortunate decision, but remember it should never be personal.

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      Frank Acuna

      Brian, I agree with your approach of documenting the issues of toxic leaders, implementing progressive discipline and holding them accountable. Toxic leaders have no place in law enforcement organizations.

      Frank

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      Joey Prevost

      I have to agree with you about eh toxic employees. They must be dealt with no matter the rank. I would first show some concern as to what the underlying issue is in an attempt to salvage them. Some employees just can't be or don't want to be salvaged. If left to their own devices they infect those around them until it culminates in a cleansing. It then takes a long time to repair the damage and restore trust inside the organization.

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        Jarod Primicerio

        Agree, the repair is tedious but definitely beneficial for the long-term. I replaced one recently and the uphill battle has taken a significant amount of energy. There is deep issues, some scars on employees, that I can't erase. The road has been very beneficial though and well worth it.

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      Nancy Franklin

      Brian, I agree that these toxic individuals are supervisors - not leaders. As leaders in our organizations it is our responsibility to watch for this type of toxic individuals and hold them accountable to their behaviors. We must have the courage to address these types of individuals immediately and head on to prevent the toxicity from spreading.

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      Eduardo Palomares

      Outstanding comment Brian. Toxic people exist at all levels. It is our job as leaders to not tolerate toxic behaviors.

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      Samantha Reps

      I have also worked with a toxic leader but also supervised a few toxic staff. You are right, no matter what the rank they need to be recognized and dealt with.

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    Frank Acuna

    Toxic leadership affects the entire organization and can often impact it for years after the toxic leader leaves. Toxic leadership creates a culture of decreased job satisfaction, mediocrity, unprofessional or unethical behavior, and other unfavorable traits. I have worked for toxic leaders who were charismatic and had a following of their peers and were highly thought of by command. They treated their staff terribly, were skeptical of their work product, questioned their integrity, humiliated them in front of their peers. The effects this supervisor left in their wake took years to overcome. Toxic leaders can have substantial, long-lasting effects in law enforcement organizations and they have no place in leadership positions.

    Frank

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      Drauzin Kinler

      Frank, it was always surprising to me and others in the organization how these supervisors used their charismatic approach. They would brag about things they claimed they did and no one in the upper ranks verified their stories. These supervisors would always end up getting promoted. As a result, they were unprofessional, unethical leaders that no one in the organization respected

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      I couldn't agree more and that charismatic trait to the bosses hits home all too well. The example that they convince their bosses how great they are is so true and reminds me of a supervisor I worked with years ago. Unfortunately, the ones that are truly toxic need to find somewhere else to work or we need help them find somewhere else. I have only met few toxic employees and multiple supervisors with different personalities and styles never changed them for the better. They shifted just enough to convince the supervisor, but still left irreparable damage.

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    Joey Prevost

    I have seen examples of toxic leadership as I came up in my career. I observed subordinates being publicly ridiculed for no reason and working under stiflingly oppressive leadership. Even when a subordinate was to be applauded for their accomplishments, it had to be accompanied by pointing out some inadequacy. Now that I am in those same positions, I see how to do business so differently and the difference it makes. I think of those toxic leaders and pity them for choosing to be so small and petty.

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      Chris Corbin

      I have seen the public ridicule that you allude to as well. The leaders that I have seen demonstrate such behavior always spend a great deal of time trying to identify where to assign blame when something goes wrong, and interestingly enough, spend almost no time trying to prevent such incidents from occurring in the first place, or properly using the event as a learning opportunity to build and develop their subordinates once it has occurred.

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        I agree with both Chris and Joey. There is no place for public ridicule of subordinates.. I have always tried to live up to the mantra- "Praise in Public and and Counsel in Private". As Joey pointed out, a leader cannot complement someone on a job well done and then beat them up over some perceived inadequacy. This damages the leaders credibility. Do that a couple of times and your subordinates will not do anything (slip into mediocrity) to avoid the humiliation of a public brow beating

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      Donnie

      It’s like Chief Watt states in the lecture; toxic leaders are in every organization at one time or another. Based on this module, it may be an opportunity for someone who doesn’t know they are toxic to realize they could be. I’ve seen it too. You also have to have the intestinal fortitude to talk to a leader at any level to tell them what people think about them. This was especially difficult in the military.

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      Lt. Richard Paul Oubre

      I agree Joey, I have unfortunately worked for a toxic leader and it was very frustrating, He would ridicule people and try his best to intimidate them. He made it his mission to make people quit because he felt they should not be police officers.

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    Chris Corbin

    While the department that I work for has adopted the concept of gathering feedback from a leader's subordinates when considering promotions, we do not do so, as recommended in this module, when completing performance evaluations. I believe that had we had this practice in place years ago, that me might have been able to avoid some of the negative circumstances that have resulted from toxic leaders. I am curious if any of you have this practice in place, and if so, just how you go about gathering that feedback. Thanks in advance for your input.

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    Drauzin Kinler

    Toxic leadership, as described in the module, is something that could be addressed by merely getting regular feedback from the employees of an organization. Although I have seen those supervisors that fit into this category of leader, I have been fortunate enough not to have had them as my supervisor. You could always tell who those supervisors were because their shift lacked productivity. These shifts had an abundance of overtime call out because the employees would continuously call in sick. What was the amazing part is everyone seen that these supervisors were toxic, and somehow they always seem to get promoted.

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      Kyle Turner

      I've witnessed similar effects of toxic leadership. Our patrol officers sign up for shifts every 4 months. The most toxic sergeants are the ones whose shifts fill up last, regardless of how desirable the shift or schedule is. I appreciate the suggestion in the module to always look two levels down when evaluating a leader/manager. It makes a lot of sense but is rarely done.

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    Kyle Turner

    Toxic leaders know they lack the ability to relate to others and earn people's respect so they resort to bullying behavior because in their mind that is how they maintain control. Control to them equals leadership. Their inability to lead, inspire, and develop others results in insecurity and a tendency to prey on those they believe are weak. We have had 1 or 2 of this type of leader in my organization and they always appear to be supporting the department agenda. All of their peers know they are toxic but to upper management the pushback they get appears to be from their attempts to enforce policy or toe the line for the department. Ensuring subordinate feedback is part of the promotion process is very important to prevent this type of leader from promoting and impacting more people within the organization.

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      Brian Lewis

      I agree Kyle, toxic leaders are weak and insecure. They mast their weaknesses by bullying their subordinates.

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    Mike Brown

    I've witnessed similar effects of toxic leadership in my department and its in God's grace that i am not a toxic leader. I have the some of the worst supervisors in my career that have toxic and in return their leadership management style was passed on to other employees. What was understood was that all of their peers knew that they were toxic and upper management knew as well.

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      Judith Estorge

      Mike, I agree that too often the upper administration allows the "good ole" network to remain in play instead of appropriately dealing with the problematic employees.

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      Chasity Arwood

      I agree with you, many of those in command should work harder to correct the toxic leader or simply removed them the deparment.

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    Nancy Franklin

    This module provided some insight into toxic leaders and the impact they have on individuals and their organizations. First, I believe the term "toxic leader" is incongruent with leadership and could be more appropriately termed "toxic supervision." These types of individuals likely exist in every organization and although difficult to define, it is very easy to recognize toxic behaviors. Once recognized, it is critically important for leadership (when the individual is a supervisor) or peers (when the individual is line level) to call out the behaviors immediately in the hopes to prevent the toxicity from spreading or manifesting itself in other ways within the organization. Toxic individuals are a cancer to any organization and serve no real good to either their peers, subordinates, organization, or the community they have sworn to protect and serve. There is no place for this type of individual in the law enforcement profession.

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      Sgt. Shawn Wilson

      Could not agree more, a "toxic leader" does not conform to leadership and more in line with supervision. Toxic individuals at any level need to be confronted in a professional manner. Clear expectations need to be conveyed to them. In the end an if an organization allows toxic individuals to permeate the agency then the agency has to be willing to accept the consequences that come with it.

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    Jarod Primicerio

    While we have all been there before, working for a toxic leader is dreadful. I have several managers that come to mind during this course and use them as an example of what not to do. I often use specifics from their actions to relay to others as learning opportunities. Working under a few toxic leaders has greatly assisted me to become the leader I desire to be.

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      Dan Wolff

      Jarod Primicerio,
      Always taking away the positives from a bad situation will always make you a better leader of things not to do. Maintaining professionalism, keeping your integrity intact and staying committed to your values sounds like what you are doing. Pass it down

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        David Cupit

        Dan these are great characteristics that a leader should possess. A great leader should be committed to the organization goals and also take care of their people.

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      ereeves@cityofwetumpka.com

      It really is difficult to work for a toxic leader but what better lesson to learn what not to do and be when you lead

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    Jason Porter

    Toxic leadership discussed in this module is a drain on the organization to which the leader is employed. The leader is not grooming the subordinates to someday replace him, he is basically in it for himself. I have never had a leader with this type of issue. Hopefully I will continue my career without having to experience one.

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    Dan Wolff

    Toxic leadership goes against everything we have learned in the previous lessons. Being arrogant, self-serving, inflexible, petty would be a leader that https://acebase.commandcollege.org/members/dwolffbossiersheriff-com/profile/edit/would bring discredit and lower moral in any organization. I haven’t seen the extreme toxic leader in the organization I’m in but have witnessed them in others. It’s a place where people go to get a paycheck and are miserable the entire time they are at work. They bring this type of hostility back home because the leader is so toxic. This type of leader has an effect on everyone that works for them.

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    Dan Wolff

    Toxic leadership goes against everything we have learned in the previous lessons. Being arrogant, self-serving, inflexible, petty would be a leader that would bring discredit and lower moral in any organization. I haven’t seen the extreme toxic leader in the organization I’m in but have witnessed them in others. It’s a place where people go to get a paycheck and are miserable the entire time they are at work. They bring this type of hostility back home because the leader is so toxic. This type of leader has an effect on everyone that works for them.

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    Lance Leblanc

    Toxic leadership can destroy sections in your department. I have witnessed a toxic leader do such a thing. Every section they placed this one supervisor in, he would literally run off every good person he had. This individual was this way until he retired.

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      Clint Patterson

      Very true! I, too, have witnessed a toxic leader cause people to leave the agency and make the workplace toxic. This person is also no longer with our agency either. Their toxicity spread to many others who also left the agency.

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    Judith Estorge

    I found this module informative and beneficial. We have all had incompetent as well as toxic leaders. It provided a thorough list of characteristics to be mindful of as well as the effects. Lou Holtz 3 leadership rules: Do what's right; do the best you can; and treat people the way you want to be treated are an excellent reminder for everyone.

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    Chasity Arwood

    Toxic leaders cause lasting damage to departments that can take many years to correct. The toxic leader cause lack of motivation and low morale for all they supervise.

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    David Cupit

    I have worked for a toxic leader before and found that person to be more of a bully than anything else. He had all the characteristics and was arrogant, self serving ,aggressive, inflexible and petty. He was only concerned with how he would be viewed by his peers. A person dosen't leave an organization, they leave a bad leader.

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      Laurie Mecum

      I could not have said it better myself....I worked for someone just like this too......ultimately I left because of that person. Upper management never saw the same person I did.

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    Brian Lewis

    Toxic leaders, scratch that, toxic individuals need to be dealt with at all levels within the organization. Toxicity is quite evident amongst certain shifts at my department. They all seem to gravitate to the same shift where they are supervised, usually by toxic sergeant that has been passed over for promotion. Staying engaged with your followers and being able to read between the lines of what they are telling you can help in rooting out toxicity. If you have a fun assignment, like crime suppression, and you ask individual team members how it is going and their response is, "it's okay" while looking at the ground, you need to dig deeper, you might have a toxic leader in charge.

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      Rocco Dominic, III

      Very true, there are toxic people at in all levels of an organization. It is incumbent on the leader to eliminate the toxic attitude in the individual. See what is wrong and work out a plan to restore their positive morale.

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      McKinney

      Toxic Leaders should be addressed immediately to prevent the dissatisfaction within the ranks. As you mentioned, it is evident that discontent is present within a group when this type of supervisor is leading them. Like you said, when you ask a member how it is going, and their response is, "it's okay" while looking at the ground, you need to dig deeper, you might have a toxic leader in charge.” These types of “clue” should be a reliable indicator of an issue and should be handled quickly to preserve the morale of the group and or organization.

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    Clint Patterson

    Toxic leadership is everywhere and in all walks of life. This is genuinely the cancer of any organization. We, as leaders, need to be very alert to this form of leadership or subordinates because it can spread like wildfire within the agency if it is not contained quickly. If the toxic person who puts so much energy into being a negative source could generate that same energy into improving their agency, they could become true leaders. Identifying, then taking immediate action on the forbidden negative behavior, and maintaining a “team” mindset can be critical to dealing with the toxic leader or personnel.

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      Roanne Sampson

      Clint, this is true. I believe this should be taught early on to eliminate the negativity before it starts.

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      dlavergne@stcharlessheriff.org

      You are absolutely correct, Clint. There are toxic leaders everywhere and go unnoticed by superiors. Those leaders put on a good show but kill the morale of the people they supervise.

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      This is definitively true, no matter where you work, people who present as toxic either choose to stay that way, don't have awareness of this, or enjoy being negative overall. The ability to help avoid, ID, or evolve these people to become positive can be draining. It is necessary to maintain your integrity and be professional regardless.

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    Laurie Mecum

    I think there are more “toxic” people that work in an organization than toxic leaders. Don’t get me wrong, there are some but maybe not to the extreme. Its probably more along the line of bad leaders. The real issue is the leaders above them don’t see it. While they come off as being nice when they need to be or around certain people, they are not really for everyone and still have the ME mentality. More organizations need to do the 2 down method as described in this module, but then they may be afraid of what they see. People don't leave employers, they leave because of bad leaders.

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      Amanda Pertuis

      Very true Laurie - people leave bad leaders. I left because of bad leaders. Thankfully it has turned around. We do need to work on toxic employees.

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      dpertuis@stcharlessheriff.org

      I agree Laurie and I think percentage-wise we have a greater number of toxic people in the organization than we do leaders. On occasion one of these people will get promoted and have the ability to infect the division or agency, but for the most part I think we are doing a good job of recognizing these people.

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    Roanne Sampson

    in my career, I have seen toxic leaders create a hostile work environment for so many people. They led by intimidation, ridicule and harassment. This definitely caused an excessive turn over rate, lack of work performance, and a break down in communication between the leader and the followers. It was a rough patch for me and others during this time. I believe if we have more training on the subject matter early on in one's career, this can diminish toxic leadership in an organization.

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      David Ehrmann

      I have also seen this occur. I have seen a toxic leader appear to be a great leader to those who were not their subordinates and convince their bosses they were a great leader. However, we know that when the toxic leader leaves, they leave a wake of problems behind them. Unfortunately, that’s the time when bosses realize the actual type of leader that person was.

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    David Ehrmann

    Unfortunately, toxic leaders exist in every agency. These leaders only care about themselves, have little to no interaction with the subordinates, are arrogant, hoard information and job tasks, and blame others for issues affecting themselves. These leaders will do everything in their power to show their bosses how great of a leader they are while tearing down their subordinates. Credible leaders need to make efforts in curtailing this type of leadership before it occurs. Promoting a positive team-oriented organization that focuses on taking care of those you supervise is one way credible leaders can prohibit the development of toxic leaders.

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    Amanda Pertuis

    Toxic leaders care about themselves and disregard others. They have identified by behaviors, not by definition. I have had toxic leaders in the past, and it is hard to move on from that culture. It takes commitment and time to achieve.

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      Christian Johnson

      Well said, Amanda.

      Unfortunately, I think all of us have had to work with one at some point in our careers.

      When i did, it was the only time in my career I ever did not look forward to going into work.

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    Christian Johnson

    Toxic leaders completely destroy morale and stifle growth.

    The only thing that matters at all is their own advancement and they are willing to tear down others to make themselves look good.

    I've worked with one and it is truly terrible.

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    Rocco Dominic, III

    A toxic leader can destroy the morale of their subordinates and the organization. There are also toxic subordinates who can destroy the morale in and organization. These toxic individuals need to me removed for and organization to grow and allow true leaders to advance.

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      Burke

      I agree. We spend time talking about toxic leadership but I have seen the results of toxic officers with his peers as well.

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    McKinney

    There have been very few occasions that I served with or for a member that had attributes of being a toxic leader. I venture to say as it was noted in the lecture that an effective leader who serves over this type of supervisor must address the conflict before the behavior affects organizational members.

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      Royce Starring

      I too have worked for a few toxic leaders. Although the time spent was miserable I learned what not to do as a leader.

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        chasity.sanford@stjohnsheriff.org

        I totally agree with your response, because we learned from the toxic leader that in order to lead we can't be like a past toxic leader especially if we've all experienced one. We have to use that as our stepping goal to never be toxic. I tell my peers all the time, I can give you every tool you need to succeed, but I can't give you the tool for being a leader. That's something you have to know how to be with instincts.

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    Burke

    Toxic leadership is the result of a lack of relationship building within an organization. When the administration is out of touch with its people, that allows supervisors with toxic personalities to grow. In turn, they leave a path of destruction and create other toxic style leaders.

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      Justin Payer

      Burke, I agree that toxic leaders thrive when the administration is out of touch. Fortunately, I have seen that when the administration realizes the problems they can make changes that can turn the agency back around.

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    Lance Landry

    One of the most valuable lessons of my career to date was working under a “Toxic Leader.” Every day I reflect on the way this man acted, reacted, spoke to myself and others. He was a tyrant that was despised by all. Eventually, his true colors were seen by the big boss and he suffered the consequences. I know how it made me feel and what it did to my peers. I carry these lessons of “what not to do” in my daily activities.

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      cvillere@stcharlessheriff.org

      I agree that some of the most valuable lessons I have learned are by seeing others demonstrate what not to do. I would not want to make other feel the way I felt under their supervision. Thankfully, we know who to combat these behaviors and how to address them as we move forward in our careers.

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      Adam Gonzalez

      I couldn't agree more with all that you have posted here! Much of what I have taken away from previous leaders in my past have been from the wrong, immoral and negative ones and I have strived to never make these same mistakes to those I am now entrusted with. It is most unfortunate that this is how you and I and many others have learned, but as in many of our challenges in life, we can take from the negative and turn it into a positive. Thank you again!

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    Lance Landry

    I too have witnessed the same type leader. Only difference is mine was severely demoted and only recently retired.

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    Donnie

    I have experienced toxic leadership in the military and law enforcement. Sometimes it’s difficult to address but if you maintain tact and professionalism you will be fine. I’m not saying that I personally changed anyone’s leadership style but I have seen positive changes in leaders that I have told what others thought of them. If you are a leader, you have a responsibility to address it.

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      jbanet@bossiersheriff.com

      I have also experience toxic leadership within the military and law enforcement. I was never sure how to address the problem of toxic leadership because I was always below them on the ladder. Now that I have moved up the ladder a bit. I can hopefully be better equipped to address it when I see it. Hopefully my own example of leadership along with forbidding the behaviors of a toxic leader will help.

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    Royce Starring

    Toxic leaders will destroy an organization by bringing negativity to the organization. This will lead to poor productivity, poor morale, and loss of good employees.

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    jbanet@bossiersheriff.com

    I think that at one point in all our careers we have worked with or for a toxic leader. For me it was always obvious what kind of leader or person they were. Just like in the module of instruction it was hard to understand why higher up leaders didn't observe what I was seeing. It often was to late once someone recognized these toxic leaders and the damage was already done. In my own leadership I will strive to stay committed to my own values and follow the example of Coach Holtz when he said, do whats right, do your best and treat others like you would want to be treated.

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      I have shared your amazement at how the higher authority does not see or chooses not to see the damage done by these "leaders." It takes commitment to what is right to keep my own bearing. I just have faith that hard work and committment to the principle of what is right will ultimately be rewarded, if not in position, with a good night's sleep and the knowledge that I held true to my principles.

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    chasity.sanford@stjohnsheriff.org

    In the learning area 3, module 11, I've learned that toxic leaders are a fact of life. They exist in all organizations or in one are another. It is impossible fora credible leader to be toxic. I know that I have to continue to develop my credible leadership knowledge, base and style that will ultimately continue to lead me to success.

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    This module has a powerful message. I have and do work with people who are toxic leaders. I share the professors astonishment that the upper administration does not see the damage or does not remove these types of leaders. Toxic leaders corrupt now only their own sphere of influence but can be a negative mark on their organization and the leadership that places them in their positions. There is no doubt they can be very articulate. I compare them to con artists. They can give the appearance of having all the great attributes in the world, but their self-serving ways and lack of empathy ultimately shines through. Perhaps the most valuable information shared in this module was the guidance on how to deal with this toxic influence. Staying committed to you values, keeping emotions in check and staying in your own ethical values is paramount. Don't let someone else's toxicity lead you to compromise your Moral Compass.

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      cbeaman@ascensionsheriff.com

      I agree with you. When senior command is around they act and portray themselves as a good leader. Always stay under control when dealing with a toxic leader.

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    Lieutenant John Champagne

    Toxic leaders destroy morale inside a department and force officers to leave the department. It's not until the Agency removes that person from leadership it will get better. If you move him as I have observed, it only creates another toxic environment at his next stop.

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      mtroscla@tulane.edu

      There is nothing more dangerous than toxicity coupled with near absolute power, I have experienced this and it is frightening.

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      Major Stacy Fortenberry

      Trying to solve this problem by transfer seems like a common experience. Huge morale killer as all the subordinates lose faith in dept heads. One must have the courage to terminate this type person.

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    mtroscla@tulane.edu

    I have worked under a truly toxic leader and it was the only time that I have ever truly considered leaving law enforcement, the decisions he made without any regard for his subordinates or the department were terrifying.

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      Henry Dominguez

      I agree, been there and thought that. Truly a miserable time in my career, just watching this person do so much damage by himself.

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      dgros@stcharlessheriff.org

      It is unfortunate that people have left this field because of the supervisor that ran them out. Cops can handle a lot of bs, but paint them into a corner with no escape, that's not an outcome any of us like to see.

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      Toxic leadership has also made me consider changing my career choice. It still amazes me that we continue to struggle with toxic leadership even-though we have all the research about their harmful affects on individual and the agency.

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    cbeaman@ascensionsheriff.com

    Toxic leaders are the worst kind of leaders. They will destroy a whole units moral just by walking in the room. They are not trusted by their subordinates and they do not like him/her. In front of senior command they act and talk one way but when the command leaves he/she changes right back to being a toxic leader. They are self centered people who only care about themselves.

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      michael-beck@lpso.net

      What amazes me, just as Dr. Lipman-Blumen stated, is how they are capable of rising to levels and positions they attain. Their negative impact and sometimes meteoric rise to power is just baffling. It sends the message to some that in order to be successful, you must be terrible to people. We need to make certain we do not fall into this trap, especially since we know for what to look.

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    Major Stacy Fortenberry

    Toxic leaders convince their superiors that they are not toxic but actually good leaders. How do you know if your subordinate is pulling the wool over your eyes? What if one of your Cpts or Lts are toxic. I like how Mr. Watt brings us back to getting out of our office and taking to people. At least two levels down and also doing a 360 review.

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    michael-beck@lpso.net

    While I may not have extensive work experience outside law enforcement, I have seen numerous examples toxic leadership in my life. So far we’ve examined real leaders and what they look like, but the poor leaders, the ones that really stick in our minds, are more than likely the toxic leaders. These are the ones that we all “vowed” never to become because of how they treated us and others. I have had more than a couple of toxic leaders in my civilian jobs and more than a few in my law enforcement career and I do not want to become the next. Our issue is if you ever had the pleasure of working with any of these individuals, you may have, unknowingly, picked a trait or two from these people. When we do a really good self-inventory, we know the signs to recognize and we know how we need to fix it.

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      Brent Olson

      Michael,

      I also was doing a bit of a self-inventory as I was working through this lesson. It is easier than we think to pick up style traits from past leaders, even the toxic ones. I want to make sure I don't utilize any of those toxic traits unknowingly.

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    Henry Dominguez

    Scary learning module here because these toxic leaders are out there and through all of law enforcement. It is amazing how management does not see how they to are being played by these toxic people. I still think you can learn a lot from a toxic leader and that is learning what not to do and how not to act and recognize these behavior traits so you don't fall victim to it.

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      guttuso_fa@jpso.com

      You make a good point that you can learn from a toxic leader. I worked for a toxic leader in the early part of my career and learned that if I was ever put into a leadership position I would do everything I could to not be like that leader.

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    ereeves@cityofwetumpka.com

    Toxic leaders are the worst of the worst. They are intolerable to work for will make your life miserable. This is why so many departments have a high turn over rate. Especially larger departments that might not be able to identify toxic leaders as easily as smaller departments. They will absolutely ruin morale and an organization.

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      anthony.joseph@stjamessheriff.com

      Theses leader can be over a divison and there action can affect the entire department.

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    guttuso_fa@jpso.com

    I've worked for one toxic leader in my career and a few who were right on the cusp of becoming a toxic leader. This leader made coming to work a task in itself. I caused people to be miserable, with themselves, co-workers and the public. This leader's negativity spread through the watch like a cancer. It caused many deputies to do just the bare minimum so they wouldn't have to deal with the leaders wrath. No one wanted to work for this leader and people were constantly trying to transfer off the watch.

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    dgros@stcharlessheriff.org

    Working for a toxic leader is like having someone stand face to face with you while calling you a liar and debating your every thought and move. These are the people that represent the “ladder” style of leadership and do not have their personnel’s best interest in mind. I’ve experienced these types of people more than once. I am glad I also had other trustworthy cops around me to guide me in the right direction.

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      Brad Strouf

      Fortunately there are far more credible leaders than toxic leaders in the workforce. It is amazing how much damage just one toxic person can do. I've witnessed it first hand. Thank god for the credible leaders that have done the right thing.

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    dpertuis@stcharlessheriff.org

    We have had the occasion to have toxic leaders in the agency we work for. It seems in the past 6-8 years we have been removing these people from positions where they were affecting the division and in some cases large parts of the agency. Some have been removed through retirement and demotions and others have simply left the agency for other reasons. I think we are doing a much better job of recognizing these people and making sure they can't affect anyone going forward into the future.

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      blaurent@stcharlessheriff.org

      I agree, The changes in the past couple of years has improved the work culture of the department tremendously. There still are a few more changes that need to occur, but I think that they will be happening within the next couple of years due to retirement.

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    blaurent@stcharlessheriff.org

    I have worked with toxic leaders in my career and seen the damage it caused first hand. Years ago, this same supervisor was transferred to a smaller division and also ran that division into the ground. This supervisor was close to retirement, and instead of dealing with the problem, he was moved so he could not make as much of an impact. After he retired, the department had to fix two separate divisions.

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      cody.hoormann@stjamessheriff.com

      We had a toxic leader a few years ago that was close to retirement and the same thing happened. He was not dealt with due to him being so close to retirement.

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      steven.brignac@stjamessheriff.com

      It is depressing to see that it is allowed in an agency when they are informed. I have been a victim of a toxic leader in the past and i hurt for those who have to go through it now.

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      clouatre_kj@jpso.com

      This system of maneuvering the toxic leader around has unfortunately been done for years. Usually, by the time the Toxic Leader is exposed, such damage has been done, it is hard to recover from it.

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        wdanielfield@ibervilleso.com

        I agree it's best to recognize a toxic leader and remove him/her from the position before it causes more havoc for the organization.

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      dlevet@stcharlessheriff.org

      Unfortunately this happens on a reoccurring basis and is not correct. Move that person somewhere else and let them deal with the toxic leader. Now you have two division affected.

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    cody.hoormann@stjamessheriff.com

    Toxic leaders can ruin an entire organization from the top down. They damage officers and sometimes the impact of their leadership can not be turned around. The ones that can be repaired takes a while to do so. Depending on high up the toxic leader is the entire culture may have to be changed.

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      Lieutenant Dustin Jenkins

      Years of damage can take many years longer to repair if allowed to go unnoticed. As leaders, we must be able to identify and assist in the attempt to remediate the toxicity to minimize the effect they can potentially cause.

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    Lieutenant Dustin Jenkins

    As we have progressed through our careers to reach the point that we are in various stages of our leadership journey, we have all inevitably witnessed a toxic leader or two. I can think back on a few toxic leaders that fit the description given in this lecture perfectly. Thankfully most have begun to move on from the agency through various methods. I think that as we continue to develop as leaders being able to identify these toxic traits early on will allow us to remediate the leaders or remove them from their positions as needed.

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    anthony.joseph@stjamessheriff.com

    Over my 20 plus years in Law enforcement, I have witnessed toxic leaders and how they can destroy and agency. These leaders had the followers who looked up to them and could find no fault in their toxic leadership. These toxic leaders have caused an individual to seek employment elsewhere. The module has brought to light there are ways of identifying the toxic leaders that have not shown their toxic

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      mmoscona@floodauthority.org

      The problem rests with those above the toxic leader. To often when a subordinate attempts to report a toxic leader they are classified as disgruntled or a trouble maker because that's what the toxic leader tells "command".

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    When we look at the Toxic Leaders, I am pretty sure I found some high definition and examples of them. While I was preparing for the essay, I found a book that went into the different types of Toxic Police Leadership. When I was a young officer, I did not realize I was in a toxic agency.

    We have all been in those "toxic agencies, or toxic leaders." Now that we can recognize them, we can find ways to help them and work to change their mindset or help them find other places to go where they can be happier and blossom their career.

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    cvillere@stcharlessheriff.org

    As leaders in our own organizations, we know the behaviors that define a Toxic Leader, some of which are arrogant, self-serving, inflexible, petty, aggression, coercive, and intimidating. We can use what we learned to not replicate the behaviors of Toxic Leader and instead strive for Credible Leadership. In staying true to our values, not reacting to Toxic Leaders and use our Emotional Intelligence to stay grounded, centered and in control of ourselves to maintain the clarity needed for good decision making.

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    steven.brignac@stjamessheriff.com

    Dealing with toxic leaders should be priority in an Agency. This is very similar to school bulling and social media harassment and the devastation it causes an employee and their family. Agencies should be held liable for the damages to the victims when they fail to act accordingly. I have seen employees contemplate suicide over their toxic leaders just as sexual harassment has done in the past. I know if I was in the responsible position and failed to eliminate the toxicity, I wouldn't be able to sleep at night.

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    dlavergne@stcharlessheriff.org

    I've worked for toxic leaders before. I left the situation by transferring to another division, even though I loved what I did. I was thankful that I was to gain experience in that other division, and was able to see a different side of law enforcement, but my heart was still in the division I left.

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      sid.triche@stjohnsheriff.org

      Im glad you were able to get removed from the situation. Saved you some serious issues. i was stuck in that toxic experience for over year and a half. Congrats.

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    sid.triche@stjohnsheriff.org

    A toxic leader can have serious effects on the person they are targeting. An increase in stress levels, a start to disliking your job and maybe..... calling off sick more often that normal. I had the non pleasure of working for an extremely toxic leader, like im sure we all have. Its not an experience i will tolerate again. A toxic leader left unchecked and create disharmony between a shift members and the organization itself. I could never understand why an organization would tolerate reported behavior.

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    sid.triche@stjohnsheriff.org

    A toxic leader can have serious effects on the person they are targeting. An increase in stress levels, a start to disliking your job and maybe..... calling off sick more often that normal. I had the non pleasure of working for an extremely toxic leader, like im sure we all have. Its not an experience i will tolerate again. A toxic leader left unchecked and create disharmony between a shift members and the organization itself.

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    Unfortunately, I was able to witness toxic leadership within my department. These toxic leaders negatively impacted the culture and caused some good employees to leave the department. I'm one of few that stayed committed and didn't let the toxic poison ruin my sense of purpose.

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    clouatre_kj@jpso.com

    We can all agree that we have seen a toxic leader or two. I personally have osberved this at the top levels of managment within my agency. One particular person appeared to walk on water with the top brass. This person somehow, through the years, sold himself as the the greatest thing since slice bread. No doubt this person was a hard working man, but as he ascended up the ladder, you could see he would create an unhealthy competition between divisions, and whatever was accopmplished, took all the credit. After a regime change in the last couple years, it was quite satisfying to see this person leave during the night. No goodbyes, just left when he realized his bluff was called and he was discovered. Unfortunately, it took quite some time to make personnel relax, things were done in the same micromanaging way and backstabbing remained. It has improved tremendously, but the effects of this toxic leader effected the morale department wide for years.

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    This module reflects upon an experience that leaders or followers may encounter to work under malcontent and/or toxic managers. This module highlights how they can have negative and lasting effects on an agency. This module allows you to self-reflect and resolve to not becoming this type of leader, and to help create better leaders we work with.

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      Mitchell Gahler

      This module did help self-reflect on a prior experience with a toxic leader. It truly does make you think how the importance of treating people and putting them before yourselves in order to be an effective leader.

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    mmoscona@floodauthority.org

    It is probably true that we have all observed the wake of destruction that toxic leadership has left behind. The problem is, as stated in the lecture, the extent of the damage is often not realized until these leaders move up or move on. Toxic leaders do a great job of disguising their actions to their bosses who believe them to be highly effective leaders who get things done. It's up to the credible leaders to pick up the pieces of shattered morale. We may never be able to completely rid our profession of toxic leadership but we can increase the number of credible leaders to a point where the toxic leaders can be isolated and marginalized.

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    dlevet@stcharlessheriff.org

    After reading through everybody's post it is evident that everybody has come into contact with a toxic leader in their organization. So we apparent can recognize these people easily. That begs the question why can people from multiple agencies all experience the same situation. I believe the law enforcement profession as a whole needs to do a better job of minimizing these people. we all can describe these people but yet we continue to experience their destructive behavior. but continue to let this behavior to resurface. A major part of that is the top echelon continues to be fooled and need to be more in touch with their subordinates so that the toxic leader can be identified.

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    We have all experienced toxic leadership at our agencies and observed the adverse effects they have on their subordinates. As leaders within our agencies, it is now our responsibility to address and limit the amount of toxic leadership. The module gave us techniques to combat toxic leadership in our divisions and ensure we do not become toxic leaders.

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    Lt. Mark Lyons

    I thought the examples of a toxic leader described in this training module pretty much summed it up. I have worked for supervisors who were toxic, and it is a miserable experience. Especially when you are trying to do everything you can to make things better and do the right thing. From my personal perspective, I've found that those toxic supervisors usually end up exposing themselves in the long run.

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      Captain Jessica Jo Troxclair

      I agree the toxic leader eventually is weeded out and is no longer wreaking havoc on others. It takes time and dedication of a credible leader to build the team back up to move forward.

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    I have seen the toxic leader that literally made his subordinates ill. Nothing was ever done for him, but it always benefitted him. I can say that those of us that had to work closely with him tried the techniques outlined, in the lecture, to keep going, but many quite, retired or were fired.

    The sad thing is that we had lower supervisors and officer who tried to emulate this leader.

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      Lt. Marlon J Shuff

      I've seen that as well, young leaders modeling the behavior of a toxic leader. It's learned behavior. Some of these toxic types of leaders are very effective; therefore, the junior believes that he needs to adopt the same leadership style for him to be effective. It's an ugly cycle until it's finally broken.

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    Adam Gonzalez

    Finally, a module that deals specifically with the kind of leaders that most all of us have had (and hopefully have all learned from). Toxic Leaders, as described in this module, can leave a wake of destruction and ruin in their path. As also discussed in this module, those administrators left behind (the lower level performers that did not leave when they saw the obvious happening) are left scratching their heads as to how it all happened. Again I regress to Simon Sinek's important words regarding leaders, especially new leaders: The employees know who the problems are, and they are waiting to see what you do about it. many of us are the leaders we are today because of the negative experiences with toxic leaders from our past. Let us always be faithful to the principles and virtues that we are learning now and espouse and exemplify these in our lives for the next generations!

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      Adam you are correct. We do such a disservice to our personnel when we allow these toxic leaders to run roughshod and do nothing. Why would any employee want to stick around for that? The job is stressful enough and this adds so many extra stress layers for no good reason.

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    wdanielfield@ibervilleso.com

    In this module toxic leadership describe supervisors in a lot of organization. A leaders who is willing to do whatever it takes for number one, no matter who gets hurt as a result. It's best to recognize this type of leader, but subordinates don't say anything, this toxic leader needs to be remove from the position before it cause more havoc for the organization.

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    I worked with a person who was just plain toxic. Then they got promoted and were more and more toxic at every new rung of leadership. This person ultimately was promoted to run a shift and they destroyed the morale. Officers quite, called in sick and sought transfers as quickly as possible. It was insane to me that everyone saw it but nobody would do anything about it. I am glad times are changing and these types of people have no place in a working environment where they manage anyone.

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      Lt. Joseph C. Chevis

      Those that were toxic use to manage still work here but aren't in position to supervise. There is no place in the work place for individuals like them in the work place.

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    Lt. Joseph C. Chevis

    I have worked with and was under the supervision of toxic leaders. These types of people are easy to recognize. Working for toxic people causes low morale, deputies resign depart to other agencies, or put in a transfer to another department with the agency.

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      Joseph Flavin

      Thankfully the leaders I work for now are not toxic. A neighboring jurisdiction has a problem with morale and retention. I feel this is likely due to toxic leadership throughout the organization.

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    Lt. Richard Paul Oubre

    Toxic Leaders cause severe and long lasting damage to an organization. The toxic leaders are never dealt with in a timely manner. There was one in our agency and instead of addressing him he was transferred to a smaller division. The patrol division benefitted from the transfer but the new division suffered. When the toxic leader retired the department had to address the mess of the smaller division.

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    Captain Jessica Jo Troxclair

    I have worked with toxic officers over the last nineteen years but not with a toxic leader. I am blessed to work for an organization that recognizes these traits in officers and they are not promoted that I have seen. As a leader I combat toxic officers by spreading positivity; I engage all officers under my command in conversation but I do not allow negative talk. Once negativity leaks out I invite the officer to talk about their goals and how I can foster them in achieving those goals. I always bring out the bright side. Over the last 6 years of becoming a captain within the corrections division that I assist in leading, the negativity has subsided greatly.

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      Eduardo Palomares

      I will try some of the things you mentioned Captain. It is important to stop toxicity from spreading across, up or down the chain of command. One thing l always discourage is negative comments. This corrodes the workplace.

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      Kelly Lee

      Sounds like you have a great plan that works Captain. You are certainly on the correct path. I think sometimes that's where supervisors fail is in rather than stopping the toxic talk and negativity they buy into it and offer their negativity too which obviously does nothing good for the already bad situation. As leaders we need to stop it and correct it immediately.

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    Lt. Marlon J Shuff

    Identifying the toxic leader in an organization can be tricky at times. These "leaders" can impress the administration for a short period and can be very convincing. Their performance and ability to get the job done masks the damage they are doing behind the scenes.

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      James Schueller

      This is so true. Toxic leaders are often able to achieve results and appear to be effective leaders if those above in the chain of command don't pay attention to the subordinates and how those results were achieved. The problem is often how to communicate that up the chain of command without being disciplined- or worse- by the toxic leader which is especially difficult in a para-military structure when you typically do not jump the chain of command. It can often be a Catch-22 to work for a toxic leader.

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    Joseph Flavin

    This module was all about toxic leadership. Toxic leadership can cause lasting damage on an organization. I worked for an agency early in my career where the leader was toxic. At the time, I was too green to fully comprehend the extent of this toxic leadership. Once this toxic leader was gone, it took some time before the agency recovered. Morale improved with the agency almost immediately but our image to the public took longer to repair.

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      That is the problem with pointing some of this behavior out is that it can be hard to recognize at the time and when you are brand new you are so happy to have a position that you kind of just roll with everythin.

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      Kyle Phillips

      I agree Joe, I think when you first get started, you are so excited that some of the broader picture items get missed simply because we don't have the ability or experience to recognize them. Well said.

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    Mitchell Gahler

    Prior to my law enforcement career, I work in the trade field for a toxic leader who forced me to make the decision to go back to college to earn a college degree. This individual was the definition of a toxic leader and was very difficult to work for on a daily basis. While reviewing the 5 Common Characteristics of Toxic Corporate Leadership, I reflected back at my past position, as I was reminded on a daily basis how not to treat people. This leadership style was spot on, as the module discussed how it results in the departing of good employees and where mediocre employees stay. I remain in contact do this day with the one employee that is still currently there when I was, as he continues to work in the environment that hasn't changed for numerous years. This was a great module to reflect back on how I don't want to be as a leader and the importance of how to treat others.

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    In this module, we discussed toxic leadership and how it can affect an organization and its employees. These types of leaders are worried about themselves and self-promotion and only care about other employees as long as that interaction will benefit them. I have some toxic leaders in the past and it was very evident to others that those leaders were simply interested in getting promoted. They worked very hard at doing what it would take to achieve that if even if it was at the price of others. I tried to steer clear of them most of my early career. It is very true that most of the time upper administration doesn't recognize their leadership style and they often get promoted. It is hard to bring their leadership to the forefront for fear of retaliation.

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    James Schueller

    This module took the Shakedown style from previous sections and broke it down even further to Toxic Leaders. I appreciate the point Watt made when he said (because of difficulty in defining what a toxic leader is) when he said "We judge them not be definition but by behaviors and the negative impact on our agencies." This impact is on individuals and sets the tone or standard that others may follow because it is "what they know." The main point I took is all of the negative effects one toxic leader can have on the organization, now and into the future if left unchecked. Lastly, we saw many examples of characteristics, traits, and behaviors, but Lou Holtz' 3 Leadership Rules are truly the heart of the matter: Do what's right, Do the best you can, and Treat people the way you'd like to be treated.

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    Eduardo Palomares

    Toxic Leadership must be eradicated from this profession. Our people suffer more from internal conflict created by toxic leaders than the dangers of the streets. It is important to recognize that toxic Leadership could potentially lead to toxic subordinates. The vast majority of toxic leaders lack self confidence and therefore use coercion and power to obtain results. They thrive on creating issues to affect the troops. I was unfortunate to work under a toxic leader for four long years. Many good men and women left the agency because they couldn’t take it anymore.
    This leader represented the shakedown style very well.

    Toxic Leadership has long lasting negative effects in the organization. The distrust they created still affects the patrol officer with the first line supervisor relationship.

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      Ryan Lodermeier

      I agree, especially now with so many young, new officers coming into our profession. Many are very impressionable and we don't want them to think or act the way these toxic leaders conduct themselves. Four years is a long time under a toxic leader, your example fits right into this module when you mention that people left the agency because of this person

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      Durand Ackman

      You comment about long lasting effects is spot on. It is crazy how negative actions far outweigh positive ones. You are correct that toxic leadership has no place in our profession and needs to be eliminated. I also have seen many good people leave the organization because of toxic leadership.

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      Paul Gronholz

      Very well said. We can start to eradicate toxic leadership by being committed to positive values and not reacting to the toxic leaders. We can work against the toxicity by remaining positive and have a servant leadership mentality.

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      Gregory Hutchins

      The lesson summed up the purpose of understanding poor leadership; whether it is toxic, shakedown, and pragmatic, credible leaders cannot be toxic. The change in focus for leadership in law enforcement must push back on the tendencies that got us to this point. One must understand how the profession and its demands require knowing when to change the internal channels from authoritarian to something else. Our people are not suspects, they are not guilty until proven innocent, and they are not pawns for our gain. The greatest challenge is standing up to those that believe and live, demonstrating the more lousy leadership traits. It is one of the most difficult moral and emotional fights, as the toxic, pragmatic leaders are well versed in smokescreens and the use of mirrors. The development of their safety nets and support systems requires a dedicated effort to root them out, like cancer, to enable the agency to grow.

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    Kyle Phillips

    What I took away from this module was the ways that an adaptive leader can combat a toxic leader. By staying committed to your values, maintaining your integrity and grace, keeping your emotions in check and not reacting to the toxic leader, we can combat the effects of the toxic leader.

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    Chad Blanchette

    I liked the simplification that Pearl Zhu gave us with the article “Five Characteristics of a Toxic Workplace”. 1. Poor leadership. 2. Un-Professionalism 3. Apathy 4. Fail to “Walk the Talk” 5. Lack of Appreciation.

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    Ryan Lodermeier

    I like the way Professor Lipman moved into how deeply toxic leaders can inspire an almost inspirational creation to credible leaders. We can all look back a identify a toxic leader or two that we were faced with and I am sure that they in some strange twisted way contributed to us being credible leaders, Deep down I think we can agree that we also learned how to be leaders from our previous toxic leaders as they set the example of what not to be

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    Durand Ackman

    I'm sure all of us has had a toxic leader at some point in our lives. I found in interesting the instructor mentioned it is much easier to identify a toxic leader than it is to define it. When I hear the term toxic leader I immediately think of a couple people and the behaviors they displayed. I thought of one school teacher as well as a couple supervisors. Each had different behaviors but it ultimately boiled down to their lack of care for other people and selfishness that made them similar. While these people were terrible human beings I must admit I learned quite a bit from them. I learned to not mirror their behaviors and have made a point to not follow in their footsteps.

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    Samantha Reps

    Toxic leadership can cause a serious amount of damage and years to fix once that leader leaves the organization. At times, a leader that takes over for a toxic leader pays the price for the damage caused by dealing with issues the toxic leader caused or the bad taste that leader left in the organization.
    The video with Simon Sinek about Officers eat Last was a great explanation and eye opening to the true meaning of the phrase.

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      Ryan Manguson

      Agreed. Those that come after a toxic leader have heavy lifting to do to repair the damage caused by the toxic leader.

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      Magda Fernandez

      Samantha, i agree with you on how toxic leaders leave a path of destruction and the person behind them is left to clean it up. From experience, it is very hard to repair the damage left from a toxic person. It takes years to rebuild the trust that is broken. It took changing entire processes, systems and personnel to help rebuild was was broken. In addition to what has been discussed. Toxic leaders cost organizations hundreds of thousands of dollars. Their actions can cost the retention of employees in an organization, the reputation which limits qualified employees, they affect the mental health of employees which can have detrimental consequences and costs.

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    Paul Gronholz

    I have been in organizations that have had toxic leaders. I've marveled at how these leaders were promoted to begin with. I liked the point that Watt made about how to prevent toxic leadership from promulgating. In order to identify and stop toxic leadership, we need to look for the effects that leaders have on their subordinates. Examine the attitudes and behaviors of the officers they lead. We can fight against toxic leadership by being committed to our and the department's values. Act professionally at all times and keep our emotions in check. Adopt the leaders eat last mindset.

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    Ryan Manguson

    Most of us have had the opportunity to work for a toxic leader at some point in our careers. If you haven't, you have seen one within your agency. Watt had great point about how to handle toxic leaders. Stay professional, maintain your integrity, and stay committed to your values.

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      Maja Donohue

      I agree. Watt also said that: “it’s impossible for credible leaders to be toxic.” This is why it’s important for us to stay committed to our values and principles and to show others that toxic leadership is ineffective and unacceptable.

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      Christopher Lowrie

      I agree Ryan. It is hard at times to not reward a bully, but you need to keep your ethics in tact. Don't give in and reward a toxic leader.

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    Kelly Lee

    This module pretty much sums up why this class exists in my opinion. It shows us how being a less than desirable or toxic leaders can absolutely ruin an organization or agency. Toxic leadership leads to less teamwork, innovation, enthusiasm and success. We have all had these types of leaders at one time or another. Like others in this class, we all sit back and wonder how the hell they ever were promoted. I guess sometimes it's being in the right place at the right time rather than being the right person for the job. If these types of leaders exist they need to be sought out, dealt with and even removed if possible. We owe our organizations, staff and community better than that.

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    Maja Donohue

    The trouble with toxic leaders, like many of you said previously, has a lot to do with task performance because it is measurable. Credibility and authenticity on the other hand are more intangible qualities, and that is why sometimes toxic leaders get promoted. They excel in task related duties and usually have very good communication skills. As Professor Lipman-Blumen said, they are talented manipulators who know what people want in a leader and use their charisma to pull wool over superiors’ eyes. The only way to stop these individuals from getting promoted is to clearly communicate organizational values and hold all employees accountable to high ethical and professional standards.

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      Timothy Sandlin

      Excellent point on how toxic leaders may get to where they are within the organization. Create the positive culture and enhance accountability.

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    Magda Fernandez

    Toxic Leadership can absolutely destroy a department. A toxic leader who is only about themselves and leads by intimidation, bullying and by being an authoritarian results in employees leaving the department, decrease in morale and law suits. Their behavior impacts the mental health of the employees they lead. If toxic leaders are not addressed, the toxic triangle will never be broken and will eventually cost the loss of trust and respect of the rest of the leadership and organization.

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    This particular topic has been a passion of mine. As an adjunct instructor for the Army's Command and General Staff College, I had the opportunity to interact with junior Major's as they prepared for promotion to LTC. I was amazed at some of the stories they told about Toxic Leaders. I myself worked for several toxic leaders over the years. I frequently had to make it a point to purposely not overreact and I found ways to remain committed to the person that I wanted to be (while taking care of my people). One thing that Watt does not really go into is the stress the senior toxic leader puts on the subordinate leader. The senior toxic leader is generally your evaluator and that evaluation (good or bad) will be considered in the next promotion process. Those who have been in the Army know all about the importance of good evaluations on your promotion potential. This causes subordinate leaders to make a choice.. compromise their values to get a good evaluation or stand up for yourself and get a below the zone evaluation that will most likely negatively impact your career. Thankfully, commanders in the Army are only around for 2-3 years and they move on to another assignment. Most subordinates grin and bear the toxic leader (tolerate them) because they know their reign of terror is short lived. I thought that Watt's closing said it all, " Credible leaders cannot be toxic leaders". Those are some pretty powerful words.

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    Unfortunately due to the systems in place with most Law Enforcement agencies promoting toxic leaders is all to easy. We place merit, time, and competence high on the list of values. We tend to ignore personal traits that make good leaders.

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      Major Willie Stewart

      William,
      I agree. I stated in my post that some agencies become complacent and don't realize had toxic leaders are damaging the department.

    • Edit

      Good points. We have to do away with rewarding people for the wrong reasons. Time in grade should mean very little. Who consistently demonstrates top-shelf leadership? they should be promoted every time over the guy or gal who's been there a long time.

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    Jennifer Hodgman

    This module really pointed out that toxic leadership is everywhere and in all walks of life. It is the cancer of any department or agency. As leaders, we need to be alert to this form of leadership or followers as it can spread very quickly if not contained.
    If the toxic person who puts so much energy into being a negative source could generate that same energy into improving their agency, they could become true leaders.

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    Major Willie Stewart

    I have experienced the adverse effects of toxic leadership. The leader's behavior caused traumatic, stressful, demeaning relationships within the department. Toxic leaders have a lack of self-awareness, confidence, and values. Toxic leaders are often aggressive and demonstrate autocratic leadership styles. Subordinates may experience abuse, foul language, and intimidation. I feel at times law enforcement agency become complacent and don't realize how toxic leaders are affecting the department.

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    Christopher Lowrie

    I always learn a lot from Simon Sinek. The "Leaders Eat Last" is always a great lesson. Non-toxic leaders are the ones who act like the mother instinctually covering their child when danger is present. Real leaders eat last.

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    I agree with the description of toxic employees and the view that the best employees are the ones who are usually impacted the most. I believe the toxic supervisor doesn’t want the employee’s efforts to overshadow and chance of recognition he may get and takes to the opportunity to target the higher performers in some circumstances. I also agree that as a leader you have to be out there with the employees to be able to identify the behavior, otherwise you are solely relying on what you hear, and that may be coming from a self-promoter.

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    Timothy Sandlin

    I liked the part wherein the Instructor pointed out that it is impossible for a credible leader to be toxic. If you focus on developing your credible leadership skills as well as those within your organization it is almost insulating against toxic leadership creeping into the agency. It is full proof but it definitely creates the culture that would quickly identify and resolve the toxic situation. The harm that is done from toxic leadership can be crippling. I like the idea of focusing on developing the positive so that people will hold each other accountable.

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    Toxic work environments are unfortunately very common. I believe that a leader can know what they are doing, have good leadership traits, and be skillful but still be toxic at the same time. How you communicate and lead is challenging but doing it appropriately is very important. Leaders that feel like they may be working in a hostile environment because of the way their leadership is treating them is unacceptable and should be addressed immediately by other supervisors or potentially even a follower of that person. Sometimes that toxic leader may not know how much negativity and hostility they are bringing to the work place and may be able to fix it if it is pointed out to them.

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    Sadly, toxic leaders exist. I can name 3 at my agency right off the top of my head. I firmly believe that the ladder principle mentality helps contribute to the problem. Supervisors that are too busy looking up and don't care about what's below, allow a toxic leader to flourish. I wish I knew a solution to the problem.

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      Robert Schei

      I read about 50 posts on this discussion posting and am not surprised at the amount of postings related to toxic leadership in so many organizations. Most of us have experienced this at one time or another and for the life of me I can not figure out how the toxic leader can be ignored by upper management so often and for so long. I can only hope that those of us learning these principles and identifying how to be a real leader will at some point start to erode the practice of promoting toxic leaders.

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      Training is a good start. Good leadership at the top to recognize them and coach them back onto the tracks is another. Unfortunately, neither occur very often in my experience. I think toxic leaders have become so good at their craft that those above them on the ladder don't see it or don't want to see it. They are content knowing that the toxic leader is kissing their arse or doing the right things to make the uppers look good. The bottom of the ladder is left to suffer.

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      Marshall Carmouche

      Toxic leaders especially exist when there are "politics" involved. I recall one that used to be in the agency I am with. This individual looked out for them self while pretending to care about the needs of others.

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      Sergeant Michael Prachel

      I’d agree that the ladder principle does contribute immensely. Those so called leaders who poison their agency with toxic leadership do not care about their subordinates, unless it benefits them and their agenda. They are always looking up the ladder and how they can move up. How do you fix it? That is a difficult question to ask. Perhaps a good starting point is more leadership training at in-services. The more we can educate others on this type of behavior the better. It may take time, but it could be a starting point.

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    Nicole Oakes

    Toxic leaders are a cancer in the agency. It should start with offering them the opportunity to educate themselves and grow. If they can not improve and grow, then you must get rid of that person from your agency because their toxicity will spread throughout the department and it will become a cultural issue within your department and then you are dealing with a much bigger problem then just one toxic employee.

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      Nicole, cancer is treated with chemotherapy. As you indicate, we need to rid ourselves of this type of employee. The hard and frustrating part of that is unions get in the way of curing our agencies of cancer. Sadly, many organizations are stuck with toxicity. That doesn't mean I'm suggesting we lie down and just accept them, but it is a long hard road.

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      Andy Opperman

      I agree with the idea of rehabilitation, but with most toxic leaders I think it is a personality flaw. Simply put a lack of emotional intelligence. The likely hood of them taking responsibility for the path of destruction is minimal. I think ultimately you will hear a lot excuses and blame misplaced. May be training would open their eyes though.

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        Thomas Martin

        They definitely have personality flaws Andy. I agree with rehabilitation, and possibly an intervention, but their personality flaws are deeply engrained. I do not believe these individuals have the capacity to change, nor the desire. I also learned the valuable lesson of “never move (or promote) a problematic person to fix a problem” with one of these individuals.

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    Robert Schei

    I have found that toxic leaders have a great ability to hide the truth or look for excuses around poor workplace culture. For example when you have massive turnover and a negative workplace culture the toxic leader will discuss pay or benefits as the reason for the turnover. Yes, pay and benefits are important to employees but I have found that people want to enjoy their work. They want to be happy and work in a positive environment even when pay or benefits are not appropriate they still will stay because they believe in what they are doing and enjoy their environment. Toxic leaders disguise very malevolent enterprises as noble ones. Which is what sucks us in, we don't recognize their intentions.

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    Toxic leaders, we all know one. As Simon Sinek would tell us, ask everyone in the room to point out the "asshole". That's your toxic leader. Hard to define but we can all identify their characteristics. Do they uplift or do they destruct?
    In a certain way, I think we all possess varying aspects of toxic leadership at different times, we are human. The key is to pull yourself back out quickly if you discover you've fallen into that bucket. Those who stay and relish in that way of life are the true toxic managers (you can't really call them leaders).
    The hard part of cohabitating with a true toxic leader is you have to try and pick up the pieces of their destruction and that can prove to be a daunting endeavor. If we model good behavior and uplifting attitudes to our subordinates, the future leaders of our organizations will hopefully be less likely to befall this style.

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    Andy Opperman

    Toxic leaders are a part of life, the correction is finding a way to not allow them into important positions in the work force. I was intrigue by Professor Lipman-Blumen’s discussion on the allure of toxic leaders. She questions why we follow them and makes the argument that we all want to be involved in something noble prior to death, and that we follow these toxic leaders who disguise themselves as leading a noble cause. The key is identification of toxic leaders. As organizations we must be able to root out toxic leaders prior to them obtaining a position of power. Chief Watt also makes great points about dealing with toxic leaders. You can maintain your professionalism while standing your ground, If you follow your high standards of ethical conduct no matter what.

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    Brad Strouf

    It's almost frightening how "spot on" the description of a toxic manager fits a number of managers (I won't call them leaders) that I have worked with and for over the years. I've often said that the toxic managers were the ones that inspired me to lead. Knowing that what they were doing and saying was wrong, pushed me to do better.

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    A toxic leader has NO place in an organization. It is the responsibility of the current leaders to ensure that the individuals that are promoting themselves as a future toxic leader are not put into positions of authority.

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      Zach Roberts

      I would absolutely agree. Although you may not know at the time of promotion how this person is going to be as a leader, it is your absolute responsibility as a leader to identify the toxic leader and handle it accordingly.

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    Sgt. Shawn Wilson

    Toxic individuals are in every organization. The question becomes for us as leaders; How do we mitigate them and eventually terminate their employment in alignment with labor law. Creating a positive culture within a organization where the toxic employee is the outlier and not the norm has in my experience solved the problem on its own. The toxic employee usually leaves the agency or begins conforming to the agency norms.

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      Matthew Menard

      Thorough documentation of the negative behaviors as well as attempted correction and coach will always assist in removal of the toxic employee should they not fall in line with expectations.

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    Matthew Menard

    We all can think of a toxic leader within our organizations; some who are still there and some who are not. It is our responsibility as good leaders to either find a way to get these toxic people in line or get them out as soon as possible. I personally have seen the difference removing a toxic person from the workplace can have and it is amazing. You can sense the difference in people's attitudes and enthusiasm while at work after they're gone.

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    Jarvis Mayfield

    The worst leader to have as a toxic employee is the first line supervisor because he can changed the minds of the young officer right out of the academy.

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      Eric Sathers

      I agree. The more direct supervision a toxic leader has with young officers, the more damage that can be done.

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    Gregory Hutchins

    In the Lipman-Blumen video, the comment about how the toxic leader leaves the organization worse than when they arrived is one of the most truthful comments about toxic leadership. The legacy left by these leaders reaches deep into the organization as subordinate leaders inherit the traits—the deceptiveness of the toxic leader’s actions as causes the most significant challenge. When one tries to engage higher leadership to address the challenge, the success seen through the mirrors and smokescreens creates an illusion that takes time to show to leaders. Too often, time is fleeting as one’s ability to sustain the good fight, do what is right is taxing, and the leader often gives up. Now the culture of the organization becomes entrenched in poor behavior or actions. It becomes the accepted norms.

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      Ronald Smith

      The number of times I have had senior leaders say, I can't believe that commander or captain was that bad, I didn't see until they were gone and the troops cheered. We had a commander moved out of patrol because of a survey where the officers were fearful of making a mistake to the point they were getting written up for not being the top performer of the month. Literally, you would receive a letter of reprimand for having the lowest stats for the month on your shift. The Commander was moved out and then promoted. It was not well received by the troops and he was ordered to stay away from them.

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    Marshall Carmouche

    I get really aggravated that most of the time people have difficulty seeing through the toxic leader. The toxic leader is indeed charismatic. They seem to be a master of disguising their toxicity from most people. Having the ability to know and see someone is a toxic leader is a cross between a blessing and a curse. Their selfishness is angering and absolutely detrimental to other coworkers.

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    Ronald Smith

    The toxic leader I remember from my active duty days was a Lieutenant Commander who had come aboard with the new Captain, they had served together at their last command. From the start of his tenure, he just pissed everyone off. He was not approachable by the department chiefs, the divisions' officers feared talking to him, and heaven forbid a petty officer to speak to him. The Deck Division on any American warship is a tough job, but this guy made you want to leave the navy, not just the ship. He was relieved of his duty early because his style was so toxic, the captain he came with was also terrible with subordinates. I have run into several toxic people in law enforcement, and I believe it is a lack of training and or experience directing people that leads to the toxicity. Some are just self-motivated and will step on anyone to get what they want, and for others, it is what they learn from the toxic leader to climb the ladder.

    • Edit

      I partly agree with your assessment of lack of training and experience directing people is a cause of toxic leadership, particularly if they are exposed to and are learning from a toxic leader. IF a person that is trying to climb the ladder exemplifies their toxic leader and think, "it's working for them" have certainly been taken advantage of...kind of like the allure Professor Lipman-Blumen spoke about in the module. I do think it takes a special person that can balance self-motivation because real leaders are passionate (they are most certainly motivated) about the success of their people AND the mission.

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    Thomas Martin

    The word “toxic” added before the word “leadership” nullifies the word leader in my opinion. These people are poison in the workplace, and use their charisma to advance themselves, and their agendas. They are not leaders, and people below them (on the ladder) need to be mindful not to follow in their footsteps. Toxic leaders are frauds who can ruin entire organizations and quality individuals. There is no place for them in a professional organization, and collectively we should be pushing them out the door.

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    Paul Brignac III

    I believe that a toxic leader and their willingness to use intimidation and manipulation is a reflection of a lack of security. In my opinion, people with very little self confidence attempt to use power to make themselves feel more adequate. These leaders abuse power in an attempt to offset inferiority.

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      Travis Linskens

      Paul,

      I agree and I've found this to be accurate in my experiences as well. A leader that doesn't possess leadership skills will make up for it by pulling others down around them.

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    Sergeant Michael Prachel

    I think we all have a pretty good idea of what a toxic leader is, what their intention is, and how bad they are for an agency, especially after this module. The content in the module explain in great detail the behaviors that follow with these so called “leaders.” A great take-a-way from the module is what to do if you find yourself working for a toxic leader. Staying committed to your values, don’t react to toxic leaders (maintain your integrity and grace), and keep emotions in check. Stay focused, maintain your professionalism, and stay true to your purpose.

  • Edit

    There are so many lessons wrapped in this short module about toxic leadership. I completely agree with Simon Sinek when he stated "either you're a leader or you're not." There are malevolent leaders who have proven to be extremely effective (i.e. Hitler) as well as people that are well-intentioned in leadership positions but simply do not possess the skills or aptitude to lead. I think developing credible leadership skills takes commitment to others, particularly to your subordinates and peers. I also believe that real leaders make mistakes but the different between them and the toxic leader is there is no hesitation to own their mistakes, take immediate steps to learn from them and to not repeat them.

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    Travis Linskens

    A toxic leader will impact an entire organization. Furthermore, toxic leaders will promote toxic leaders, which will have lasting impacts long after leaving the department. Toxic leaders need to be identified and address to limit their overall impact on an agency.

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      Sgt. Samantha Koscher

      I agree! Toxic leaders need to be quickly identified and removed. Not doing so can cause damage that may take years to repair. It is our responsibility to act as stewards of our profession and organization and not allow toxic people to drag us down.

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    Steve Mahoney

    When hearing the description and attributes of toxic leaders I had visions in my head of people like this that I have had to work for. Just as I took bits and pieces from good leaders to form my style, I also noticed bits and pieces from the toxic leaders to try not to emulate. The toxic leader thinks they are doing what's best for the department, but in fact are slowly destroying it until they move onto the next place to prey upon.

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    Eric Sathers

    Most organizations experience toxic leaders at some point in time. I can think of several within my organization alone. The module was helpful in better understanding how to identify a truly toxic leader and the harm that they can cause. I also liked the list of actions that a leader and subordinate can take to counteract the effects of toxic leadership.

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    Sgt. Samantha Koscher

    Toxic leadership is a very real problem in organizations. It is important for leaders to understand the behaviors associated with toxic leadership to ensure we are not allowing or promoting the behaviors. I liked the information provided about how to deal with toxic leaders and the similarities toxic leaders have with bully's. Its important to maintain your values and dignity and not give the toxic leader power over you.

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    Sgt. Samantha Koscher

    I agree! Toxic leaders need to be quickly identified and removed. Not doing so can cause damage that may take years to repair. It is our responsibility to act as stewards of our profession and organization and not allow toxic people to drag us down.

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      Scott Crawford

      By listening to the examples of these leaders, it shouldn`t be hard to identify and eliminate them. Why do they continue to lead. I`ve had several toxic subordinates, they usually aren`t around long.

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    Scott Crawford

    By the descriptions given in this lecture of a Toxic Leader, it makes me wonder why there are so many out there. It seems like the # 1 goal of any organization or agency would be to rid themselves of these leaders. Why do agencies continue to let these leaders destroy them from the inside out. Do they know they are there and chose not to do anything about them?

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      Buck Wilkins

      Scott it's not that they don't try to get rid of them. It's that they produce them. Every time they promote someone that does not truly deserve it. it seems that they create a monster.

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      Derek Champagne

      I feel like sometimes they do not want to admit they made a mistake and that is why they continue to let them cause havoc. They believe it is easier to say they didn't know about the problem instead of dealing with it.

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        Stan Felts

        I think you hit the nail on the head with the statement "They do not want to admit they made a mistake and that is why they continue to let them cause havoc." I literally heard someone in command acknowledge they made a mistake in promoting a toxic leader, and then go on to leave them in the position because they felt it was their fault for promoting them. Craziest thing I've ever seen

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    Buck Wilkins

    Through my 27 years at the same agency we have had Toxic leaders most have gone on to other things but every once in a while you can find one. Even though they were not led by a toxic leader they became one when they got promoted it's like they put rank on your collar and you and see an immediate change in them like they forgot where they came from.

    • Edit

      I agree and it's sad. There are really some people that allow "rank to go to their head" as they say. I think this is a product of a poorly developed leader in most cases who is resorting to tactics they used on the street, which were effective. I think a lot of "rank heavy" leaders are products of insufficient leadership training.

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      Darryl Richardson

      Buck, I agree with you. Occasionally you get someone that is promoted and as soon as they put those stripes on, they forget who they are. I always tell people when they are promoted not to forget where they came from. Some of them listen and become great supervisors while others don’t.

  • Edit

    The presence of toxic leaders I think is an unfortunate consequence of any place of employment. Those that are self centered, willing to intimidate and coerce others for their advantage are products of their own poor character. I do however think we have the responsibility to thwart those behaviors whenever possible as a toxic employee will lead to a toxic leader who can do even more damage. The efficiency and trust within a public safety environment simply can't tolerate these types of leaders and operate at a high level.

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      Kevin Balser

      We as credible leaders certainly do have the responsibility to address the toxic leaders who can be detrimental to the success of that team and to the future of the organization's success.

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    Brent Olson

    Toxic leadership is a topic that I think many of us find it very easy to discuss or talk about. It is very easy to remember working for a toxic leader and their effect on us personally as well as on the organization. I found it interesting when Watt talked about how hard it was to actually define toxic leadership. It is easy to provide characteristic traits of a toxic leader, but a hard concept to narrow down to a specific definition. I thought the part of the session that provided an action plan on what I can do about toxic leaders will be exceptionally helpful. In working under toxic leaders in the past, I know I felt like there was nothing I could do to change what was happening. It seemed like an endless cycle that would never end or get any better. I will strive everyday as a leader to make sure I am never creating a toxic environment for anyone that I supervise.

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      Ronald Springer

      Brent,
      I agree and understand. It is not only easy to discuss but interesting to see what colleagues say about toxic leadership. I know I have supervisors from my own agency that are in this discussion board. I couldn’t help but see what they said to see if we had similar responses. I also plan to never allow myself to bring that type of hazard to my team.

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    Derek Champagne

    Several years ago we had someone promoted to a position of power and in charge of over 150 employees. This person was the definition of a toxic leader and forced great officers to leave during his time. We are 4 years removed from this toxic leader leaving our section and we are still picking up the pieces of the damage he caused. Since he left our section, he was moved to another section where he did the exact same thing. He has moved three times total in four years and it appears the can just keep getting kicked down the road and he continues to cause havoc.

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      Burt Hazeltine

      So often the toxic leader is moved around to "find the right fit." These leaders are often good at making themselves look good to those above them. This prevents their supervisors from seeing the true harm they are causing. Too often when their supervisor realizes this the damage has already been done.

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    Jay Callaghan

    The strategies on how to handle a toxic leader are spot on. Randy's suggestions paid dividends for me during my unfortunate 20+ year experience with a toxic leader. I came from a mid sized department and this administrator was the epitome of a toxic leader. He played a part in my decision to retire and not to continue to promote. However, the coping skills I used were similar to Randy's suggestions. There were many times, he tried to get me to respond; but I wouldn't take the bait. I maintained my professionalism and credibility. As the professor, mentioned, I was also dumbfounded by the tolerance level my administration afforded this individual. He finally was forced to retire, 2 years after I did because he burned every conceivable bridge that he had no more allies w/in the administration. Sadly, this individual had the skill set to be a good leader but chose to be toxic.

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      Kenneth Davis

      Jay- I wrote on the TL subject and reflected upon just how difficult it was to function under such a person in a previous professional experience. These folks are extremely dangerous, both to organizations and the people that commit to making them better. It is surprising the hold that these folks seem to have on so many folks early on in their tenure.

      Best and stay safe-

      Ken

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    Kenneth Davis

    I have experienced just this type of leader in a previous assignment. the individual in question was completely arrogant, but had everyone in the hierarchy, including the Governor completely fooled. What was dangerous is the fact that this individual was given the keys to running a state agency that was responsible for several safety liaisons and emergency management and planning functions. He completely dismantled specific command and response structures that were in place and had proven effective on numerous occasions. I will share more on this at our residency, but suffice it to say this was truly the most difficult assignment in my career. The agency itself is still recovering from the damage this person inflicted. He was in place just shy of two years, but the damage he inflicted is absolutely staggering. The agency is still recovering from the remains of his departure five years ago.

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      Robert Vinson

      I've read several of these experiences of toxic leadership and one theme seems to be a constant - the toxic leaders have devastating and lasting effect on their agency. It's staggering that they can leave years worth of negativity after relatively short tenures.

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        Chris Crawford

        Agreed. i will never understand how they often fool so many of the higher ups and by the time they leave have them wondering why is the department in this shape and what happened.

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        Andrew Peyton

        It really is a shame that this style goes on for so long and the effects it has on personnel before it is typically rectified. Often, the agency suffers a great loss in personnel before the issue is resolved.

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    Ronald Springer

    I have worked with people that have had toxic traits and if not intervention would have become toxic leaders. When toxic leadership was first mentioned in the leadership program in our agency many names were given this title. However after the full description of a true toxic leader I can say I have never worked directly for a toxic leader. I can identify many supervisors that I have worked with in the past or currently that have some of these traits. Often the best course of action was to ignore them and minimize the effect they have on the team and organization.
    Watt, R. (2017). Toxic leadership. Module 11, Weeks 5 & 6. National Command and Staff College.

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    Kaiana Knight

    This module really covered Toxic Leadership well. I really like the toxic leadership imperatives that were explained in the lecture on how to deal with a toxic leader. My favorite was keeping your emotions in check. I've work with a toxic leader and they loved knowing when someone was upset about their actions, they thrived off emotions. I agree that toxic leaders have their superiors fooled, I've seen it first hand where they are known to be excellent leaders to people that they do not work in the same building with. It's either their way or no way at all, and that is a problem for anyone working with a toxic leader. I also agree with the that statement made in the lesson that, it is impossible for a credible leader to be toxic.

    • Edit

      These are nearly my thoughts exactly. I did like Randy's conclusion that credibility cannot equal toxicity. I shake my head in disappointment at the fact toxic leaders are not more clearly seen by their leaders/boss. My current chief is extremely toxic and I do not believe those above him would even slightly agree with me or the other six sergeants who also see it. We had an effective, yet slightly toxic, Commander quit, and he essentially told me our Chief was incompetent and toxic along with many other leaders within the Town departments. Yet too many people do not seem to care or are even aware. So very frustrating!

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    Robert Vinson

    I appreciated the fact that Mr. Watt not only defined toxic leadership and identified the traits of toxic leaders, but also left us with the Toxic Leader Imperatives that outlined a means to deal with toxic leadership.

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    Chris Crawford

    I have worked with many toxic leaders over the years. At this point I can spot them almost immediately. It does still baffle me that many times the higher ups don't see it until the damage is done.

    • Edit

      Chris, I do not think that the higherups does not realize or see them. I think the brass realizes what is going on and doesn't want to "eat crow" or admit they made a bad decision.

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    Burt Hazeltine

    Toxic leadership is a topic that is important for all levels of leadership. Actually, the higher up in an organization a leader is the more important it is to be able to recognize a toxic leader below them. Too often toxic leaders can accomplish enough tasks to make their supervisors feel that they are indispensable. If they can reach this status the higher-ups tend to not look at the subordinates below that leader. Then the toxic leader is not held accountable for how they treat those below them,

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    Kevin Balser

    Unfortunately, I believe that there is currently a toxic leader within my organization. This individual is not in my chain of command but another division. It may be unfair for me to comment as I do not work directly for this leader, but the points that I have gleaned from this presentation, I believe that this individual is a toxic leader. This leader has all of the classic signs of a toxic leader. This leader is not visible, very rigid, and does not promote other members of the team to offer advice. This leader is self-serving and he promotes only himself to the upper management. There have been instances in the past where extreme disciplinary action was taken against a team member by this leader. But, this action was perceived as extreme and believed to be motivated so that he could make himself look the star to the upper management. This sent an improper message to the organization. Instead of everyone wanting to board this leader's ship, the opposite is occurring. Most want to jump off because of poor leadership. I believe this leader has higher aspirations and undoubtedly he will leave the team in a far worse place than when it started with his command if not addressed. This toxic leader eats first while the true leaders eat last.

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    Darryl Richardson

    A toxic leader can totally destroy the morale of their subordinates as well as the organization's morale. Unfortunately, I have worked for a toxic leader, who only cares themselves. All too often did that supervisor not pass on important information to other supervisors just so that way they could pass on the information to Administration so that way they looked better. When things went wrong they would always find someone else involved to place the blame on. That supervisor continuously broke down the morale of their subordinates.

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      Jose Alvarenga

      Seems that upper leadership sometimes fails the agency by allowing this type of leader to be in the ranks. It isn't as though they are difficult to find. Everyone being held accountable can minimize this type of toxic leadership.

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    Andrew Peyton

    Toxic leaders seem to be something we have all experienced. My experience with a toxic leader did just as described, led to morale issues, low productivity, and the loss of several good officers. These leader seem to possess that characteristics of a shakedown leader. This module worked well with the two previous modules.

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      Jeff Byrne

      Agree, Andrew. Definitely a shakedown leader that can be so cancerous and destructive within an agency. We must all strive to be the credible leaders WE are so the toxicity doesn't spread anymore that it likely has in the agency.

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    Jose Alvarenga

    I think its safe to say that toxic leaders are found in all professions including law enforcement. In this module we are instructed on the important to staying committed to our values and being a credible leader. This advise is tougher to do then it sounds. It is important to stay strong and not let our emotions get the better of us when dealing with these bullies. One can only hope that leaders above these toxic leaders will do their part in creating a better environment for everyone in the agency.

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    Toxic leaders are present in all organizations. It seems as though a toxic leader posses the Shakedown style. One without the other is detrimental enough to team members and the team. An organization having both will be tragic for everyone. The whole situation is exactly what it is called "TOXIC."

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      David Mascaro

      Yes sir. I agree and it spreads like a cancer. In this day and age when our youngest officers are not apt to staying at a job for long if it doesn't suit them, this is a dangerous combination. Agencies tend to believe that they will simply replace officers they are losing due this type of environment, but we are not seeing the quality and numbers of applicants as before.

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    David Mascaro

    The Toxic Leader is present in all organizations that I've worked for, to include the military. You would think that upper management/executives at the highest levels would seek this out and eliminate them from the organizations, however I believe they have unfortunately turned a blind eye to the men and woman who actually do the job. Its easier for them to go along with this behavior, until eventually it's too late. I am watching the same happen at my organization and it's disheartening.

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      Donald Vigil

      I too have seen this both in the military and law enforcement. One theory that I have is that upper management seems to turn a blind eye on them because they are usually competent in their job, which in turn makes managements job easier.

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    Jeff Byrne

    Unfortunately, I believe some level of a toxic leader has existed for my entire career and I can think of one still holding on today. The unfortunate part is previous leadership has failed to document the toxicity which makes it harder to terminate their employment without having to continue to deal with the employee through termination lawsuits. Holding toxic leaders accountable and documenting the behavior is something we must get better at doing.

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    I’ve taught Employment Background Investigation classes and a key topic of discussion is the toxic employee. We discuss what toxicity looks like and the effect the toxic employee can have on an organization. More importantly, we discuss the importance of recognizing such characteristics and, hopefully, keeping that person from joining your organization.

    Toxicity can often be hidden or appear to be charismatic or personable. However, that disguise quickly goes away and seeps into the minds of many others, culminating in an infectious tone of despair, lack of joy, and constant disapproval of others. Quite simply: Toxicity is a disease which is most easily preventable from spreading by not allowing it to have access.

    When a leader is toxic, it is difficult to remove and combat it. Randy Watt had some good advice, but there are times even supervisors have little impact on changing the toxic manager. The best advice is to not let my boss’s toxicity to change how I behave. Sadly, it often comes down to the toxic person leaving, or me making a choice to find a better environment.

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      Jacqueline Dahms

      I agree that toxicity can be very charismatic and caring at times, but it is very short lived. How very quickly they return to their old habits. As credible leaders we instinctively know what is right and care for our subordinates and teams. We must continue to be a beacon for those that desperately need to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

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    Zach Roberts

    I agree with the idea of rehabilitation and intervention for toxic leaders. I do however consider what the repercussions of this would be for those who are subordinates of the leader. I think intervention mixed with some training would be beneficial. Some leaders do not want to be toxic but unfortunately only know how to lead one way. Many new leaders are put into positions without any training or understanding of what it takes to be a supervisor. There are however, some leaders who are just not going to want to change and strive off of being toxic.

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    Jacqueline Dahms

    I believe everyone has had experience with toxic people in our lives. I have had toxic co-workers, supervisors, peers and friends that are toxic. It surprises me a little how long these toxic people can get away with it. I believe more and more people are getting educated in effective leadership and improving on interpersonal communication skills. For myself, getting rid of a toxic employees has been about constant documentation and conferences. I currently have a toxic peer that I deal with from time to time. It has come down to zero interaction between us and my supervisors are ok with that.

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    Donald Vigil

    This module brought back memories that I really don't care to think about. Like many have said here, I think a majority of us have worked alongside or for toxic leaders. Working for a small agency it's hard to distance yourself from these individuals. Thankfully the few that we had were pushed out when a new administration took over a few years ago. Although one positive I got from these type of leaders was to not follow in their footsteps.

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      Jared Paul

      Donald,

      I have also worked for a small agency and know what you are talking about. It is very difficult to distance yourself when you have to work so closely with the other individuals. It is good to hear that your new administration helped clear out the toxic workers.

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      Andrew Ashton

      I agree in a small agency it is hard to distance from toxic individuals as with fewer people there is more day to day contact. In a larger agency you can get some distance unless you fall under the same division. That has been my experience. At time you must be able to callout those types of leaders for what they are. Once identified they lose their power and others either adapt to the toxic style or they type cast themselves within the agency.

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    Jared Paul

    I think the most helpful part in this module was what can be done when you work with or for a toxic leader. I have seen time and time again when good officers work with toxic ones, as well as, good leaders working with toxic ones. I feel like it is easier for supervisors to maintain a positive climate when working with a toxic supervisor. However, it is much harder to maintain that climate when working for a toxic leader. It is important to keep that positivity going and keep your head up, but it can be very difficult and tiring.

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    Andrew Ashton

    Over my time in Law Enforcement I have worked for both blatant and passive toxic leaders. I personally feel that the passive ones are more detrimental to the agency and the people as a whole. Those who are blatantly out for themselves are easily identified and can be dealt with in turn. Those who are more passive will erode the agency quietly while not drawing too much attention. They will subtly take credit for victories while planting the seeds of dissension for personal gain.