Influence and Impact - Are You a Toxic Leader?

Posted By: Kendehl Rojanasthien Articles , Industry Trends ,
I LOVE Robert Glazer and am an avid reader of his content. His recent article on Toxic Leadership is a jumping-off point for a workshop I facilitated recently. Give it a read, and then work through the exercise below.
Please ask yourself – do any of the hallmarks of a toxic leader resonate with me? Be brutally honest with yourself. Do you see yourself in any of those characteristics?

If so, how can you change that while also seeking excellence?

There is no shame in this exercise – we all have strengths and weaknesses, and the true measure of a leader is our ability to incorporate feedback to continue to grow.

Find a group of trusted leaders - ideally, those who know you, but are outside of your direct chain of command (above and below). You’ll want to set aside 1-2 hours to debrief together in a confidential space.

Once your group is chosen - no more than 6 people max to ensure an intimate setting where honesty and feedback prevail - each of you will prepare in advance by working through the following questions:

  1. What do you want to be known for, and why? Do you think you are currently known for that? If not, how can you pivot?

  2. Please seek out feedback from those who report to you, the people you interact with at work in other departments, and from leadership above you including your supervisor, their supervisor, and other leaders above you that you don’t report to. Come prepared with feedback from at least 3 people, 1 from below, 1 across, and 1 above. I recommend asking people that you vibe with, and also those you don’t see eye to eye with as they will probably have the most actionable insights for you. Pick up the phone or better yet, ask in person. Let them know in advance that you’re hoping for their honest, unvarnished feedback so that you can grow. Don’t hide behind email! You will not get the most honest feedback this way and it’s too easy for people to ignore an uncomfortable ask this way.

  3. How does your leadership style impact those around you – your direct reports, your teams, your colleagues in other departments, your customers, and/or your clients? How does it impact those you report to, all the way up to company ownership and/or shareholders?

  4. Is this style working for you? Is it working for those below, across, and above you on the organizational chart? If not, what needs to change? If it is working, why is it working? What did you learn about what others appreciate about you? How can you continue to develop that skillset to create even more positive momentum?

Be sure each individual in the group has an opportunity to share their answers for each question, including the feedback they received. Every person in the group should contribute by providing feedback and asking curious questions to help elicit growth from that person.

If it hurts a little, it means you’re growing! And that’s the most important part.


Kendehl Rojanasthien is passionate about living life fully. For her, that means encouraging and believing in herself, her family and friends with an eye towards reaching our full potential - a life of joy, love, integrity, and going after our dreams.

VISIT HER BLOG HERE.