Destructive leadership is defined as a system of regular behaviors exhibited by a leader, manager, or supervisor, which violates the legitimate interest of an organization by undermining its resources, employees’ effectiveness and motivation, as well as their mental well-being. Toxic leaders tend to create unfavorable environments in the workplace by means of elevating themselves over others (Northouse 256). The toxic triangle is represented by toxic leaders, their conformers who are willing followers, and colluders who share the same negative values and can support the leader’s agenda. The case study concerning Dr. Chen illustrates the presence of destructive leadership on the part of a university’s upper administrator. Even though Dr. Chen has been widely recognized for her contribution to research and the attainment of financial support to the university, she exhibits open hostility to lower-ranked workers and dismisses their role, and Sophia Lopez encountered unfavorable treatment on the part of Dr. Chen.
When encountering destructive leadership, employees such as Ms. Lopez should not oppose destructive leaders but rather distance themselves from the negative situation and inform about their experience to the higher-ranked leaders at the organization. In addition, it is necessary not to get into an argument with the destructive leader because of the potential ramifications. Institutions and organizations should never avoid instances of harmful and toxic leadership. To manage the situation, it is necessary to communicate clear expectations of a respectful and supporting climate and equal treatment for all employees as developing such an environment may not be an intuitive process for all leaders. In addition, to prevent toxic leaders such as Dr. Chen from relying on conformers and colluders, employee development should be an explicit criterion for reducing the likelihood of destructive behaviors on the part of the higher-ranked staff.
Northouse, Peter. Introduction to Leadership: Concepts and Practice. SAGE Publications, 2019.