Fostering Excellence
Bringing out the best in each of us
Good leadership is a must for any organization, and when poor leadership exists, teams usually suffer. To be fair, no leader is perfect and faults are inherent in any employee, be they a leader or a follower. That stated, some behaviors go beyond human error and create toxic environments in the workplace.

Failures in accountability, favoritism, and allowing problems to fester create toxic atmospheres which kill morale, stifle initiative and dampen productivity. Self-serving behaviors and micromanagement leave employees feeling powerless in a construct that only serves the leader. These behaviors should be avoided in leaders at all costs:
No accountability - Leaders who fail to follow up on expectations, or who shelter poor performers not only fail to inspire, they also alienate their highest performers. Your team members want challenging expectations and a leader who hold them accountable for meeting them. Not following up communicates that you do not care if your team succeeds or fails. Furthermore, high performers want to work on a team with members who will partner with them as they seek excellence. Poor performers who find a safe haven with a toxic leader ultimately punish and alienate the team’s high performers. Avoid this pitfall by holding your teams accountable to clear, challenging and measurable standards!

Partiality – Leaders who favor some subordinates over others kill team morale. Team members want to be valued for their contributions to the team, not for their affinity with their boss. Team members need to operate on a level playing field that values their talents, work ethic, and innovations. Bosses who are partial to some employees destroy healthy work environments and estrange the very best employees upon whom they ultimately depend on for success. Treating all your employees fairly is critical for a healthy work environment.

Ignores festering problems – Every office will have challenges; it is the nature of any enterprise. Challenges make the business worth doing and provide true value to success. When problems are allowed to fester, without a concerted effort by a leader to resolve them, they cease to be mountains to climb and become stumbling blocks to success and high morale. Tackle those problems, involve the team, and climb that mountain!

Task Oriented – Inspiring leaders will hold their teams accountable for goals and deliverables, not on accomplishing tasks in a “just so” manner. Bosses who prescribe how teams accomplish those goals, deciding all the procedures, methodologies, and processes ultimately unempower their teams and strip them of their ability to innovate and create. Empower your team by giving end-states, and let them decide for themselves how to meet them!

Self Seeking – Leaders who use their organization, their efforts and successes, to further their own careers destroy the trust they have with their subordinates. Only servant leaders who care for and look after the careers of their subordinates can bring the best out of them. Those who use subordinates as stepping stones, poison team atmospheres reducing morale and productivity. Serve those whom you lead!

5 Attributes of a Toxic Leader

What to Do When You Hate
Your Job

What to Do When You Have an Unhappy Workforce

Products and Services

Healthy Employer-Employee Relationships

Toxic leaders engage in behaviors that destroy teams, lower productivity and hurt morale. These types of leaders need to be moved on and replaced with inspiring, serving, and empowering leaders who challenge teams to excel in their craft and reach lofty goals. Examine your organization and do all you can to eliminate the above toxic behaviors.

Michael Farr, PMP, is a Chief Master Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force and founder of He is passionate about recognition and enabling professionals to motivate their organizations through recognizing their member’s excellence. When he is not slaying dragons with his kids, he can be found at @fosterxcellence on Twitter and @fosteringexcellence on Facebook.