5 Reasons Smart, Toxic Bosses Will Destroy Your Results

Karin Hurt & David Dye, Authors, Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results Without Losing Your Soul

5 Reasons Smart, Toxic Bosses Will Destroy Your Results

The board cares about winning and this guy is helping you win. He gets it done. It's hard to argue with the results. So what if he's ruffling a few feathers... with his team, with his peers, with HR, with IT? Does it really matter if his team “likes” him? This is business.

The better he does, the better you look. And so you choose to look the other way, shrug your shoulders and chalk it up to the cost of genius.

You may think, “his team just needs a thicker skin—those millennials just don’t appreciate old-fashioned leadership. Even Simon Sinek says millennials suffer from “failed parenting strategies, impatience, and cell phone addiction.”

The problem is, fear and intimidation work for a minute, like gas on a fire—but your most talented managers have too many options to put up with a jerky boss. These quick wins come at a high price: innovation, commitment, and quite frankly, your ability to know the truth.

We’re always amazed at the aftermath when a guy like this finally implodes… the bad news that crawls out of the woodwork is startling.

5 Reasons Smart Toxic Managers Destroy Results

If you’re hearing rumblings that something’s not right with one of your key players, we encourage you to dig deeper. Here are 4 reasons why.

1. Everyone's Taking Notes
We've seen enough focus groups across the world to tell you-- when you promote the jerk, people assume it's the jerk behavior that sealed the deal. No one assumes they got promoted in spite of their obvious lack of couth. You've just sanctioned destructive behavior that people now justify to themselves as the "only way" to make it. The behavior you’re tolerating now becomes contagious.

2. You Won’t Know What’s Really Going On
If he’s manipulating them, chances are he’s manipulating you. You may not see it, because that’s all part of the game. You’re hearing exactly what he wants you to hear… which is that everything’s on track, he’s a rock star, and he’s handling the frustrations of his team so you don’t have to.

3. You Instantly Tank Your Credibility
Even if you spend most of your time leading as a Winning Well manager, you'll lose the hearts and minds of those looking up to you believing it's possible to get results-- without losing your soul. Promoting a jerk who gets (short-term) results without looking at the impact on the relationships they need to sustain them, is a credibility busting move with the people you need for lasting success.

4. You Fuel the "Why Bother" Factor
When you continue to support the "witch (insert any consonant you like here)”, there's going to be a certain segment of your box 9  high potential employees who are going to shout "no way! If that's what it takes to succeed, I'm not interested." They won't say much, and they'll keep up appearances-- but the extra effort will likely go elsewhere. Your best employees are always working hard... it's just a matter of where they're investing their energy.

5. You Settling for Sub-Optimal Results
Toxic managers who hide behind the mantle of ‘results-oriented’ aren’t getting the best results nor can they sustain those results over time. Fear-based management gets the least best effort from employees. Their employees work only to avoid the negative consequences and they stop trying as soon as the pressure is off. Your success requires energized teams working together, not doing the least they can to avoid punishment.

Don't underestimate the consequences of supporting smart, toxic managers. Sure, it's the path of least resistance. What would happen if you invested strategically in their development to help them grow past it?

[Image courtesy: thetaxhaven]

About the Author

Karin Hurt and David Dye are keynote speakers and the award-winning authors of Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results Without Losing Your Soul. Karin is a top leadership consultant and CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders. A former Verizon Wireless executive, she was named to Inc. Magazine’s list of great leadership speakers. David Dye is a former executive, elected official, and president of Trailblaze, Inc., a leadership training and consulting firm.