The core traits of TOXIC bosses – does YOUR manager have one?

The core traits of TOXIC bosses: Scientists identify 5 key traits – so does YOUR manager have one?

  • Scientists tried to understand what makes a toxic leader
  • They revealed 5 key traits, including being jealous of their team’s success

From Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada to Mr Burns in The Simpsons, bad bosses have been staples of blockbuster hits for years.

But what makes a truly toxic leader?

In his new book, Professor Simon L Dolan, a professor at the Advantere School of Management, tries to understand the characteristics of toxic leaders.

His research reveals five key traits, including being jealous of their team’s success and being constantly concerned about competition or “enemies” in the workplace.

“There are many factors that contribute to a toxic personality, including a compulsive need to show others their worth, but most importantly a lack of deep-seated self-esteem,” explains Professor Dolan.

From Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada (pictured) to Mr Burns in The Simpsons, bad bosses have been staples of blockbusters for years

The 5 most important traits of toxic leaders

  1. Jealous of their team’s success
  2. Constantly concerned about competition or ‘enemies’ in the workplace
  3. Often took credit for other people’s work
  4. Constantly comparing himself to others
  5. Think of their self-esteem as driven solely by their latest results

“This is usually a culmination of a lack of ethical and emotional development throughout their lives.”

Professor Dolan’s new book, De-Stress at Work, is designed to help employees understand if their manager is toxic and what they can do about it.

“Leadership can make or break an organization,” he said. “A bad leader can demotivate teams, cause low morale and the effect on teams can be devastating.”

He pared down the traits of toxic leaders to reveal five key traits:

  1. Jealous of their team’s success
  2. Constantly concerned about competition or ‘enemies’ in the workplace
  3. Often took credit for other people’s work
  4. Constantly comparing himself to others
  5. Think of their self-esteem as driven solely by their latest results

According to Professor Dolan, one of the main problems with toxic leaders is their belief that they need “superhuman qualities of stamina and strength.”

His research reveals five key traits, including being jealous of their team's success and being constantly concerned about competition or

His research reveals five key traits, including being jealous of their team’s success and being constantly concerned about competition or “enemies” in the workplace. Pictured: Mr. Burns from The Simpsons

“This can be really damaging because they have to hide their feelings even when they’re under tremendous pressure,” he said.

Pretending to be a superhuman causes a lot of damage to the mind and body – the important thing is to be realistic about your strengths and weaknesses.

“A leader must be able to proactively manage his emotions well enough to radiate calm and rationality to his teams.”

If you’re a manager, there are several things you can do to make sure you don’t fall on the slippery slope of becoming a toxic leader.

This includes improving communication with your team and implementing relaxation techniques, says Professor Dolan.

“While leaders are expected to be confident, it’s important not to confuse this with overconfidence,” he said.

“A good leader should be respectful, supportive and drive growth – not just someone who is confident.”

Bad news for bosses: “Stop Silence” trend for micro breaks actually makes employees BETTER at their jobs

“Quitting quietly” is a trend that TikTok has adopted in recent weeks, with Gen Z employees doing the bare minimum at work to avoid burnout.

The trend has been largely criticized by experts, one of whom calls it a “short-term fix.”

However, a new study suggests that the trend could actually make workers better at their jobs.

Researchers at the West University of Timioara found that taking small breaks can boost energy and reduce fatigue at work.

“Micropauses are efficient in maintaining high levels of strength and reducing fatigue,” the researchers wrote in their study, published in PLOS ONE.

While micro-breaks didn’t seem to affect task performance, the researchers found that longer breaks did.

Based on the findings, the researchers suggest that bosses should offer their employees a combination of microbreaks and longer breaks.

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