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Common Toxic Leadership Traits to Look Out For in Malaysian Companies

Common Toxic Leadership Traits to Look Out For in Malaysian Companies

15 Jan 13:00 by HR & Management Reads

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It is not always easy to identify toxic management and leadership traits. Most of the time, negative traits are hidden under a facade. But this doesn’t mean that one should ignore toxic leadership traits when they’re confronted with it. It needs to be identified and managed before it causes further irreparable damage. 


According to a survey by Life Meets Work, more than 50% of employees currently describe their managers as toxic. Other respondents claim that meeting or dealing with their managers and bosses are some of the worst aspects of their job. As an HR outsourcing agency, we believe in the power of positive employee morale. It should come as no surprise that organizations with high employee morale often benefit from increased productivity rates. In this article, we’ll be identifying some toxic management traits. Keep in mind that these are factors that are commonly seen in the workplace. 


Why Addressing Negativity at the Workplace Matters 

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Most Millennial and Gen Z employees want to work in an environment free from toxicity and negativity. It is crucial for both employers and organizations to combat and address negativity at the workplace simply because it affects employee morale. What it does is, it sucks the life force out of your employees, leaving them unfocused and unproductive. 


Some consequences of a negative and toxic workplace include: 

  • Losing valuable employees: If the negativity and toxicity at the workplace are not addressed. You could end up losing some of your most valuable employees. Additionally, studies show that workplace ostracism is associated with high turnover rates all due to job dissatisfaction.

  • Lack of productivity: A hostile environment can cause anxiety to build. And this leads to a lack of productivity. Under great pressure, it is likely that the employees in the organization will be focused on escaping a toxic workplace. To put it simply, this results in frequent absenteeism. Other additional consequences that may affect productivity rates include added workplace stress and poor collaboration. 

  • Lawsuits: The worst-case scenario for any form of workplace harassment would be a lawsuit. These can occur when more serious forms of harassment (e.g. sexual harassment) occurs. 


5 Toxic Management Traits to Look Out For  

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Most people have come across a negative experience at work, at some point in their life. Perhaps you’ve experienced some unsavoury workplace gossip once. The signs, however, can be different when it is perpetrated by a manager and/or supervisor. 


1. Your managers micromanage 

It’s no surprise that being micromanaged is extremely unsettling to the majority of us! But micromanagement does not usually have sinister underlying intentions. Managers who micromanage usually do so because they want their employees to reach their warped idea of perfection. Unfortunately, most managers who micromanage are unaware of their toxic habit. It is up to the manager to recognise and break free from their own micromanaging habits. 


2. Your managers lack boundaries 

Boundaries are more important now more than ever, especially during the current “work from home” period. If your managers and supervisors are contacting you at all hours of the day and night. It shows a lack of respect for your personal boundaries. 

A manager or supervisor who chooses to communicate outside of work hours can also have communication issues. Keep in mind that a manager who cannot communicate effectively is not necessarily a strong one. If your communication skills are not your strongest points, you might want to check out this guide on effective communication.


3. They don’t embrace new ideas

Managers and supervisors with a one-track mind might find it difficult to embrace new ideas — no matter how good it can be. Keep in mind that great leaders accept and challenge new ideas. Rejecting an employee’s idea without further discussion and contemplation is the fastest way to lose your employee’s confidence. As a leader, you’d want to encourage employees to share and collaborate with one another for new ideas. Not impede their brainstorm session. 


4. They’re biased 

When we talk about biased managers. We’re talking about people who play favourites with their staff or refuse to take accountability for their mistakes. Unfortunately, as humans, managers and supervisors fall prey to biases as well. Learn more about common workplace biases here.  


5. Interested only in their own interests 

Good leaders are interested in other people. According to an insightful article by LinkedIn, one key trait found in good leaders is a genuine interest in other people. It might sound like nothing to some. However, it can be difficult to really listen to what your employees are saying. Some benefits to being an interested leader include building a team of engaged employees in the organization. This results in passionate, engaged, and more productive employees. Learn more about the benefits that an engaged and interested leader brings to the workplace include


As an HR outsourcing agency in Malaysia, we've written a number of articles related to leadership. Find out more about them in the articles below! 


Recommended Readings: 


What are some common toxic management and leadership traits that you’ve come across? Share them with us in the comments section below! 


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