Impact of Destructive Leadership

Subject: Leadership Styles
Pages: 4
Words: 560
Reading time:
3 min

A destructive leader is characterized by excessive use of power and control, self-centered qualities, and harmful behaviors. Significantly, dangerous leaders are narcissists who demonstrate a high level of charisma. Usually, there are two groups of followers, such as conformers, who are afraid not to follow because of low self-esteem, and colluders, who ambitiously aim to receive benefits for themselves. Mackey et al. (2021) state that destructive leadership is a significant issue for organizations because it impacts followers’ responsibilities, task performance, and motivation in general. Long and Hays (2018) demonstrate an example of a destructive leader, namely Martin Shkreli, the former CEO of Retrophin and Turing Pharmaceuticals. Essentially, Martin was internationally acclaimed because Turing purchased a license for the Daraprim drug and significantly increased the cost per pill from $13.50 to $750.00. Consequently, Shkreli received his punishment for securities fraud and currently servicing seven years in prison (Mackey et al., 2021).

From my point of view, Shkreli’s charisma and power played a significant role in getting followers and leading them in the wrong direction. According to Long and Hays (2018), prosecutors claimed that Martin was a master manipulator who was deceiving wealthy investors, and as a result, had many followers. Moreover, he was acting according to accomplish his own goals on behalf of the followers. Suppose I face destructive traits in the organization, such as lack of moral philosophy and excessive self-interest. In that case, I will try to collectively combat abusive and toxic leadership through educating staff and conducting group sessions on values, norms, and ethics. Pandey et al. (2021) argue that a better understanding of destructive leadership traits will provide insights for managers and help employees when facing abusive behavior. Essentially, good leaders will never destroy subordinates’ confidence or ignore feedback. Unethical leadership may negatively impact employees’ well-being (Molino et al., 2019). Hou (2017) suggests that destructive leaders also influence employees’ innovative behaviors and ideas. Usually, people follow a destructive leader because of their uncertainty avoidance, high-power distance, and collectivism. Thus, they aim to feel belonging to the leader and organization in general without questioning his leadership skills and methods. Sometimes, innovative ideas are not shared within the organization because employees fear being judged by a leader, which, as a result, impacts the company’s success.

Consequently, it is crucial to train the organization’s members to value their sense of self and resist unfair and destructive behavior. In addition, it is practical to implement specific organizational procedures, namely psychological examinations, that may reveal potential bad leaders. The procedures will enable to identify if the person is suitable for the position and corporate culture. Significantly, based on the results for the abusive leadership questionnaire, my self-ratings are than the average ratings of others, which means that I do not have traits of a destructive leader. Without a doubt, I never ridicule others, break promises, ignore opinions, or behave rudely. I entirely understand that a leader should not use power and control to achieve his personal goals.

In addition, I entirely agree that if employers face a leader’s abusive behavior, they should speak openly about their concerns and fears in the organization. Leadership is a manifestation of moral values and adherence to principles. To conclude, I emphasize that a good leader is always truthful, honest, dedicated to the team, does not tolerate toxic behaviors in the company, and has a clear mission.


Hou, X. (2017). Multilevel influence of destructive leadership on millennial generation employees’ innovative behavior. Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal, 45(7), 1113-1126. Web.

Long, C., & Hays, T. (2018). ‘Pharma Bro’ Martin Shkreli cries in court, is sentenced to 7 years for securities fraud. Retrieved from Chicago Tribune. Web.

Mackey, J. D., Parker Ellen, B., McAllister, C. P., & Alexander, K. C. (2021). The dark side of leadership: A systematic literature review and meta-analysis of destructive leadership research. Journal of Business Research, 132, 705–718. Web.

Molino, M., Cortese, C. G., & Ghislieri, C. (2019). Unsustainable working conditions: The association of destructive leadership, use of technology, and workload with workaholism and exhaustion. Sustainability, 11(2), 446. Web.

Pandey, A., Nambudiri, R., Selvaraj, P. and Sadh, A. (2021), “A temporal study on subordinate’s response to destructive leadership: voice withdrawal as a conflict coping mechanism”, International Journal of Conflict Management, Vol. 32 No. 5, pp. 886-911. Web.