JANUARY 16, 2024

The Many Challenges Of Cleaning House Of Toxic Leaders

One of the benefits of DEIB has been the exposure and firing of toxic leaders.

Several of the organizations we have been working with have identified corrupt, unethical, insensitive leaders, directors, and managers and are cleaning house.

However, it took way too long. There were all kinds of excuses. I heard things like, “But he’s instrumental to the organization,” or, “He’s the only one who understands our systems.”

Bad behavior was allowed until it came to a breaking point, when the CEO finally said, “Enough. No more. We’re cleaning house.”

In fact, there seems to be a rise in lawsuits in this area, almost as if the toxic leaders who are finally being ousted are saying, “You never said anything before, and now you want to get rid of me? I just adapted to your low standard!”

In other words, leaders tolerated bad behavior knowing (at least on some level) that these toxic executives intimidated or aggrieved employees.

While vital for long-term organizational health, cleaning house does pose some problems for leaders in the short term.

First are the assumptions staff will make:

  • How could they allow this to go on and on?
  • They don’t care about us, just covering their buts.
  • They are all the same.

Then there’s the problem of the double standard.

When leaders lead from fear, they’re afraid to stand up and say what needs to be said to their executives. Yet, at the same time, they have no tolerance for the same behavior in the ranks, and sometimes even make middle managers do their dirty work.

It’s easier to hold people who are trying to do the right thing accountable.

Don’t wait until you’re at your breaking point. Here are some strategies you can use to clean up toxic work environments.

Sometimes organizations need a hired gun to clean house because they don’t know how to do it themselves, as all these lawsuits show.

If you’re finally grabbing the bull by the horns and are cleaning house of toxic leaders, and could use some help, let us know.