Are You A Toxic Business Owner?

Authentic Leadership or Toxic Leadership…
You Be the Judge
Are You A Toxic Business Owner?

One of the most important aspects of building a successful sustainable business is attracting and keeping a great support Team. A great Team can make you or break you, help you or hinder you. Your leadership skills and abilities have a direct impact on how you manage and interact with your team and the “culture” you create within your business. Yes indeed! The buck stops with you, the entrepreneur…the business owner.

Is your Team remaining loyal to you in the tough times and not jumping ship?  Is your Team more excited to work for you because of the opportunity than the financial compensation?  Are they happy to begin their work day?  Do they do whatever is necessary to get the job done even if it means some long hours? Does your Team participate and provide input or simply react to the chores at hand? Have you lost your best Team member overnight and without warning or explanation?  If you answer negatively to these questions, maybe you need a leadership makeover.  Is it you?

“To lead people, walk beside them … As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence. The next best, the people honor and praise. The next, the people fear; and the next, the people hate … When the best leader’s work is done the people say, ‘We did it ourselves!‘”

— Lao-tsu

There are many types of leadership styles; however, the point of this article is to point out toxic leadership styles.  Why? Because I’ve lived it from several perspectives and I’ve seen it nearly ruin and break some of the best people I know.

There are 2 categories of leadership styles: Authentic Leadership and Toxic Leadership.   Authentic leaders believe in creating positive culture for training, developing, participation and nurturing of their Team for the good of the business (which includes mission, vision and goals). This leadership style tends to be uplifting and empowering for the Team.

On the other hand, Toxic Leaders believe in leading through power and fear. Some of their characteristics may include: Arrogance, selfishness, passive-aggressiveness, lack of integrity, maliciousness, and they may be driven by greed.

Of all of the Toxic Leadership characteristics, below are the most common and detrimental to Team building and retaining a team that takes you into the future.  They are:

  • Bully Leaders  Bully Leaders tend to deliberately hurt others, put them down and invalidate their opinions. They may have tendencies to have unexpected violent outbursts for reasons of effect.
  • Rigid and Controlling Leaders          Rigid and controlling leaders are inflexible, unreasonable, and do not let others voice their creative opinions.  They operate by a mentality that their way is right period! Rarely are “pleases” and “thank you’s” expressed.
  • Narcissistic Leaders   These leaders are materialistic, manipulative and will exploit team members in order to promote themselves. They might even blame Team members for failures rather than recognizing that they may be at fault for something that has gone poorly.

If any of these characteristics hit a nerve with you either you’ve worked with/for someone like this or you might relate to acting like one of these leaders.  Toxic Leaders destroy businesses and people. Authentic Leaders build businesses and people.

To sum things up, if you want to attract and build a great Team you need to develop an Authentic Leadership style, even if you think you don’t need to. There are many books and resources available to help you develop good leadership skills. One of my first suggestions is Dale Carnegie’s… “How To Win Friends and Influence People”.  You can get a free pdf. Download at:

“Be who you are, and strive to be the best “who you are”… everyday”  Gail Saseen

“Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation, for your character is what you are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”
  Dale Carnegie

You can see my top 50 leadership quotes of all time by visiting

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Gail Saseen is an author and information marketing business coach and consultant.  She has a unique ability for communicating complex marketing and technology concepts in simplified and understandable language.  Gail is an internationally recognized authority in the areas of: marketing strategy and planning, systems development, direct mail, social media marketing, website and technology implementation, product development, information marketing and coaching.  Gail assists small business owners and entrepreneurs develop business systems and goals and strategic plans using S.M.A.R.T. Principles. – Free Gift