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Toxic Leadership Action Plan

Toxic Leadership Action Plan

Sample Answer 

Toxic Leadership Action Plan

Toxic leadership is one that combines self-centered behaviors, motivations, and attitudes that adversely affect the subordinates, the performance mission, and the organization as a whole (Reed & Olsen, 2010). A toxic leader lacks concern for the environment and that of others, which has long-term and short-term negative effects. Such a leader operates from an acute self-interest and inflated self-worth (Armitage, 2015). Craig & Kaiser (2012) assert that a toxic leader will use behavior that is dysfunctional and in a consistent manner to unfairly punish, coerce, intimidate, or deceive others for their selfish gain. The prolonged use of this kind of negative leadership in influencing others undermines the will of the followers, their potential, and initiative, eventually destroying their morale (Mehta & Maheshwari, 2013).

A case study of Toxic Leadership: Identifying the Toxic Leader

Most organizations have leaders that followers can easily interact with and who make work life more fulfilling. However, there are some organizations that have leaders who make employees dread going to work at the organization or even opt to quit their jobs in search of better opportunities (Walumbwa et al., 2011). That said, I would like to bring to the attention of the Human Resources department one of the managers who fit the latter description. The person in question is the Customer Satisfaction (CS) manager, who has consistently displayed the characteristics of a toxic leader. His behavior has continually affected the people he works with at the department and the organization at large. The high employee turnover experienced in the last 17 months can be largely attributed to the CS manager.

Some decisions by the manager have proven that he places his self-interest above that of others in the department. For starters, the manager does not recognize the team member’s contribution to the department. In most incidences, the manager will, during the organization board meetings, take credit for ideas he did not come up with or implement. An example is the recent customer reward program that the department successfully implemented, which resulted in a significant increase in the number of clients that the organization realized in the last quarter. The idea was fronted by two subordinates in the department, planned out by the team, and implemented by the same team alongside the Finance, Marketing, and IT departments. The Customer Satisfaction manager took all the credit without ever mentioning the contribution of the team members. The organization even rewarded him with the Employee of the Year Award, while those who did the hard work went unnoticed. This was very demotivating and eventually led to a quarter of the employees resigning from the organization.

Other toxic characteristics that the manager has exhibited include: openly arguing with employees in front of the customers, verbal abuse and esteem bashing of employees, instilling fear in interns who often dread reporting to work, vehemently opposing any changes, and being irritable at the suggestion of any modification in customer service provision. Furthermore, the manager sets unrealistic goals for the department, resulting in workloads piling up; thus, setting the department and organization for failure, among others.

How to Repair the Rift After Removal of The Toxic Leader

The first and most urgent action that needs to be taken by HR is to investigate the allegations above without victimizing any of the employees that voluntarily give information. If the allegations are proven to be true, Kusy & Holloway (2009) assert that this report also suggests that the CS manager be relieved of his duties immediately. However, firing the toxic leader is easy; the rift will need to be repaired (Campbell & Brown, 2015). Repairing such a rift can be achieved through a series of steps.

The HR department will need to evaluate the organization’s culture to determine if there are any pressures exerted on leadership to succeed (Frost, 2009). These organizational pressures to succeed can transform the leaders to be toxic or cause others to be tolerant of other people’s toxic behavior. To avoid bias, the human resource will have to hire third parties to assess senior leadership performance and culture. Further, a succession plan will need to be created as the toxic leader, in this case, will be leaving a gap in the succession as several of his subordinates that could have taken up the job had already resigned for other opportunities (Mansell et al., 2017). The HR will offer training and development opportunities to departmental employees to groom an appropriate leader to take up the vacant position. An alternative will be to hire another manager from an outside source but still conduct succession training for future needs (Greene, 2016). Additionally, rewards and bonuses should be linked to employee well-being and continuous growth. Lastly, Owens et al. (2015) propose that behavioral training for leaders should be conducted frequently and keenly monitored.

Desired Qualities of an Interim Leader

The employees at the Customer Satisfaction department are likely to be demotivated after working under their toxic manager. Their morale at work will need to be boosted and their self-worth enhanced (Webster et al., 2016). To this end, an ideal interim leader that will grow the team from its low standing to one that performs without fear and intimidation will need to be appointed. The new leader will need to possess some qualities that will do good to the team and the organization as a whole.

The new team leader will have to be a very skilled communicator. Effective communication is critical as it is the foundation of motivation (Berger, 2014). It will help the manager know how different tasks are being performed as well as improve performance. Communication will help in decision-making and aid in identifying different courses of action. People’s attitudes will also be built as well-informed people tend to have a better attitude towards work, leadership, and team members (Berger, 2014).

Making time for employees will also be an important thing to do. The new leader should possess listening skills which will need to be accompanied by constructive criticism and positive affirmation (Bethel, 2012). When employees approach the leader with an issue or a fresh idea on doing things differently, the leader will need to actively listen and give their honest and unbiased opinion as well as the necessary resources to actualize the idea if deemed viable and profitable to the department and organization. If the idea is successfully actualized, the leader should be the first to recognize the main contributors and front them for an award for their achievement (Berendt et al., 2012). In conclusion, the new leader should work at mending the broken work environment in the department, lay a new and viable foundation, and follow this by growing productive employees while impressing their well-being as well.


Armitage, A. (2015). The dark side: The poetics of toxic leadership. Advances in Developing Human Resources17(3), 376-390.

Campbell, M., & Brown, B. A. (2015). Toxic Leader Transition Mini Case Study: Yahoo! Inc. 2009-2012.

Craig, S. B., & Kaiser, R. B. (2012). Destructive leadership. The Oxford handbook of leadership, 439-454.

Kusy, M., & Holloway, E. (2009). Toxic workplace!: Managing toxic personalities and their systems of power. John Wiley & Sons.

Mansell, M., Lane, T., Thomas-Johnson, G. A. R. W. A. Y., & Lorenzo, d. (2017). Toxic leadership: a systemic approach to shift from reactive to proactive solutions. air command and staff college Maxwell Air Force Base United States.

Mehta, S., & Maheshwari, G. C. (2013). Consequence of Toxic leadership on Employee Job Satisfaction and Organizational Commitment. Journal of Contemporary Management Research8(2).

Owens, B. P., Wallace, A. S., & Waldman, D. A. (2015). Leader narcissism and follower outcomes: The counterbalancing effect of leader humility. Journal of Applied Psychology100(4), 1203.

Reed, G. E., & Olsen, R. A. (2010). Toxic leadership: Part deux. Army Combined Arms Center Fort Leavenworth KS Military Review.

Webster, V., Brough, P., & Daly, K. (2016). Fight, flight or freeze Common responses for follower coping with toxic leadership. Stress and Health32(4), 346-354.


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Week 4 – Assignment: Compose An Action Plan


Compose an action plan to present to HR, which addresses how you would replace a toxic leader in your organization.

Toxic Leadership Action Plan

Toxic Leadership Action Plan

Discuss which attributes led you to identify this person as a toxic leader.  Discuss how you will repair the rift caused by the leader after removal.  As part of this plan, also create an outline for the ideal leader who can serve in an interim capacity to help transition from the toxic leadership.

Your action plan should demonstrate thoughtful consideration of the ideas and concepts that are presented in the course and provide new thoughts and insights relating directly to this topic. Your response should reflect graduate-level writing and APA standards. Be sure to adhere to Northcentral University’s Academic Integrity Policy.

References: Include a minimum of five scholarly references.

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