Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Leadership, Organization, Leader, Belief, Workplace, Behavior, Attitude, Exercise

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/11/26


Effective leadership is an essential component that influences how an organization or a society attains its objectives in a concerted manner. A leader exerts his or her selfless effort by encouraging the followers to abandon self-interest and instead embrace an enlightened self-interest for the benefit of everyone. By definition, leadership is regarded as the ability of a person to influence other people’s minds to accept his ideologies of pursuing a common objective; however, leadership can either be constructive or destructive. The impact of leadership would be determined by the long –term results attained during the leadership period. One of the major characteristics that define successful leaders is the possession of emotional intelligence i.e. the act of accommodating every party’s suggestions in an effort to make an impartial and acceptable decision. However, some leaders drive their efforts towards manipulating the subordinates in abide to accumulate self-gain and dominance. For instance, some leaders capitalize on intimidating their juniors to enable them perform dubious financial deals without notice. Such a destructive aspect may be difficult to realize, but the impact could reflect in the company’s annual performance report.
For that reason, destructive leadership has been defined from different views based on long-term outcomes of the organization or a society. Destructive leadership is, therefore, a process where a leader drives the follower’s attitude and perception in a way to create fear and divert their effort from the intended objective (May et al: 203). Destructive leaders are driven by greed and capitalize on the autocratic style to overwhelm their juniors. In most cases, destructive leaders operate in disguise and the nature of leadership is only determined in the long-term.

Elements of destructive leaders

Destructive leaders are characterized by various factors that drive their unilateral ambitions at the expense of the subordinates. Several key elements featured predominantly in leaders who had a disconnection with their followers and often hindered the effectiveness of teamwork in an organization. The major characteristics attributed to destructive leaders are

Personalized use of power

Destructive leaders are motivated by their self-eccentric behavior to utilize the resources at their discretion to accumulate personal gains. Such leaders would apply all means available to curtail any element that threats to deflate their authority. The leaders contradict the character of servant leadership that emphasizes on dedicated and enlightened self-interest ( Shamas-ur-Rehman, and Ogunlana:257)

Ideology of Hate

Some leaders have a negative attitude towards leadership elements and hence would strive in the course of their lifetime to oppose any element out of hatred. For instance, people who dislike laws would aspire to acquire the leadership position in order to manipulate the laws to their comfort.

Negative life perception

Unethical leadership could be attributed to individuals with an adverse perception about life. Negative attitude is detrimental to motivation thus destructive leaders would consider short-term personal gains rather than perusing a long-term transformational leadership path. Early childhood life could be the influencing factor towards the leader’s behavior.


Leaders with narcissism character manifest an introversive behavior that overlooks the contribution of other parties towards a particular objective. Such leaders exercise autocratic leadership style over the emotional intelligence form of decision-making. The major consequence is ultimate demoralization of subordinate members and the eventual risk of making wrong decisions.

Thesis statement

Many times, the attention of ineffective leadership has been focused on leaders oblivious of the impact and influence of followers in coping with bad leadership environments. This essay will delve into unraveling the interconnection between the causes and effects of destructive leadership on the leader-follower interaction environment. The paper will proof a hypothetical conclusion that; an organization associated with destructive leadership is unlikely to sustain unity among its members.

Causes of destructive leadership

Besides the characters mentioned above on destructive leadership, rational leaders may coerce to intimidate or punish their subordinates for their self-interest ambitions. Various reasons could prompt an effective leader to apply unethical leadership practice in an organization.

Past social and mental, behavioral characters

In a sociological aspect, human beings are prone to inheriting past social occurrence to their current life thus influencing their daily decision-making. Leaders who may have undergone physical torture or mental intimidation in their childhood are likely to exercise opposing form of leadership towards their subordinates. Hence, it would be difficult for the leader to change his autocratic leadership style and uphold an inclusive form of leadership.

Securing their job position and power

Leaders who fear they would lose their positions to junior employees create fear upon the subordinates by subjecting them to retrenchment threats or suspension. In reaction, junior officers resort to conforming to the leader’s orders without question. For instance, inexperienced managers use laissez-Faire leadership style to protect their incapacity from junior members.

Job dissatisfaction

Inadequate remuneration is another factor that aggravates destructive leadership at work. When managers are paid poor wages, they tend to apply coercive leadership traits to squander money from the company and supplement their earnings.

Over ambition towards organization project

Ambitious leaders, who want to proof their capability to the management, develop counteractive mechanisms to react to any party that contradicts with their opinions. The leaders develop an emotional disconnection and would apply demoralizing utterances to their juniors as a strategy to neutralize their opinions. Unfortunately, the approach may either succeed or fail due to inconsistent decision-making.

Opposition to new leadership

Coercion is a tactical approach applied by leaders against any prospective organization restructuring. Departmental managers devise destructive mechanisms such as publishing malicious fraud leaflets to ruin the reputation of projected leader. The ultimate gainers are the leaders as followers feel denied the chance to appoint the leaders at free will.
Destructive leadership contributes adversely to the long-term organization outcomes and creates in internal and external acrimony among stakeholders. However, destructive leaders continue to reap benefits of their unorthodox approaches at the expense of their followers.

Effects of destructive leadership

Destructive leadership is a practice that could have adverse effects on both the perpetrator and the victim. The perpetrators may induce destructive leadership tactics to the followers and end up ruining the whole organization. In one way, followers play a role in advancing the misleading traits of selfish leadership due to their mental proposition that senior leaders were driven by personal interest in all their endeavors. Such attitude prompts leaders to perpetuate unethical leadership practices on their subordinates. The major effects of destructive leadership include:

Job dissatisfaction

Unethical and unilateral leadership demoralizes the working ability of the junior officers in an organization. According to a military study conducted, the research indicated that military officers who had been subjected to destructive behavioral leadership had little chances of remaining in their workplaces (Reed, George and Bullis: 10). For that reason, persistent subjection to coercive and intimidating leadership demotivates the workers in an organization.

Weak Leader –follower interaction

When senior leaders impose harsh environment for their subordinates, the latter develops an opposite attitude that culminates in disconnected working practice. Avoidance communication may engulf junior workers where they accept their leader’s behavior and avoid close interaction. Alternatively, some followers may endeavor to convince their leader to change their attitude with a promise to deliver quality results in a particular task. Such discontent sublime formidable teamwork thus low productivity.


Conclusively, Effective leadership demands an emotionally intelligent individual who accommodates the sentiments of all parties in decision-making. Destructive leadership is venom to an organization’s cohesion, and subordinates should unite against destructive leaders in order to safeguard the organization's performance trend and unity. All in all, leaders should serve as servants with a sole goal of transforming an organization or the society.

Works cited

May, Daniel, et al. "Coping with destructive leadership: Putting forward an integrated theoretical framework for the interaction process between leaders and followers." Zeitschrift für Psychologie 222.4 (2014): 203.
Reed, George E., and R. Craig Bullis. "The impact of destructive leadership on senior military officers and civilian employees." Armed Forces & Society 36.1 (2009): 5-18.
Toor, Shamas-ur-Rehman, and Stephen Ogunlana. "Ineffective leadership: Investigating the negative attributes of leaders and organizational neutralizers."Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management 16.3 (2009): 254-272.

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WePapers. (2020, November, 26) Destructive Leadership Essay Examples. Retrieved June 01, 2023, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/destructive-leadership-essay-examples/
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