Despite common views that toxic leaders have poisonous and detrimental effects on social and organizational environments at all levels, they are present in every type of a company or organization. On the contrary, moral leadership is incredibly effective in the modern business environment because leaders who rely on this leadership style are always committed to something bigger than personal ambitions, cultivate moral imagination, promote motivation and persistence, believe in strengths of their followers, and, finally, practice moral courage. The current paper aims to compare the impacts of moral and toxic leaders on organizational growth and development. Moreover, much emphasis will be placed on how the latter make me feel about the former.
According to estimations of Robert Coles (2000), a bestselling author of a sophisticated book under the title Lives of Moral Leadership, the role of moral leadership is fundamental because it is primarily purposed to make a difference. After having analyzed and objectively assessed leadership styles of such famous personalities as R. Kennedy, D. Day, and several others, the author of the book promotes an idea that a moral leader does not only have a positive impact on certain organizations, but also on the entire society. The reason for this is the fact that instead of fulfilling personal dreams and pursuing success, they are highly committed to their work, followers, and the country (Coles, 2000). Despite the reality and the nature of moral leadership are extremely versatile and complex, leaders who rely on this philosophy have a positive impact on organizational growth and development because they try to maintain good quality relationships with different stakeholders (Bello, 2012). Moreover, it has always been a gold standard that a meaningful and harmonious relationship built on respect, cooperation, and mutual assistance is the key determinant of organizational growth and success (Bello, 2012). Moreover, moral leadership contributes to organizational excellence because it focuses on such core principles and characteristics as integrity, honesty, selfless service, personal responsibility for decision-making processes, loyalty, fairness, commitment, and concern for other employees (Bello, 2012).
On the contrary, the influence of toxic leadership on organizational development and success is an ambiguous and controversial issue because this leadership theory describes leaders, who are arrogant and irritable, practice discriminatory behavior and attitudes, lack flexibility and self-control, destroy team harmony, and lead to many other destructive consequences (Tavanti, 2011). Researcher Lipman-Bluman (2006) assures that despite toxic and destructive leaders are very strong and influential, they are characterized by such behavioral patterns and traits as a lack of honesty and loyalty, outsized ambition and pursuit of personal interests, behavior that intimidates and annihilates followers, and stifling criticism (Lipman-Bluman, 2006). Therefore, toxic leaders, including bullies and narcissistic persons, slow down organization’s development because their behavior redirects efforts of employees from effective mission accomplishment to the so-called self-protection and survival behavior (Tavanti, 2011). Despite toxicity in leaders is considered to be a common reality in many companies and organizations, research studies on leadership and management provide evidence that toxic or dysfunctional persons have nothing in common with organizational success because these individuals make work extremely difficult for every employee around them (Tavanti, 2011).
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In conclusion, as a leader I am a proponent of moral leadership because this leadership style creates a supportive environment, is based on the principles of honesty and integrity, fosters effective collaboration and healthy communication among employees, values awareness and innovations, and respects and relies on the assistance of all stakeholders. On the contrary, I believe that toxicity in leadership puts the organizational mission and reputation at risk. Thus, detrimental effects of toxic and dysfunctional leaders on organizations may be compared to an iceberg in the fog because the behavior and actions of such people result in decreased productivity, demotivated workforce, and irreversible bottom line losses.
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