A Descriptive Literature Review of Harmful Leadership Styles: Definitions, Commonalities, Measurements, Negative Impacts, and Ways to Improve These Harmful leadership Styles

Wallace A Burns


There are many ineffective leadership types — the egotistic leader, the incompetent leader, the ignorant leader, and leaders that are reckless, cruel, or even evil.  To understand what ultimately are considered leadership traits that are contrary to good order, discipline and productivity, the author conducted a review of the literature to obtain a current typology (the grouping of items by their similarities) of selected ineffective leadership styles — specific styles that are counter to enabling others to succeed, overcome challenges, achieve desired results, and create a positive environment in which to work.  The paper defined several ineffective leadership styles, including those considered toxic, abusive, bullying, and disruptive; and set these in context with each other and within the domain of leadership in general.  Commonalities, measurements and negative impacts of and ways to improve these ineffective leadership styles were identified from the literature and discussed.  Finally, broad conclusions on the way ahead were drawn.


toxic leadership, abusive leadership, bullying, destructive leadership, toxic leadership scale

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17062/cjil.v3i1.53


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