9th July, 2024

Are You an Accidental Toxic Leader?

With Rachel Morris

Dr Rachel Morris

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On this episode

Some of us are guilty of practicing toxic leadership, without even knowing it. This isn’t the overt, aggressive bullying we often associate with poor management, but something more subtle and more insidious.

When we’re in hero mode, we’re constantly stepping in, solving problems, and rescuing our team members. It feels good – we’re the saviours, the ones who keep things running. But this form of leadership is dangerous. It creates dependencies in others, stifles their growth, and can lead to our own burnout.

But there’s a way we can step back, listen, and support our team in solving their own problems. We don’t have to have all the answers, but by allowing our team members to take ownership and find their own solutions, we can promote growth and build a healthier team dynamic where everyone feels empowered.

If we’re the only ones who can solve problems, what happens if we’re not there? The team becomes dependent on us, which is detrimental to the overall performance and health of the organisation. So the next time a team member comes to us with a problem, we need to resist the urge to immediately jump in and solve it, and instead take a coaching approach.

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Reasons to listen

  • To understand why taking on too much responsibility for others can be a form of toxic leadership
  • To learn how to identify when you’re falling into the trap of heroing and how to stop doing it
  • To discover how to shift your mindset to a coaching approach, empowering others to solve their own problems

Episode highlights


Hero vs bully


Unconscious leadership


What are you responsible for?


Leading by standing back


The drama triangle


When we stop rescuing


Notice when you’re in the triangle


Take a coaching approach


Take a coaching approach


Wrapping up


Your next step


Pitfalls to watch out for

Episode transcript

[00:00:00] Rachel: Last year for my husband’s 50th birthday, we went away to Bali as a family, which was an incredibly long plane ride. On the plane, I was introduced to the program Succession, which I’m sure. Let’s have, you will have watched. And for those of you that don’t know Succession. It’s all about a family. It’s based on sort of a big media mogul family. And they are all vying to see who is going to succeed their father in leading the company. And head of the family is Logan Roy, a really horrible man, a toxic leader.…

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