Toxic Leaders Be Gone

Meet Dr. Carleta Alston


It’s amazing to witness a leader who continually rants and raves about the office and puts everyone in the general vicinity on edge.

What’s even more amazing is the lack of selfawareness. This individual may not even realize the whirlwind that he is causing and the toxicity that he leaves in the wake

Employees cannot thrive in a toxic environment. The stress alone can cause negative health impacts. It is no wonder that when employees are led by individuals who lack leadership skills, they tend to call off work more frequently. They are sick on a regular basis. They have limited focus on getting the job done with preoccupations of anticipated rages by the leader. They even give up and find a new job just to have peace of mind.

Why is the leader toxic?

This is a difficult question to answer; however, one can make an educated guess as to the lack of leadership development.

Toxic leaders have key characteristics:

  • Impatient
  • Over-demanding Behavior
  • Personal Insecurities/Inadequacies
  • Deeply Rooted Psychological Issues
  • Low Self-Esteem


A leader can turn the situation around and promote positivity in the work environment.

  • By showing employees that you can be patient with them, they will be less intimidated by your presence.
  • By expressing clear expectations of the task and its deadline, the leader does not have to be overbearing with employees to get the desired outcomes
  • By taking personal inventory, the leader can seek external counseling or therapy to work on areas that may impede progress with being an effective leader.
  • By practicing positive thinking strategies, the leader can learn (over time) how to build back self-esteem.

A good leader makes every effort to eradicate toxicity in the work environment, to support the wellbeing of her employees, and to support the health of the organization.

Leading with Confidence

Meet Dr. Carleta Alston


Anytime there is a call for someone to step up and join the leadership of an organization, there is some consternation about whether one can do the job.

This is normal. Everyone, if honest, can relate to selfdoubting feelings and gremlins that whisper in your ear, “You can’t do this.” That’s when you know that you can

To solidify your confidence in being the leader you desire to be, take into consideration these important points:

  • Spend ample time in reflection to learn about yourself and your strengths and weaknesses. Self-awareness is critical to how a leader presents herself.
  • Be intentional about listening to the people you lead and your colleagues. It will position you to garner useful information to make good decisions later down the line.
  • Own the room. When you enter any space, walk in it with confidence, a smile, and straight posture. Whether you realize it or not, people are watching. They assess your body language. Let that language speak loudly and clearly that you know what you are doing
  • Plan ahead so that you have an intelligent response around the boardroom table. There is nothing more embarrassing and strip confidence than to be put on the spot and not have the right answer. This requires knowing your craft well enough to give an answer on a moment’s notice.


It might surprise you to know that there are more people rooting for you than against you, and that should give you some comfort to step into your leadership with confidence.

Difficult Conversations

Meet Dr. Carleta Alston


One of the tenets of leadership is to accept when the time comes to have difficult conversations. Part of the reason leaders struggle with this responsibility is because they may not have had successful conversations in the past.

What went wrong?

There is a plethora of reasons for a conversation to go off the rails, and leaders who are cognizant of the danger zone in a difficult conversation can avert a catastrophe.

Unfortunately, leaders who are not adept at the skill of managing difficult conversations only exasperate the situation. They may plunge in too quickly with accusations before ever doing a root analysis. They may also lead with irrational emotional language. This faux pas speaks to a lack of judgment, evidence, and logic.


In order to have a successful conversation with an employee or colleague, the leader must see the employee as a human being first. Simple recognition is overlooked and sets a dismissive tone in the meeting

Here are a few important things to remember during a difficult conversation:

  1. Acknowledge the employee in the room by name, eye contact, and a handshake. The employee will be put at ease and feel recognized.
  2. Listen and refrain from having a prepared speech. By allowing an organic conversation to take place, the leader is in the driver’s seat and able to steer the conversation along.
  3. Suspend judgment until all of the facts have been presented. Give the employee the benefit of the doubt.
  4. Make room for the employee to voice his/her concerns without fear of reprisals
  5. Exercise empathy because there is a reason the conversation escalated to this difficult meeting. Try to understand the underlying problems from the employee’s point of view.

The sign of good leadership is understanding and practicing good compassionate skills when conducting difficult conversations with employees or colleagues.

It is one of the potential strengths of a leader that gets underdeveloped. However, with these recommendations, any leader can shift from contention to contentment and do away with the dreaded difficult conversations.

Leader Integrity

Meet Dr. Carleta Alston


The primary reason that leadership integrity matters is because followers depend on it, and they perceive good leadership by good character. For many leaders, doing what is right and best is a natural response. They inherently believe that good comes out of doing what is right.

However, integrity is not a characteristic that all leaders possess. In fact, some leaders are gravely challenged when it comes to making decisions with honest intentions. Yes, they may quickly justify their actions and claim it is for the greater good, but in reality, it may mask deception and manipulation.

Why does having integrity matter?

By definition, integrity means having honesty and moral principles. If someone were to dissect the word integrity, it would display the word “in” meaning internal to the individual and the word “grit” meaning having the fortitude to stand up for what the leader believes.

Internal grit is powerful, and if a leader does not have it, he risks losing on multiple levels. Not only will it jeopardize trust relationships, it will diminish the integrity or wholeness of organization. It can also create a hostile work environment. Is it worth it? Perhaps not, which is why it is so important to highlight the benefits of leading with integrity.


Leadership integrity has several benefits, including:

Here are a few important things to remember during a difficult conversation:

  1. Building trust with team members and stakeholders
  2. Creating a positive work culture based on honesty and accountability
  3. Encouraging ethical behavior and decision-making
  4. Inspiring loyalty and commitment from employees
  5. Enhancing the reputation and credibility of the organization
  6. Improving overall performance and productivity.

A leader lacking integrity can become better as long as the desire to change is greater than pull to remain the same. Start by being integral with oneself.

Leaders vs Unions

Meet Dr. Carleta Alston


It is amazing how one organization can have dual philosophies. It’s true. When an organization is unionized, there are challenges that leadership will have to reckon with on a daily basis. These challenges are internal struggles that can thwart production and lead to employee dissatisfaction.

No organization goes into business to make strife its primary objective, yet unionized organizations experience it regularly.

So, how do unionized organizations manage this situation in order to continue its growth and development? Easy ! Strong leaders learn to navigate the union waters to stay afloat and on a steady course

It is possible to set up a win-win relationship with unionized employees, and the most significant tools and strategies start with communication.


Union members are typically dedicated to their jobs. They are the front-line workers who see more, hear more, and do more to serve the public than their leadership. What does this mean? It means that they have valuable information, and very often it is untapped by leadership

Communication is critical to the success of any organization but more importantly to one that has a union. In order for leaders of an organization to truly understand its union members, they must build mechanisms and systems of open communication channels. Something as simple as a monthly governance meeting that promotes employee leadership to coordinate and guide meetings could be a game changer.

By listening to staff recommendations, leaders can capitalize on information that they would never have gotten on their own.

This type of communication builds synergy between unionized staff and leadership. Organizations that put supportive efforts behind building communication infrastructure are more likely to experience a win-win relationship between unions and leadership.