14 Traits Found in Toxic Leaders

November 7, 2014
Rainer on Leadership Podcast Logo

Podcast Episode #079


Unfortunately not all leaders of churches or Christian ministries act in the most Christ-like of ways. Some of these leaders, despite the Christian mission of the group they lead, create extremely toxic environments. Their leadership then hinders the growth of the church or ministry, and, if left uncorrected, often runs it into the ground. So this week on the podcast, we discuss the traits found in these leaders and what to do if you are one or work for one.

Some highlights from the episode:

  • There is a dark side to Christian leadership, and we should address these issues in the open.
  • As Christian leaders, we should exemplify the fruit of the Spirit.
  • The level of accountability in Christian leadership should be higher than that of secular leaders.
  • Toxic leaders get their joy by putting others down.
  • Toxic leaders rarely try to develop people. They use them up and cast them aside.
  • The more clear you are in your communication, the more you reveal who you really are.

The 14 traits we cover are:

  1. They rarely demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit.
  2. They seek a minimalist structure of accountability.
  3. They expect behavior of others they don’t expect of themselves.
  4. They see almost everyone else as inferior to themselves.
  5. They show favoritism.
  6. They have frequent anger outbursts.
  7. They say one thing to some people, but different things to others.
  8. They seek to dismiss or marginalize people before they attempt to develop them.
  9. They are manipulative.
  10. They lack transparency.
  11. They do not allow for pushback or disagreement.
  12. They surround themselves with sycophants.
  13. They communicate poorly.
  14. They are self-absorbed.

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