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AFP 2020 Blog

Transforming Toxic Employees into Inspiring Leaders

Jun 30, 2020

By Katrina Burrus, Ph.D, MCC, Founder, MKB Excellent Executive Coaching, LLC

Financial professionals regularly look at KPIs, facts, figures, and much more. What is much harder to evaluate quantitatively is the cost of a toxic leader.

But toxic leaders are everywhere. A recent Gallup study revealed that a key reason people leave a company is because of a difficult leader. The Center of Creative Leadership indicates that 73% of successful leaders have had a least one intolerable boss. This means three out of four of you have had a difficult boss or are likely to have one in the future or—maybe you are the difficult boss.


What is the cost to productivity for the victims of uncivil behavior? How does it affect bystanders? In our AFP 2020 presentation, financial professionals will learn how to manage those experts who have an uncanny capacity to get to the core issue but are blind to the abrasion they cause to people's feelings. They are brilliant but interpersonally blind.

This is an important topic for treasury and finance professionals because you excel at evaluating costs, revenue, KPIs and much more, but does your dashboard include the costs of a leader's misbehavior and its effect on productivity? You might say that employees' incivility is a human resources concern. And yet, victims of uncivil behavior lick their wounds by talking about how hurt they are emotionally, instead of doing what is best for the company's productivity. The consequences of uncivil behavior are reported 23% to HR, 46% to their colleagues and 67% to someone outside of work. That is your company's reputation that is being impacted. Consequently, it makes it harder to hire talent. Is it only HR’s problem?


Instead, imagine you are a CEO and want an environment where employees’ misbehaviors are curtailed and inspiring leaders are thriving. What kind of impact would that have on productivity? In summary, when you work for a toxic leader, you suffer at work. But when you work for a great leader, you are inspired to be a great achiever.

The current environment has created a demand for great leaders. Virtual meetings are taking place. Many employees are working remotely and without a leader's face-to-face meetings. Leaders need to be even more skilled at reassuring anxious employees; more skilled at engaging employees to feel part of something bigger than themselves; and more skilled at motivating, communicating and creating a system of accountability. The pandemic has made a leader's interpersonal skills even more essential.

In our presentation, you will learn seven actions to take to help your organization avoid being the birthplace of toxic leaders. You will learn how to leverage a leader's brilliance while handling their lack of emotional intelligence when managing people.

You’ll leave this presentation with tactics to develop soft and hard components of good leadership. It will identify the emotional intelligence that a leader requires to navigate these difficult times—a skill that everyone needs in their repertoire.

Learn now to cultivate great leaders in this special session at AFP 2020. Register for the conference here.