Destructive Leadership and the Millennial Workforce
A healthy leader–follower relationship relies on trust, respect, competency, and commitment to the organization. A leader has the power to influence and shape the employee’s job experience and the organizational culture. Destructive leaders, however, abuse their power by using coercion to manipulate for personal gain, and employ fear as a motivator. The negative impacts of a leader’s destructive behaviors are detrimental and painful to the followers in an organization, and the long-term impact on corporate culture can be costly. Followers are pivotal to the success of good and bad leaders. In Dr. Martin’s study on the Millennial generation as followers, she found they were adversely affected by destructive leaders. Specifically, they felt devalued, participated in unethical behavior induced by fear, lost faith in the organization because it implicitly condoned leaders’ bad behaviors, or chose to retaliate against these leaders. Destructive leadership will perpetuate until followers and organizations stop enabling the destructive behaviors and take action by educating, training, and empowering the workforce to be active participants.
Rhonda Martin recently earned her Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership from the University of the Incarnate Word. Her dissertation research focused on the consequences of destructive leadership, a topic she is passionate about based on her own personal experiences with bad leaders early in her career. As a follower herself, she noticed that the simplest of tasks became increasingly difficult, she was emotionally exhausted, and felt physically ill, all results of working in a toxic environment where employees were verbally abused, spiteful gossip destroyed teams, and morale was poisoned.
Rhonda served as an officer and civil servant in the United States Air Force, with ten years in program management. In her personal life, she is a competitive cyclist and qualified for the Race Across America. A Colorado native, she cultivated a love of the outdoors and has hiked all over the U.S., recently climbing a 14,000-foot mountain. She is also an active animal advocate, evidenced by her motley crew of five dogs, three of which were strays. In addition to her love of the outdoors and animals, Rhonda enjoys honing her skills as a stained glass artist, and is the founder of Designs in Black and White. Currently, she works for a local company as a business analyst.