How Bad Leaders Impact Organizational Effectiveness Chapter uri icon


  • This chapter examines the impact of bad leadership on organizational effectiveness. The authors first define bad leadership and then differentiate between its two forms, toxic and ineffectual. Looking more closely at toxic leadership, they discuss toxic leaders themselves and situational factors. Turning to ineffectual leadership, the authors describe its various forms, such as managerial incompetence, poor person/job fit, commitment to lost causes, a sense of invulnerability, one-hit wonders, overly generalized strategic decision-making, and entrenched heir apparents. The authors then discuss the macro-effects of bad leadership, focusing primarily on senior leaders but also middle and lower-level managers. The next topic discussed is why leaders may be bad, such as narcissism, hubris, and CEO predecessors. The next section describes how bad leaders are selected in the first place, such as political skills and impression management. The authors focus next on how organizations can avoid selecting, hiring, or promoting bad leaders. The chapter concludes by summarizing directions for future research.

author list (cited authors)

  • Griffin, R. W., Hanna, A. A., Smith, T. A., & Kirkman, B. L.

complete list of authors

  • Griffin, Ricky W||Hanna, Andrew A||Smith, Troy A||Kirkman, Bradley L

editor list (cited editors)

  • Lusk, D., & Hayes, T. L.

Book Title

  • Overcoming Bad Leadership in Organizations

publication date

  • May 2022