How Does The Military Define Counterproductive Leadership

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Often people confuse counterproductive leadership and call it toxic leadership.

By military doctrine and specifically army regulation 600-100; toxic leadership is a type of counterproductive leadership. So if we think about it, counterproductive leadership is a broader category of what is said to violate principles of army leadership and toxic leadership has a very specific and defined, manner in which you see what’s commonly also called counterproductive leadership. And I have it up here, because I want to be very precise with you.

So counterproductive leadership can take many forms. That can be things such as being actually abusive as a leader, and also just being incompetent. Both of those are different types of counterproductive leadership. Army doctrine gives several examples of what could constitute counterproductive leadership among them is taking claim for a win that’s not your own. Something, even as minor as that. It also can include bullying, distorting information, refusing to receive feedback, acting in a retaliatory nature, blaming others when it’s really our responsibility as the leader. Poor self-control is even one of the examples that they provide for counterproductive leadership and in parenthesis, they even include, losing your temper. That comes as a surprise to many people who are still in the military right now.

Other examples of counterproductive leadership that are provided by doctrine includes withholding encouragement. In addition, you can also see certainly dishonesty and then things that are much more hard to define: unfairness, unjust showing little or no respect, talking down to others, behaving erratically. And again, taking credit for other’s work. Understand that counterproductive leadership does not in and of itself as a classification require that this happened on more than one occasion. That’s to be distinguished between again, that broader general category of counterproductive leadership and what the army defines as toxic leadership.

Toxic leadership means that it has happened enough, it’s recurrent and it’s happened on as many occassions that it can have a deleterious impact on that organization’s performance and even influence whether or not that mission can be accomplished. So counterproductive leadership is very broad and many of its examples are very much in the eye of the beholder.

Jocelyn Stewart is a UCMJ court-martial attorney who specializes in defense of allegations of sexual assault for all branches of the military worldwide.

Contact the Law Office of Jocelyn C. Stewart at 1-888-252-0927

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