Consider the parental leader contrasted to the autocratic leader. The parental leader leads for him or herself, maintains an authoritarian approach to power but treats followers with benevolence while the autocratic leader is authoritarian and exploits the followers for the leader’s purposes. Clearly, parental leadership is an improvement over the completely toxic leadership mindsets of the self-focused, narcissistic and addictive leader, but the parental leader still maintains authority over the followers (making the decisions, keeping the followers in their place) while nurturing and providing for them along the way.
The addictive leader may or may not be suffering from a personal addiction (i.e. alcohol, drugs), but this leader consistently exhibits traits that are characteristic of an addictive personality; denial of reality, failure to take responsibility for actions, controlling others, dishonesty, manipulation, blaming others and self-centeredness. And, as is often the case, the organization takes on the dysfunctional characteristics of the leaders and this is a recipe for disaster.
In Part 1 of this series on toxic leadership, we considered the self-focused leader. We saw that the self (vs. other) focus of the leader creates the foundation for a toxic environment as the organization becomes a way to meet the needs of the leader over not just the followers but also the mission and purpose of the organization itself.
The autocratic leader treats others as their servants and assumes the right to exercise power and privilege over them. This self-focus creates the toxic atmosphere that causes workers to walk on eggshells and know that they are not respected or appreciated by their leader. The worker becomes a means to an end and is a tool to be used vs. a partner to work with.