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Poisonous Leadership
By Randy Gonzalez

Poisonous leadership is toxic. Actually, it’s not leadership at all. But, suffice it to say,
a lack of leadership is venomous to any organization, and runs amuck through the
community, the country and world. Whether in worship, work or at play, exceptional
leadership is extraordinarily essential and yet in short supply. In a post-modern devolving
global environment, where simplistic conspiratorial thinking runs wild and self-
indulgence is a priority, the pretense to leadership festers in its toxicity. No one is
ultimately safe from the weakening dependence of personal selfishness. At every level,
people fuse their emotions, feelings and desires for easy feel good solutions.
In the herded mutuality for self-gratification, many aspire to ensure their own sense of
entitlement and enrichment at the expense of others. You could be susceptible, unless one
is willing to take necessary risks through strenuous mindful liberation in social
inoculation. As stupidity willfully increases the snare of public and political perceptions,
high quality leadership continues to be threatened. While the majority of the human
species devolves, along with those pretending to be leaders, there are a brave few leaders
who willingly help a smaller number succeed and at least survive for now.
Quality and distinctive leadership is particularly vital in the field law enforcement and
the criminal justice system, where public safety, civil order, lives and livelihoods are on
the line every day. The challenge for the valiant women and men of public safety services
is the courage to preserve, evolve and transform as authentic, credible, and liberated. To
be differentiated from disingenuous political correctness, peer pressured stagnation, and
adverse collectivist conformity, demands exceptional bravery.
In an organizationally oppressive atmosphere, resistance can be seemingly futile.
Deception wanders in many forms and wears numerous disguises. And yet, there are
ways to creatively rise above the mundane, the average and the mediocre. Fortunately, in
today’s world, that should be too difficult. For the savvy, well-differentiated and capable
individual, who is mature enough and confident, he or she can prevail against the odds.
Make no mistake; the odds are potentially not in your favor. None the less though, lethal
leadership slithers and creeps about cunningly to infect entire organizational structures.
Its venomous counter productivity lurks everywhere.
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Likewise, as a form of cowardice and reflection of arrogance, it contributes to


operational disturbance and the oppression of others. Weakness in an organization’s
hierarchy is sometimes reflected by a failure of nerve and inability to standup for what’s
right. In necessary demonstration of forthright and authentic leadership, taking risks is
part of the gambit. Within the management and supervisory structures of any system,
negativity, or toxicity, is detrimental to the survival of the organizational framework. In
the criminal justice realm for example, “poisonous leadership”, or actually a lack of
competently qualified leadership, dangerously affects the overall quality, competency and
capacity of the agency’s effectiveness in carrying out its mission.
Venomous authority is oppressive, tyrannical and despotic, while being at the same
time cowardly, subservient and fearful, in order to satiate its survivability and perpetuity.
Such selfishness arrogantly in sinister and passive ways ingratiates to the nexus of power
that keeps it alive and insulated in the particular organizational placement. Efficiency
wanes, trust diminishes and proficiency in public safety suffers. And, as a result, the
entire networks, the systems and subsystems, all suffer. They fail to prevail by productive
measures because the people within them are devolving.
To fill the void and address the urgency, there is the never ending search for true,
sincere and genuine leaders. Not the ones you see appointed and publicized at all the
press conferences, with the “right pedigrees” who marvel at their legendary mythology.
No indeed, real leaders are unique. They are few and far between. More often than not, in
post-modern pop-culture America, we witness the decline of boldness in leadership, and
the promotion of fusion in dependent submissiveness. Superior leadership is neither
communal nor subservient, and may be offensive to many, but is motivated by excellence
toward noble heights of trustworthiness in achieving the mission.
In fact, there is a high likelihood it might be scary and frightening. Extraordinary
capacity, skillful precision and experienced capacity, coupled with unique vision to lead
others appears woefully extinct and out of fashion. Along with creativity, risk taking and
brazen zeal to succeed forthrightly, in spite of criticism, retribution or retaliation,
believable exhibition of leadership suffers by the void of its absence. In its place, more
and more frequently, we get the naiveté of pious platitudes for self-servicing
appeasement at any price. A toxic lack of leadership is deadly.
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A person, who seeks their own level of amative satiation, without accurately
understanding their true nature and forcing oneself to change positively, puts others at
risk. This person or persons run the risk of exhibiting venomous types of leadership. He
or she who accepts, asserts or assumes a responsibility over others, and abuses that
relationship to any degree, represents the poisonous aspects of authority. If the
subordinates are not better off than before the alleged leader assumed the position, then
the destructive aspects of a lack of leadership has taken hold. So, why take on a position
of power and control over another if you are not equipped for such a calling?
Masquerading behind the pretext of promotion to authority, or fanciful title, many
give pretense to the rank of their assignment. The covetous necessity for some means
they often feel entitled to be promoted, as they believe it’s their turn. You see that on the
national scene with regard to politicians. How often do you see the true statesman come
along? No instead, the “status quo” is maintained no matter what, and psycho-babble
reinforces the political-babble to substantiate the fictitiousness of the noxious clichés.
And, very rarely does an embodiment come along in the visage of a true leader.
More often than not, we look to Hollywood for heroic fictional representations,
because we seldom find them in the real world. Given the success of blockbuster movies
about superheroes, or valiant rebels and mavericks, we certainly are looking for
something we can’t find in the real world. Historically, many of us would agree, only a
few have been able to ascend to such lofty heights that inspire others to follow. Today,
devoid is the presence of that special eccentricity, for which one is called to leadership.
Leading is a special kind of abnormality of unconventional expertise and consciousness
of unique character. Such is marked by the exhibition of matured integrity.
All too often, we confuse the perception of selflessness in leading, and the trust placed
in its demonstration and example, with the deceptive grossness of self-serving interests.
While some claim authority for this or that, they merely spew the catch phrases of post-
modern superficiality disguised in the blur of reductionist simplicity. For the sake of their
own self-gratification, their pretext to “leadership” is nothing more than a con game and a
good retirement package. By contrast, the authentic leader is on a mission, in which the
quest remains an ongoing process of self-evolution, revolution and transformation. Many
may be good managers, yet a leader is a very exceptional kind of person.
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The true leader is a multi-dimensional rarity, a cut above and beyond any semblance
of normality. There’s nothing average about a proficient leader. Not very many are
capable of even understanding the required divergence of personality to be such an
adventurer, on quest with a different vision. And today, as never before in our history,
we have a limited few examples by which to emulate or otherwise ascribe such profound
characteristics. So, very simply, regardless of one’s status, socio-economic bias, schools
attended or seminars sat through, a leader is one who is defined by his or her uniqueness
as distinctly different from those around him or her.
Leaders are extraordinary personalities who travel in various walks of life. They are
separate, sometimes odd and distinct from the mainstream, but adapt to changing
environments with tactical precision and technical proficiency. Even eccentric at times,
the constraints of conventionality fail to impress them. To assert their independence of
influential competence, a leader skillfully maximizes his or her idiosyncratic character
traits to ensure the mission stays on track in a complex world of constant change.
They are different because they possess vision, tenacity and perseverance, mature
empathy for others, the capacity for creativity and fearlessness to embrace selfless
persistence with hard work. This means the disposition of one’s nature is such that it
succeeds in transforming ideas into words, and words into meaningful actions, and
actions that inspire others to follow. Competence summons the diligence for zealousness
in the pursuit of being accountable, reliable and trustworthy. Accountability and
responsibility fortify the intricate balance beam they must traverse.
In the expansive adversity of communal complicity, within most organizational
settings, people very cavalierly toss around the usage of the word “leader’, or for that
matter, the denigration of “leadership” as well. Today, anyone it seems can be a leader.
Many advocate that through workshops, seminars, courses, special academies and various
checklists, one can become a leader. However, from the perspective herein, that’s not
true. You can’t grow them, make someone become a leader, or give them an easy to
follow formula. They either have the personality and makeup already in place within
themselves, or they don’t. You can only search for them, as they are transformed by their
nature, the resolve to evolve, and the experiences in the journey they seek. For the leader,
he or she is one who strives to be a better version of his or her original self.
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Poisonous inclinations strike with covert adversity when you least expect it, and no
matter how convincing, deception is very real. The core essence of leadership cannot
diminish the necessity of insisting upon high standards of competence and intellectual
capacity. Rather than a reduction to the lowest common denominator, as often seen in
modern society, one leads by an example of continual self-evolving character. And, he or
she encourages others to do likewise. If they choose not to, then he or she moves on
without them. There’s no time for whining, sniveling, malcontented slothfulness. For
those who desire the salaciousness of their own obese gluttonous lethargy, you must find
inventive means by which to organizationally neutralize them.
With no allowances for the distractions of selfish grumbling, whimpering, disgruntled
cry-baby excuses, a leader continues to do what is rationally, legally and morally correct.
A leader must lead those who want to be led, and there’s no time to waste on the
bestiality of those want to be drenched in the pretext of stupidity. After all, we are talking
here about an adult world, right? And in a grown up setting, you demand that everyone be
treated with dignity, respect, maturity and encouragement to the extent possible. By the
leader’s own endeavors, each is challenged and motivated given his or her talents, skills,
capabilities and levels of experience to make the right choices.
Lazy thinking and slothful efforts at productivity characterize a number of institutions
and organizations. They can be profit oriented, not for profit and volunteer associations,
where a majority is significantly selfish and self-centered. When management and
supervision lack the visionary preponderance of leadership capacity, operational
considerations suffer ineffective processes. Cowardice frequently is allowed to seduce
and infect the courage to assert principles over practices. Juvenile behaviors in petty
interactivity are allowed to pervade the framework within the workplace.
Critical thinking skills are weak, creativity becomes diminished and incompetence
looms monstrously out of proportion. Applications of logical and rational deductive skills
frequently give way to fear mongering, scapegoating and herd thinking. Threats of
retaliations suggest the lack of necessary skills sets for success, as well as the capability
and aptitude to ensure functional completeness. A failure to accept and embrace the
tenets of the mission or critical tasks required result in disasters. Proactive problem
solving gets shelved in favor of spurious notions relative to cause and effect.
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Venomous drool of incompetence in due course will paralyze and kill the best efforts
for success in the tasks for the mission at hand. Stupidity in the aggravating annoyances
of subjective vanity promotes divisiveness. A lack of leadership, even at the lowest
possible level of interactivity, manifests dysfunction and disruption. Sooner or later, that
aggravates the infection inflicted by those who let their emotions, insecurities and
jealousies rule them. By contrast, effective leadership knows how to inspire and
encourage relationships with those who follow. He or she understands one cannot afford
the timidity of hesitance, uncertainty, and lack of confidence.
But, neither haughty nor over confident, the disciplined leader does not coddle petty
acts of self-indulgence that fixate around immature superficiality. A leader realizes
silliness in the fearful redundancy of doing the same things repeatedly, in spite of
shortcomings, breeds destructiveness and malfunctions. Not only does the ineffective
non-leader malfunction, but so does the system in which he, she and them operate. It
doesn’t matter what type of organization, large or small, communal, commercial or
political, defective management leads no one successfully for very long.
Being in command means you are willingly taking risks, ensuring self-discipline,
working hard, and keeping a safe distance from the anxious herded fusion of followers.
Yet, of significant importance as a leader, you desire to transform yourself in the personal
journey through life. You endeavor to discover your true nature beyond preconceived
notions to the contrary and irrespective of what others may say. You strenuously assert
your will to become a more enlightened version of yourself. Such a quest for
exceptionality and uniqueness is never going to be easy. Not by any stretch of limited
imaginations of those around you, to be different is to face opposition.
Likewise, it must be recognized, most people are going to be maladjusted, antagonistic
and un-evolved no matter where they are. They willfully remain in a somewhat “high
schoolish senior prom” mode of functioning in self-centered adolescent ways. It’s
effortless following the easy path, rather than grow up. As such, many people resist their
own maturation and growth toward a serious progressive transformation. Much of
humanity seldom progresses very far, but instead tends to devolve over time. Given this
inclination, they are satisfied at living at rudimentary levels, relishing in the past,
unhampered by a profound innovative sense of self-actualization.
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A well-differentiated leader enjoys living in the positive productiveness of the


moment. And, the leadership persona is being present, focused and confident to take
charge of the situations at hand. She or he deals forthrightly with conscientious appraisal
of oneself. By contrast, the alleged leader, consumed by the toxic self-gratification,
continues to struggle with the inadequate realization, or corrective understanding, of
deeply held inadequacies. Rather than deal with one’s shortcomings, the simplistic tactics
of denial and deterministic apprehensions fuel the self-doubt. When taken to extreme
levels, dangerous patterns of destruction become highly probable.
Abusive, bitter and unhappy, the inadequate leader finds diverse ways to be
counterproductive to oneself, the group, the subunits and the organizational system in
which he or she attempts to operate. On and off the job, public and private, such are not a
proactive individuals looking to make difference in much of anything. The past, regrets,
bad choices, haunt these individuals by their own premeditation. They desire to stay in
their own misery and cloak themselves in their devolution. These are angry people, who
are disgruntled when it comes to the success of others. Frequently, you find them
returning a positive aspect with a negative response. Unproductive commentary spews
forth as they find ways to be critical instead of complimentary.
Anything that does not agree with them is viewed as threatening. Unsatisfied with
their inability to make the world conform to their image, they find ways to sabotage
others. You meet them everywhere, from the pious dogmatic realms of religiosity to the
halls of academia, government and the vast stretches of media entertainment. And yet,
those who understand the true nature of leadership, and strive to evolve themselves,
comprehend how much time is wasted in one’s self-proclaimed despondency.
Leadership is not clever salesmanship, political pandering, hereditary anointing or
excessive amounts of training, coaching, mentoring or ideological obsession. It is a
matter of personal evolution toward a better version than the original. Such is the hard
task of overcoming one’s self-centered childishness in glutinous needs to control people,
places and properties. One can be interdependent in a creative sense, as opposed to
abjectly dependent in relationship with others. He or she appreciates the necessity of
becoming emotionally liberated from others, while at the same time applying the reality
of rationality to operational processes. Stress is kept healthily under control.
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But such notions for anti-toxicity require personal growth, maturity and wisdom.
Profound insight into one’s personality and character necessitates serious introspection
and constant analysis. And yet, most people do not progress much farther than their high
school timeline, and relish in the past thrills of adolescent immaturity. They remain
stunted by choice, because such strenuous efforts of self-evolution demand change. In
order to change, a person must accept responsibility and accountability, to evolve
progressively. One must be willing to transform and that’s frightening. Scared, dependent
and self-indulgent, many fixate on pathology instead of strength of character.
Procedures, policies and protocols, like templates, checklists and guidelines, often
underestimate the necessity of human enlightenment toward a more evolved self-
actualization. Self-help, training courses, seminars and workshops can “instruct” all they
desire to do. There is no guarantee a person will successfully overcome himself or herself
and become a competent leader. Competence swells from integrity, honor and
uprightness from the quality of one’s maturation through experience. As one endeavors to
avoid the deleterious effects of poisonousness supervision, he or she often must stand
alone against significant odds and risk communal ostracism.
Unfortunately, in a post-modern context, given any group association, public or
private, the critical aspects of logic, reason and rationality do not appear to be held in
high regard. People seemingly have a preference for their “victimization”. As such,
people readily argue from an emotional posture of intense subjectivity. Self-indulgence
for the satiation of personal selfishness is akin to varying levels of stupidity, in that there
are no limits to self-proclaimed ignorance. From this, the toxicity of interactions
potentially degrades operational efficiency, innovation and creativity.
The leader is challenged to overcome extreme expressions of feelings, emotions and
needs for immediate gratification. In the devolution of human interactivity across a global
spectrum, it is likely that organizational and social encounters will continue in
maladaptive deterioration. The planet and its human social systems may be in serious
jeopardy. Relationships among groups and individuals appear continuously strained and
problematic for leaders. As toxic leadership spreads dissention, incompetence and
dysfunction, subtle as well as explicit indications reveal increasingly regressive
tendencies that enslave progressive abilities and applications.
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The inability to argue and debate or engage in productive discourse for proficient
productivity cuts across varied aspects of interpersonal communications. Every level of
society is at risk. A lot of people appear foolishly ill-equipped and fearfully weak to
advance the human species cooperatively in enlightened and futuristically profound
ways. Politically, commercially and communally, whatever the engagement, with notably
few exceptions, the majority of associational interactions lean toward devolution. Within
these frameworks, some would rather bully than collaborate, while others prefer sabotage
and passive-aggressive animosities. Negativism disrupts visionary insight.
Counter-productive discourse at managerial and subordinate levels promotes collusive
foolishness. It takes a true leader, with the strength of his or her courage, to challenge the
dangers of dysfunctional associations. Along with this comes the power and influence of
“group think”, which can be quite potent. Herd thinking has an impact upon the network
of interrelatedness, whereby the distinctive leader must combat the incessant threat
potential. Growing up requires courageousness in standing up to stupidity.
Vigilance is a matter of constant surveillance, mature balance of mindset and profound
intuitive attention to detail. Sometimes, the leader may not survive the “culture” in which
he or she strives to be a leader. And, for what reason would a person subject oneself to
continuous organization warfare? One chooses his or her battles carefully and weighs the
sacrifices to be made. There are times when enough is enough, and the price to be paid is
too high. In which case, a person may choose to leave that environment. Pressures for
conformity are significant and the gain is not worth the risk of one’s moral fiber.
Courageous leadership requires dealing with fears, and learning to live with its effects.
In so doing, you develop the fortitude to outwit, outlast and overcome the negativity
around you. With every effort, you oppose by the best means you can to dispose of the
toxic aspects of such proclivities. Never miscalculate the probability that you’ll be
surrounded by poisonous personalities who sometimes claim “leadership” by some
“divine right” of misguided transgression. Those who practice poorly evolved “selves”
are dependently needy on others for their self-centered validation. Approval and notice of
others reinforces their diminutive inner personality. In the poison they spread, they
readily say, do and act as though it’s essential others are pleased by their distracting
behaviors. By contrast, a good leader rises above the morass of toxicity.