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Taking the Venom out of Toxic Leadership

Bullying is counter to military values and teamwork. Yet, it is frequently a fact of life in the military. In part, this is because rank gives bullies power over people they outrank. In addition, yelling at people and getting in their face is nothing new in the military. This is why there is often a fine line between motivating subordinates and being a bully.


“Sir, I wanted to let you know that I’ve gotten another complaint about SFC Haun. He’s still getting a little out of control, yelling at his squad leaders, and saying some pretty nasty things about them in front of their troops.”

“Listen, First Sergeant, we’ve got a whole lot on our plate right now. I’ve talked with Haun’s LT and he’s counseled him. Haun gets the job done. His troops are just going to have to get used to him and stop being so damned sensitive! We’ve got a mission here and I don’t have time for more of this,” replied the commander. “What else you got?”

“That’s all, sir.”

Toxic leaders target individuals

"By the time {bullies} join the military, they are no longer amateurs. They know how to spot potential targets... and then capitalize on the sport.

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posted on 04/18/2012 under Articles
Jo B. Rusin is a retired soldier, who spent the majority of her career in Regular Army troop units from platoon leader to commander of a support brigade in the Gulf War. As a combat service support soldier, Jo B. served in units composed of both men and women from all racial and ethnic groups. She is a strong believer in the ability of soldiers to succeed, regardless of whether they are men or women or where they came from. Jo B. is the author of a number of military leadership books, including Move Out: The Insider's Guide for Military Leaders; Move to the Front: The Classic Guide for Military Women; and Women on Your Team: A Man's Guide to Leading Women. JoRusin.com

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