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Company Command: The Bottom Line - Army Leadership Guide

How do I convince a Toxic Leader to treat me with respect?

CSM--What is your recommendation? HELP! Senior NCO (1SG) reprimands a subordinate NCO (E-5). The 1SG has a low tolerance, constantly curses and degrades Junior NCOs. E-5 NCO states that he is uncomfortable speaking at this point and would like another NCO or an Officer present during the conversation. The 1SG starts cursing and swearing telling the young E-5 he does not have the right to request that and he will "get into my office right now." I do not feel that this is correct. I searched through FM 6-22 and I could not find anything specific to this situation. To your knowledge, is there a Regulation or an FM that states anything about this? Would it be a Command Policy, and if so what if the Command has no written policies in place? Is this a situation that needs to be brought to the IG?

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Toxic Leadership is an issue that is getting leaders in a lot of trouble these days. While the 1SG’s actions are not appropriate, Top is a human being and we have all lost our tempers at some point in time. That does not make it right, but mistakes make us human.

Take Action

When you find yourself walking into a room with an irate or abusive leader, I recommend you take the following steps:

  1. Identify that you do not appreciate unprofessional and abusive language and intimidation. Politely ask him to stop. If it continues, shut up and deal with the issue later.
  2. Write a formal MFR stating what happened, when it happened, how it happened, and who witnessed it. Ensure it is factual, unemotional, and professional.
  3. Attempt to resolve the issue with the offender at a later date. You may have more success talking to him once he has had a chance to cool off.
  4. If you cannot resolve the problem with the 1SG directly, request a meeting with the Commander on open door policy.

Depending on the specifics of the situation, this could be considered Abuse of Subordinates. No command will or should tolerate abusive or toxic behavior. Senior leaders have a responsibility to deal with this. They are going to ask questions such as “how often does this occur” and “does it impact numerous individuals.”

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Mark is a Retired Command Sergeant Major with 26 years of military leadership experience. He held 3 military occupational specialties (Field Artillery, Nuclear Weapons Tech, and Ammunition Ordnance). Mark is one of the leading military authors in the fields of leadership, counseling, and training.

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Company Command: The Bottom Line - Army Leadership Guide

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    This happens a lot and is always bad to challenge the 1GT because one day you will mess up and the 1GT will be their to burn you instead of taking up for you. That happens too, once your on the 1GT Sh#t list, it gets bad. Most likely Top will only get reprimanded but that NCO will be going down hard if they ever make a mistake under the same command, and since they are a junior NCO they WILL make a mistake it is only a matter time. So you see the dilemma.

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