Team Spiritual Power: A Resource for Managing Toxic Leadership

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College of Business


Toxic leaders tend to isolate, ostracize, and punish employee voice behaviors, resulting in numerous negative outcomes; however, most organizations allow toxic issues to get out of control. Past suggestions for handling toxic leadership have mostly proposed top-down changes. In contrast, this paper examines what can be done from the bottom up by briefly reviewing methods that can help employee voicing in toxic situations and then considering how team spiritual power serves to extend those methods. Team spiritual power includes characteristics such as calmness, flexibility, and compassion primarily developed from spiritual practice. The paper concludes that teams with shared mental models based on spiritual power are able to persist in voicing under a toxic leader more than most groups, even those with high emotional intelligence, because the team can better support members emotionally during and after toxic interactions while also providing compassion and psychological safety for the toxic leader.

Publication Title

Journal of Management, Spirituality & Religion