A healthy business culture operates as a workplace democracy of sorts, where each member has their own voice, but the final decision ultimately falls at the feet of the person in charge. In some newer startups, the trend edges a little closer to collaborative socialism where hierarchy is dismissed entirely.
But a toxic business culture - where employees are unmotivated and unappreciated - runs the risk of becoming a dictatorship.
Dictatorial leadership isn’t always deliberate, and a toxic business culture isn’t always as dramatic as a Trump presidency, but the effects of aggressive leadership are felt by employees, stakeholders and customers alike. Employees who feel stifled and controlled at work may, at best, become disengaged; at worst, actively rebel, sabotaging from within and giving away secrets as freely as US government employees on Twitter.
I recently presented this talk to Vistage members.