Successful Leader vs. toxic Manager

Discover the key differences between a successful leader and a toxic manager


Participants use brainstorming to gather a collection of traits for a successful leader and a toxic manager. This in-depth depiction helps participants better understand the difference between the two. Think contrast: successful leader vs toxic manager!



  • Introduce the activity to the participants.
  • Split them into teams.
  • Encourage the teams to nominate a team coordinator. They will help the team put the ideas together and then to present the findings to the other teams.
  • Join each team and provide the activity link.


  • Participants brainstorm and discuss the traits that define a successful leader and a toxic manager.
  • They write down on sticky notes the key traits. Then they place them on the board in the predefined template.
  • Recommend them to write one trait/note.
  • Tell them it’s not a 1:1 contrast between the two. The purpose of this activity is to highlight some special differences.

Debrief (suggested)

  • The team coordinator from each team presents the outcome to the other teams, using the successful leader vs toxic manager contrast.
  • The facilitator may ask the following questions:
    • Are there any common points between the lists? What does it mean to you?
    • When defining the successful leader, did you have a specific role model/personality in mind?
    • Why do you find these traits as being “toxic”?



Additional info

This activity follows activity type guide from CARTA

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