Experiences of Toxic Leadership in Data

The frequency and severity of experiences of toxic leadership among data professionals in the D3M Labs community were alarming, especially after the boom and bust of the COVID-19 pandemic years. The community consists of data professionals in Berlin, but also elsewhere in Germany and around the world.

Kasia Musur from VENT conducted research about experiences of toxic leadership amongst data professionals in cooperation with Elizabeth Press from D3M Labs.

Some of the common experiences that Kasia Musur found included:

🕰️ Long Hours: Many data professionals find themselves working tirelessly, often sacrificing their work-life balance to meet demanding deadlines. Poor scoping and a constant sense of urgency were common.

😡 Anger at Data: Sometimes, the pressure to deliver desired results can lead to frustration and even anger when the data reveals unfavorable truths. There was a common perception that data was there to make a certain person look good, not to move the organization forward. Data professionals often felt their work was going to waste.

🗣️ Communication Breakdown: In siloed organizations, the data teams were often the last on the communication chain. Ad-hoc, last-minute requests, constant requests for changes, were frequently mentioned experiences.

🚫 Ignoring Labor Laws: Instances of ignoring labor laws and standard German labor practices were mentioned, creating a hostile environment. Participants in the study mentioned that their perception was that employers thought a largely foreign workforce would not know German labor law, be dependent on a visa and/or have too few employment alternatives to leave.

In this video, Kasia and Elizabeth delve deep into the experiences of toxic leadership that many members of the D3M Labs community and beyond have faced. 💼

Link to the video:


What do you think? We would love to hear your feedback in the comments, PM Elizabeth Press or Kasia Musur on LinkedIn or write elizabeth.press@d3mlabs.de.

Stay tuned for our discussion: Are YOU a toxic leader?

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