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I’ve seen Mayor Curry’s “leadership” traits before.  Sadly many of you have seen similar leadership in the workforce.  His leadership style is toxic. Books have been written about toxic leadership and in an article in Psychology Today, dated July 6, 2016, it lays out “8 Traits of Toxic Leadership to Avoid.”  One of those traits is the lead cause of the mess Jacksonville is experiencing today. It states:

“Bad leaders can sometimes be so disconnected as to refuse to see toxic or incompetent employees also poisoning the workplace around them, even if the leaders themselves are not engaging in those behaviors directly. If employees see a leader ignore or even reward and protect bad behavior, their morale and dissatisfaction will foment accordingly, and they will understandably blame the leader for their negative colleague’s running amok.”

Mayor Curry is disconnected and refusing to see toxic or incompetent employees around him.  He has turned over major decisions and strategies to others. As the article states, he may not be engaging in those behaviors himself but he’s being blamed for letting “All the Mayor’s Men” run amok.

In recent days we have heard of big donors, supporters and council members who have suggested – some demanded – the Mayor terminate Brian Hughes because of his toxic behaviors. 

Mayor Curry has refused and is standing by his man. 

For country music fans who remember Tammy Wynette, she recorded a song about her relationship with George Jones, another country music star.  The song was Stand by Your Man and although it was a great song and hit the charts, George Jones also hit Tammy Wynette. 

Will our Mayor take a hit for the men he’s standing by?

People are shocked Mayor Curry isn’t paying attention to the counsel of wise men and women who plainly see what is going on.  Like in business, when a CEO fails to listen, people leave.  People who once supported Mayor Curry are leaving him and regretting the big money they put behind him.  Their cages are rattled with the big change in the man they once supported.

It’s clear to the rest of us too.  Something – or someone – has influenced our Mayor so deeply that he can’t see the toxicity of our city.   Maybe it is the “some ones” who proudly wear their t-shirts proclaiming themselves the “Misfit Mafia.”  

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Brian Hughes, Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Jacksonville on the right.

While t-shirts are cute and these men will laugh it off as a joke – we are not laughing. 

Our city deserves and needs a Mayor who is not proud of Mafia tactics and instead exhibits leadership traits such as:

  • Leads with integrity
  • Ability to listen and learn
  • Exhibits discernment & wisdom
  • Ensures transparency
  • Hires people who exhibit the same   — Fires people who don’t

As we sit back and wait for the next shoe to drop on investigations and breaking news, we should pray for our Mayor and hope he reads the list above and starts leading with those traits.  And, pray he sends the “Misfit Mafia” packing.

If he doesn’t, the toxicity of our City will be his legacy.

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Billie Tucker Volpe Founder of Eye on Jacksonville and Leadership Consultant to CEOs/Executives

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