Bad Leadership

Bad Leadership

What It Is, How It Happens, Why It Matters

Book - 2004
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Perseus Publishing
How is Saddam Hussein like Tony Blair? Or Kenneth Lay like Lou Gerstner? Answer: They are, or were, leaders. Many would argue that tyrants, corrupt CEOs, and other abusers of power and authority are not leaders at all--at least not as the word is currently used. But, according to Barbara Kellerman, this assumption is dangerously naive. A provocative departure from conventional thinking, Bad Leadership compels us to see leadership in its entirety. Kellerman argues that the dark side of leadership--from rigidity and callousness to corruption and cruelty--is not an aberration. Rather, bad leadership is as ubiquitous as it is insidious--and so must be more carefully examined and better understood. Drawing on high-profile, contemporary examples--from Mary Meeker to David Koresh, Bill Clinton to Radovan Karadzic, Al Dunlap to Leona Helmsley--Kellerman explores seven primary types of bad leadership and dissects why and how leaders cross the line from good to bad. The book also illuminates the critical role of followers, revealing how they collaborate with, and sometimes even cause, bad leadership. Daring and counterintuitive, Bad Leadership makes clear that we need to face the dark side to become better leaders and followers ourselves. Barbara Kellerman is research director of the Center for Public Leadership and a lecturer in public policy at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

Book News
Kellerman (Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University) contends that humans hold an idealized vision of their leaders and defer power to them, like most animals, for safety and security; and he descibes how both shepherds and sheep are responsible for bad leadership. The text identifies two categories of bad leadership--ineffective and unethical--and divides these into seven types: incompetent, rigid, intemperate, callous, corrupt, insular, and evil. Each type is studied through examples ranging from Putin to Pol Pot. In the final chapter the author offers ideas on how bad leadership can be stopped or slowed by leaders and followers alike. Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Publisher: Boston, Mass. : Harvard Business School Press, [2004]
Copyright Date: ©2004
ISBN: 9781591391661
Branch Call Number: 658.4092 Kellerman 2004
Characteristics: xvi, 282 pages ; 24 cm


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