Bad leadership: What it is, how it happens, why it matters by Barbara Kellerman Managerial Leadership
Spring II, 2012
12 May 2012
The book bad leadership challenges the thinking that suggests the activity of leading requires goodness, competence, and courage. This book compels us to consider, analyze and learn from bad leadership. It requires us to look at the human behavior of leadership in all its forms, including those that are not so flattering, and argues that bad leadership is all around us and that the only way to better address it is to study it, analyze it, learn from it, and finally, take action against it. It offers an outstanding compilation of noteworthy business and political leaders who have caused harm to those around them, both near and far. It is written in a structured and cohesive manner to allow the reader to understand that leadership is “just one strand of a web that constitutes the leadership process.” She suggests that leaders do not act alone and are not solely responsible for bad leaderships. There is no leadership without followship. If followers would just not follow a bad leader we could put a stop to the bad leadership. She has two main arguments throughout the book. The first is that leadership is either classified as ineffective or unethical. The second argument is that you can break the whole bad leadership into seven types – incompetent, rigid, intemperate, callous, corrupt, insular, and evil. She talks about how writers of other books and schools that study leadership suggest that to become a leader is to become a good leader. The dark side then as she suggests that to limit leadership to good leadership presents three major problems. It is confusing and misleading and does a disservice. She goes on to talk about the reasons why we are bad. She states that “people in a state of nature are not, in the usually sense of the word, good. This is not to...
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