When I think of bad or evil leadership, I think the power between leaders and followers are often locked in a complicated dance of sorts. Leadership today is a phenomenon, which implies that a leader, by nature, is someone wise and inspirational. However, it is better to understand that sometimes a leader is driven by darker forces, as well as their followers. Leadership can be painted in shades of gray, sometimes in black and bad leadership is as ubiquitous as it is insidious. This is not to say that bad leadership is more prevalent than good leadership, anymore than it could be said that bad people are greater in number than good people, but just as human nature is complex, leadership is prone to shades of gray and black as in white.
Given this, and given that bad leadership both in public and private sectors of business has never been more blatantly in evidence as it has been today, the question I would have to ask is why the leadership field has been so rich with work on good leadership, and so barren of work on bad leadership and whether there are certain leadership behaviors that contribute to the practice of bad leadership? This paper will examine those behaviors that can produce bad leadership and the effects those behaviors have on their followers and visa versa.
Bad / Evil Leadership Behaviors
The way a leader influences others in a lasting way is by his character and behavior. Leadership is both a means when it focuses on process and behaviors and an end when leaders focus on goals and outcomes. When reviewing bad leadership, I think of bad traits or behaviors that are prominent and derail effective leadership. Unfortunately, bad leaders occupy positions of power in business and there are certain leadership traits that they all possess. In her book, Bad Leadership: What It Is, How It Happens, Why It Matters, Barbara Kellerman examines seven character traits, or flaws some would call them, which consume a person and...