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Often to understand and identify what good leadership is,it is fundamental to be able to identify what bad management is and what it looks like.This book sets out Bad Management in a clear and easy to follow way. A must for anyone interested in Leadership.
I enjoyed reading this book. The author creates a typology of bad leaders and leadership and fits to it short and long case examples than include many horrific and usually well known (even infamous) examples of bad leaders. The author begins by noting some of the tensions about writing about bad leaders as compared to good leaders. However, it is clear one can and should learn from the case materials provided and that the sense of defensiveness is misplaced. The book is accessible and easy to read. The author provides a few short case examples followed by one that is much more extensive to illuminate each type of bad leadership. Readers are led through an all too common landscape of leadership, management and corporate horrors often tacitly supported by boards, external auditors and regulators. The book by combining an array of bad leadership examples provides an authoritative look at this darker side of the workplace making it a good source of examples. The typology provides a framework that encourages examination of the workplace for the attributes of each type. The author also underscores the enabling aspects of submissive, fearful and indifferent followers who help to create and sustain the leader's pathologies. The book however does not attempt to explain in any depth why bad leaders behave the way they do leading to the suggestion of a books such as Leaders, Fools and Imposters by Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries as one example of a psychodynamically informed examination of leadership pathology. The concluding chapter offers some standard and idealistic suggestions on avoiding and combating bad leadership, a somewhat disappointing concluding chapter for an otherwise good book. As the author notes, there are no easy answers when it comes to the adverse outcomes created by the darker side of human nature.
I bought this book after hearing Kellerman give a lecture recorded on NPR. Her speech, based on her book Bad Leadership, was precise and purposeful. Not surprisingly, the book contains her precise language and her purpose, which is to show us how leadership, even when in the hands of well-intentioned people, can go wrong. She first argues that too many of us, inundanted with optimistic, often business-oriented books about leadership, assume, erroneously, that leadership is somehow synonymous with goodness and virtue. To the contrary, Kellerman argues, leadership goes wrong more often than not. In what appears to be a reverse pyramid from benign to malignant, Kellerman catalogs the seven deadly sins of leadership: 1. incompetence 2. rigidity 3. intemperance 4. callousness 5. corruption 6. insularity 7. evil.
She gives historical (Hitler) accounts and more contemporary (Rudolph Giuliani, Howell Raines) to illustrate her definitions of bad leadership.
She concludes by prescribing corrective measures. Her book is invaluable in that for us to fully grasp good leadership we must first comprehend its antithesis. A negative definition of leadership in all of its facets is a necessary nudge in the right direction.
The "Bad Leadership" concept pulled me in. PR summaries on this book were better written than what I have muddled through so far. This book is word heavy. Barbara could use a little help from Suzy Welch, who I suspect helped Jack Welch with "Winning" an improvement in writing style of "From the Gut". Enjoying both Welch's books the improved difference is concise focus in Winning. The first half of Bad Leadership has been labor intense, with a modest return for my reading time investment. Reading for information readily consumable, this book has good intentions but modestly delivers . I have not committed to finishing, as there are better reads that easily pulled me away.
Very extensive in giving examples of bad leaders and their decision making. The context of examination through several principles works well. Seems to take a little long in getting to the point. Good reference material and concepts.