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The End of Leadership Hardcover – April 3, 2012
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“Barbara Kellerman does not play nicely with the other boys and girls-and we are all the better for it. Anyone interested in a penetrating critique of the leadership industry should read this provocative new book from our foremost leadership contrarian.” (Robert Kegan, Meehan Professor of Adult Learning and Professional Development, Harvard University Graduate School of Education)
“In this compelling book, Kellerman brings critical new insights to longstanding questions about the importance of leaders….essential reading for anyone who cares about the future of leadership both in theory and practice.” (Deborah Rhode, Ernest W. McFarland Professor of Law and Director of the Center on the Legal Profession, Stanford Law School)
“After pioneering work on followership and bad leadership, now Kellerman provocatively dissects what she calls the leadership industry. She offers suggestions on how to think far bigger and more expansively if we are to cope with leading in a global information age.” (Joseph S. Nye, Jr., University Distinguished Service Professor at Harvard and author of The Future of Power)
“A timely, considered and comprehensive examination of how leadership has changed and how and why we lost faith in leaders; how the leadership industry went wrong - and the steps needed to put it right” (Rob Goffee, Professor of Organisational Behaviour, London Business School)
“‘Mind the Gap’ could be the subtitle of Kellerman’s disturbingly honest and indispensable book. The ‘gap’ Kellerman urges us to mind is the hoary disconnect between what the leadership industry produces about best practices and what leaders who read our books actually practice.” (Warren Bennis, University Professor, University of Southern California and author of Still Surprised: A Memoir of a Life in Leadership)
“Kellerman’s honest and astute critique makes it clear that the gurus in her own field have work to do if they want to remain relevant.” (Kirkus Reviews)
A well-written chronicle of the evolution and devolution of the leadership profession and a substantiated indictment of the leadership development industry.Essential. (Choice Reviews Online)
From the Back Cover
One of our foremost leadership experts dismantles obsolete assumptions and stimulates a new conversation about leadership in the twenty-first century.
Becoming a leader has become a mantra. The explosive growth of the "leadership industry" is based on the belief that leading is a path to power and money, a medium for achievement, and a mechanism for creating change. But there are other, parallel truths: that leaders of every stripe are in disrepute; that the tireless and often superficial teaching of leadership has brought us no closer to nirvana; and that followers nearly everywhere have become, on the one hand, disappointed and disillusioned, and, on the other, entitled and emboldened.
The End of Leadership tells two tales. The first is about change—about how and why leadership and followership have changed over time, especially in the last forty years. As a result of cultural evolution and technological revolution, the balance of power between leaders and followers has shifted—with leaders becoming weaker and followers stronger.
The second narrative is about the leadership industry itself. In this provocative and critical volume, Barbara Kellerman raises questions about leadership as both a scholarly pursuit and a set of practical skills: Does the industry do what it claims to do—grow leaders? Does the research justify the undertaking? Do we adequately measure the results of our efforts? Are leaders as all-important as we think they are? What about followers? Isn't teaching good followership as important now as teaching good leadership? Finally, Kellerman asks: Given the precipitous decline of leaders in the estimation of their followers, are there alternatives to the existing models—ways of teaching leadership that take into account the vicissitudes of the twenty-first century?
The End of Leadership takes on all these questions and then some—making it necessary reading for business, political, and community leaders alike.
More About the Author
Kellerman received her B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College, and her M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. (1975, in Political Science) degrees from Yale University. She was awarded a Danforth Fellowship and three Fulbright fellowships. At Uppsala (1996-97), she held the Fulbright Chair in American Studies. Kellerman was cofounder of the International Leadership Association (ILA), and is author and editor of many books including Leadership: Multidisciplinary Perspectives; The Political Presidency: Practice of Leadership; and Reinventing Leadership: Making the Connection Between Politics and Business. She has appeared often on media outlets such as CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN, NPR, Reuters and BBC, and has contributed articles and reviews to the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, and the Harvard Business Review.
Her most recent books are Bad Leadership: What It Is, How It Happens, Why It Matters (2004); a co-edited (with Deborah Rhode) volume, Women & Leadership: State of Play and Strategies for Change (2007); and Followership: How Followers are Creating Change and Changing Leaders (2008). Kellerman speaks to audiences around the world, including in recent years Berlin, London, Moscow, Rome, Sao Paolo, Shanghai, Zurich, Jerusalem, Turin, Toronto, and Montreal. She is on the Advisory Board of the Leadership Research Network, on the Advisory Panel of the White House Leadership Project Report, on the editorial Board of Leadership Quarterly, and on the Publications Committee of the International Leadership Association. She is ranked by Forbes.com as among "Top 50 Business Thinkers" (2009) and by Leadership Excellence in top 15 of 100 "best minds on leadership." Her next book, Leadership: Essential Selections on Power, Authority, and Influence, will be published in March 2010 by McGraw-Hill.
Top Customer Reviews
The first six of the eight chapters of the book give an historical perspective explaining how and why the extent of powers enjoyed by leaders have been diminishing. Confucius's ideal leader was a "gentleman"; Plato's ideal was a philosopher-king. In the Middle Ages, royalty ruled on earth and God, through the Catholic Church, ruled the kingdom of heaven. The introduction of printing technology enabled Martin Luther to challenge the authority of the Catholic Church, and since then the absolute powers of leaders have been receding, as followers have become more empowered to communicate with each other and co-operate to resist tyranny.
In the workplace, concepts such as bottom-up control, employee activism and corporate democracy started coming into vogue in the 1970s. Command-and-control management theory gave way to cooperation and collaboration. Chief executives became servant-leaders and team players. The personal lives of prominent leaders are now examined publicly, and through social media leaders are subjected to streams of criticism and vitriol. The leader's ability to control his or her environment has largely disappeared as the result of advances in communication technology.Read more ›
Having established this context, she launches a criticism of the whole leadership training and development industry. In a nutshell, as she states in the introduction, "the leadership industry has not in any major, measurable way improved the human condition." (p. xiv) This is (or should be) embarrassing to the industry, inasmuch as billions upon billions of dollars have been spent over the past forty years on leadership training. In explaining this failure, she criticizes the industry for its apparent lack of scientific depth, its eclecticism, its shortage of performance metrics, and an apparent preference for one-size-fits-all approaches to leadership training. In the process, she presents many entertaining, informative vignettes.Read more ›
When she finally gets to the points she is trying to make they aren't that impressive. They're right, but they're not impressive. In fact, they're incredibly obvious to most people in the leadership industry. She doesn't even go into them in detail, she just makes the points, repeats them a few times, and then, in the very last paragraph in the book, gives scant, mostly unhelpful suggestions to the leadership industry as a whole. She doesn't go into any detail on specific leadership courses, theories, or possible solutions. The book was mostly disappointing, even though I agree with her points, which is sad. To save you the money and time here are the points (not copied word-for-word out of the book)
1. There is no scientific proof that leadership can be learned or that leadership training has positive long-term results.
2. There is a lack of consensus on what leadership is or a basic curriculum to learn it.
3. Corporate and Government leaders are now less trusted than they were before leadership training became popular and unethical behaviour is rampant.
4. The emphasis on leadership leaves out/devalues the important skills of following well, not following bad leaders, cooperating on an equal level, and working alone.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I've studied leadership development for years and this was a great book.
The book makes a good case for a new model of leadership and the need for better followers but... Read more
helped with my research, im a prof and doctoral studentPublished 19 months ago by Réagan Lorraine Lavorata
Barbara Kellerman illustrates how leadership has changed over time. She outlines where we have been and where we are headed. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Elizabeth Stincelli, DM
Kellerman's vitriolic description of the state of political, corporate, religious and civic leadership is well formulated. Read morePublished on November 26, 2013 by Josh Alwitt
Kudos for pointing out not everyone is a leader. More applause for suggesting following is a noble endeavor. Read morePublished on August 19, 2013 by Donna Albertone
The author addresses leadership from three perspectives:
3. Read more
Kelleher knows what makes leaders tick, and why followers follow, as proven in her several previous books, and her own leadership in the Harvard courses. Read morePublished on July 7, 2013 by E. Bruce Harrison
This an excellent assessment of the current situation in the direction of leadership training. It should be required reading for everyone who is part of the leadership industry.Published on March 11, 2013 by Chasbell