From Publishers Weekly
"How," asks Kellerman, "will we ever stop what we refuse to see and study?" Research director of the Center for Public Leadership and lecturer in public policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, Kellerman focuses in opening chapters on the nature of leadership, the rise of a "leadership industry," the complicit role of followers, the definition of bad leadership and reasons for its occurrence. Kellerman's style combines the direct prose of the boardroom with the erudition of the classroom; relevant citations abound, from Machiavelli and Thomas Hobbes to Newsweek
and Washington Monthly
. Kellerman posits seven "types" of bad leadership and devotes a chapter containing a few brief examples and one detailed analysis to each. Drawing from the corporate, nonprofit, government and public opinion sectors, she examines instances of incompetence, rigidity, intemperance, callousness, corruption, insularity and even evil. Her focus isn't limited to individual behavior; context and the actions of followers are also considered. For example, the International Olympic Committee is faulted as much as its former president for scandals and commercialism that have sometimes undermined the games. High-level cabinet members, prominent legislators and the nation as a whole share the blame for the Clinton administration's failure to intervene in Rwanda's genocide. The stories, and Kellerman's final section of correctives, are complex and nuanced; there are no easy answers.
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Bound for the top of the business best-sellers lists--at least in terms of the controversy it will generate--Harvard lecturer Kellerman's book argues cogently, compellingly, and with an amazing clarity for the identification of bad leadership and, then, for its removal. Too long has the concept of leadership been viewed only in shades of white within America--and, thus, too long have we denied the existence of bad leadership. Neither are followers excused, for they, too, have a real culpability, asserts Kellerman. Types fall into seven categories, either ineffective or unethical, and include incompetent, rigid, intemperate, callous, corrupt, insular, and evil. And for each, she selects one recent example on which to focus, in addition to minor players, from former Mattel CEO Jill Barad and Reverend Jesse Jackson to Jim Jones and Saddam Hussein. As any good academic problem solver, she lists those corrections necessary for leaders and followers to adopt. The real question is, Will this book be ignored? Hopefully not. Barbara JacobsCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved