Thursday, May 10, 2007

Toxic and Bad Leaders

On Monday, I posted an item about "neurotic" leaders.... to continue the theme of leadership styles that most of us would not prefer to work with here are some links to info on the concepts of Toxic Leadership, and Bad Leaders.

In order to better understand the more positive aspects of leadership and the various theories of leadership, it's probably quite useful to take a look at the shadow or darker sides of the concept as well. I'll refrain from commenting on any of our current "leaders", but I'm sure if you look through these resources you'll realize just how often we find ourselves surrounded by these less than ideal leaders.

Jean Lipman-Blumen has written: "The Allure of Toxic Leaders: Why We Follow Destructive Bosses and Corrupt Politicians - and How We Can Survive Them", (New York: Oxford
University Press), 2005.

An article by Jean on this concept can be found at: Ivey Business Journal
Here's a most provacative exceprt from the article:

The real tragedy of the human condition is not that we all must die, but, rather, that we choose to live by grand illusions, rather than to face our fears. Hence, we fall into the clutches of toxic leaders who promise us the moon, knowing full well they cannot deliver. In the worst of all cases, toxic leaders fall under the spell of their own grand illusions and believe that they can.

The second resource on the darker side of leadership comes from Barbara Kellerman and is called: "BAD LEADERSHIP: What It Is, How It Happens, Why It Matters" (Harvard Business School Press, September 2004).

A short synopsis of the book says: "Bad Leadership argues that it's time to embrace a more honest, holistic view of leadership that acknowledges the dark side of human nature and its impact on leaders and followers alike. In a departure from conventional thinking, Barbara Kellerman contends that bad leadership is not an aberration, but a ubiquitous and insidious part of everyday life that must be carefully examined and better understood." "Kellerman identifies two fundamental categories of bad leadership - ineffective and unethical - and highlights the seven types of bad leadership that are the most prevalent: incompetent, rigid, intemperate, callous, corrupt, insular, and evil."

Here are some resources that Harvard has availabe on Bad Leadership. It includes links to additional items and a video of Kellerman.

That's all for now... especially about the "less than desireable" sides of leadership. Coming next.... NeuroLeadership. Stay tuned....

Be well.