The End of Bad Leadership

Leaders everywhere are in disrepute. Hardly a day goes by without news of corporate ethical violations, financial fudging and CEO failures. Yet, compensation packages and bonuses continue unabated, even when disgraced leaders are sent packing. (photo courtesy

Harvard Business School Professor Barbara Kellerman criticizes the leadership-development industry in her new book, The End of Leadership (HarperBusiness, April 2012). She asserts:

  • Leaders at every level, across all industries, are failing the people who depend on them.
  • Leadership programs have done an inadequate job of producing effective and ethical leaders.
  • We don’t really know how to grow good leaders, and we know even less about how to stop or slow the bad ones.
  • Today’s business environment is rapidly changing in ways leaders are unable or unwilling to grasp.
  • Followers are disappointed and disillusioned, even though they are more empowered, emboldened and entitled than ever before.

This article examines the evidence of ineffective and unethical leaders, the loss of leadership power and trust, and what leaders and followers can do about it.


This is a brief synopsis of a 1,600-word article and Article Nuggets,*suitable for consultants’ newsletters for executives and leaders in organizations. It is available for purchase with full reprint rights, which means you may put your name on it and use it in your newsletters, blogs or other marketing materials. You may also modify it and add your personal experiences and perspectives.

The complete article includes these important concepts:

  • Leadership’s Devolution
  • The Leadership Trust Gap
  • Income: The Great Divide
  • Flawed Followers
  • Question These Assumptions
  • What Leaders Can Do
  • What Followers Can Do

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