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Book Review Final Bad Leadership Review

by Carol A. Warhurst

A Paper Presented in Partial Fulfillment Of the Re uirements of L!A"#$% L!A"!R&'(P () CO)*!+* ,ay -%$.

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0ellerman1 B. 2-%%34. Bad leadership, what it is, how it happens, why it matters. 'arvard Business Press. INTRODUCTION *here is no uestion that per5eption drives reality. 'ow we observe our environment and the way we per5eive the people that influen5e our lives determines what dire5tion we will take and what de5isions we will make. (n order to understand what we do1 we first must make an effort to understand the reason why we do it. *his book is an attempt to understand the 6why7 behind bad leadership1 so we1 as leaders and followers1 5an understand the 6what7 that we are doin8. 'istori5ally1 8eneration after 8eneration has en8a8ed in the study of 8ood leaders and what makes them 8ood. 'owever1 0ellerman poses the uestion of whether or not we 5an truly understand our leaders and in effe5t ourselves if we only study the li8ht and i8nore the darkness that e9ists inside us all. 0ellerman:s resear5h has led her to this study1 this e9posure to the dark side of mankind1 this de5laration that power is not the 5orruptive for5e to blame for bad leadership1 rather the human 5ondition and la5kin8 awareness of it:s influen5es is to blame. *he idea that no leader be5omes bad on their own resonates in ea5h 5hapter of this book. !veryone plays a role in the 5reation of a bad leader and therefore everyone should be aware of what1 why and how it happens and what 5an be done to prevent it. THESIS STATEMENT


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0ellerman 5laims that no leader is an island. All leaders are fashioned by the hands and minds of the multitudes1 rather then one all powerful bein8. *he idea is that we are all 5onne5ted and this web is what traps us in patterns of behavior that 8ood or bad1 5reate the leader rather than the leader pavin8 a path of darkness alone. 0ellerman stated that1 6the fundamental proposition of this book; *o deny bad leadership e uivalen5e in the 5onversation and 5urri5ulum is mis8uided1 tantamount to a medi5al s5hool that would 5laim to tea5h health while i8norin8 disease7 20ellerman1 p8. $$1 -%%34. *he thesis statement here is that we must be willin8 to open our eyes to the ne8ative aspe5ts of leadership in order to know how and why we need to pres5ribe 5han8e for ourselves and our future leaders. (n order to embra5e this philosophy1 one must be willin8 to a55ept their own role in 5reatin8 and supportin8 bad leaders. One must also re5o8ni<e the role of bad followers and how ea5h are 5onne5ted in the 5reation of bad leadership. 0ellerman as5ertains that leaders 5an be bad and still be effe5tive. &he e9plains the differen5e between bein8 effe5tive and bein8 ethi5al and how our per5eptions of 8ood drives us to follow leaders that are effe5tive even thou8h they may not be ethi5al. *here is 5omfort and safety in knowin8 that the person in 5ontrol knows what they are doin81 even if what they are doin8 isn:t 8ood. *his mentality has 5reated bad leaders over the years and 0ellerman states 6if we have any hope of movin8 from bad leadership to better leadership1 we must strike a balan5e between lookin8 at the li8ht and seein8 in the dark7 20ellerman1 p8. .-1 -%%34.


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MAJOR POINTS Any therapist worth a 8rain of salt will tell you that the first step to 5reatin8 a solution to a problem is admittin8 that you have one. 0ellerman be8ins the book by a5knowled8in8 that bad leadership e9ists and has been i8nored by s5holarly resear5h institutions for far too lon8. By e9plainin8 the si8nifi5an5e of not knowin8 what we are up a8ainst or why it is imperative to study1 she sets a ba5kdrop for a thorou8h e9planation of bad leadership1 whi5h leaves the reader antipatheti5 to i8norin8 the sub=e5t any lon8er. &he 5ombats the idea that bad leadership must be kept an esoteri5 sub=e5t that only a sele5t few need sully their minds on. &he en8a8es the masses by 8roupin8 us all to8ether as 8uilty parties in the 5reation of bad leaders. 0ellerman states1 6those who are immediately responsible for bad leadership in5lude bad followers =ust as mu5h as bad leaders. Like leaders1 followers run the 8amut. At the e9treme1 there are those who 5ommit 5rimes of obedien5e7 20ellerman1 p8. $.1 -%%34. *his immediately 8rabs the reader and infers that ( am =ust as mu5h to blame for the bad leaders in my or8ani<ation as they are for bein8 bad leaders and perhaps ( am even responsible for makin8 them su5h. (mmediately my perspe5tive shifted from one of listener to learner and my desire to make a positive 5han8e in my own leadership situation was en8a8ed. 0ellerman shifts from a pla5e of outlinin8 the problem and the wei8ht of its impa5t to an in>depth analysis of why bad leadership e9ists. *his is where it be5omes important to understand the 6why7 behind the 6what7 of bad leadership. &he broa5hes the sub=e5t from the vanta8e point of the leader and the follower1 definin8 why leaders as individuals behave badly and why followers as a 8roup 5hoose to stand behind the bad behavior of our leaders. *his blends into an iv

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e9planation of the differen5es between ineffe5tive and unethi5al leaders and why it is important to be able to distin8uish between the two in an effort to learn why leaders and followers behave badly. 0ellerman states1 6the mi9ture of the ineffe5tive and the unethi5al in bad leadership 5an never be known or measured pre5isely. *his is a truth of the human 5ondition. *he important tasks then are to develop a 8reater awareness of the dynami5 of bad leadership1 and a better understandin8 of the different ways that leaders: a5tions 5an be both ineffe5tive and unethi5al7 20ellerman1 p8. .?1 -%%34. (t is from here that 0ellerman moves to a breakdown of seven 8roups that she believes bad leadership falls into. *he 8roups are; in5ompeten5e1 ri8id1 intemperate1 5allous1 5orrupt1 insular1 and evil. &he defines and e9plains ea5h 8roup and pro5eeds to 8ive a myriad of real life e9amples from ea5h 8roup to truly drive home ea5h point. *hrou8h poi8nant story tellin8 she is able to paint a pi5ture that represents ea5h 8roup in su5h a way that you see the bad in the leader1 the followers and the web that 5onne5ts them all. (n order to brin8 the reader full 5ir5le and offer solutions for the problems presented in bad leadership1 0ellerman des5ribes the 5osts of i8norin8 the lessons in this book and the benefits of makin8 the 5hoi5e to open our eyes to the possibility of 5han8in8 ourselves as leaders and followers. &he states1 6the result of all this / of so mu5h dama8e and su5h hi8h 5osts / is that bad leadership has a ripple effe5t and also a lin8erin8 impa5t. *hink of it as havin8 multi8enerational 5onse uen5es. Bad leadership is not an evanes5ent phenomenon. (t does not 5ome and then 8o. (t has a le8a5y that endures and is perni5ious7 20ellerman1 p8. --.1 -%%34. 0nowin8 the 5onse uen5es of ina5tion is =ust as important as knowin8 the 5orre5tive a5tions to take. On5e these have been e9posed1 it is up to

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the reader what they will do with the information. (t be5omes very personal thou8h. When readin8 about the lives of others and the mistakes they have made1 it is easy to deta5h and submit to spe5tatorship1 but 0ellerman ties it all to8ether by weavin8 into ea5h story a 5all to a5tion. CRITICAL ASSESSMENT (n this 5ourse1 we learned about @ames Burns:s ideas on transformational leadership and how he proposed that it is ne5essary to make an effort to understand the stren8ths and weaknesses of your followers in order to lead. A leader that is able to e9er5ise this type of vision and adapt to the 5han8in8 needs to the masses is able to motivate1 5ommuni5ate and mobili<e followers. 6Aision is not the uni ue 8ift of a few spe5ial leaders who1 be5ause of their e9traordinary foresi8ht1 are sin8ularly adept at leadin8 ailin8 or8ani<ations out of the darkness and into the li8ht. *here is no denyin8 that some leaders do a better =ob than others at 5ommuni5atin8 their parti5ular vision to the or8ani<ation:s members. *here is no reason1 however1 to believe that their sense of vision is ne5essarily superior to anyone else:s 2re5all that Adolph 'itler was a parti5ularly 8ifted 5ommuni5ator4 2Bea5h1 -%%?4. Bnderstandin8 the differen5e between leaders that effe5tively 5ommuni5ate and ethi5ally lead is one ma=or foundational point of 0ellermans. Adolph 'itler was effe5tive and 5ommuni5ated his vision1 but understandin8 what made him a bad leader and why he mobili<ed so many bad followers is paramount to makin8 a 5han8e without ourselves as leaders and followers.


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*here are alternative ways to look at the material presented in this book. *he idea that per5eption drives reality 5auses me to e9amine the idea that not all leaders that behave badly are bad leaders. Perhaps it is too harsh to make that stereotypi5al assumption that you are the 5ulmination of all your bad de5isions. Can someone be more than what they:ve doneC 6Lapses in ethi5al leadership 5an o55ur in people who possess stron8 ethi5al 5hara5ter1 espe5ially if they view the or8ani<ation:s ethi5al 5ulture as bein8 outside the realm of de5ision makin8 that e9ists in the home1 family1 and the 5ommunity. *his phenomenon has been observed in 5ountless 5ases of so> 5alled 8ood 5ommunity 5iti<ens en8a8in8 in unethi5al business a5tivities7 2Ferrell1 p8. $.D1 -%$$4. 0ellerman ar8ues that no man be5omes a bad leader by himself. 'owever1 it is possible that no man is imprisoned by the behaviors of bad leadership1 but is simply one $E%>de8ree turn away from bein8 a 8ood leader. (n this 5ourse1 we also learned about the 5ontin8en5y theory as it applies to leadership. &pe5ifi5ally1 ,a5hiavelli believed that a leader must have a 8rasp on the human 5ondition and use that knowled8e a8ainst them to 8ain power and 5ontrol. *he 5ontin8en5y theory purports that there is no best way to leadF =ust an awareness of what ea5h 5ir5umstan5e needs that is different from others. 6*he most su55essful leaders do not rely on one style but alter their te5hni ues based on the 5hara5teristi5s of the situation. "ifferent styles 5an be effe5tive in developin8 an ethi5al 5ulture dependin8 on the leaders assessment of risks and the desire to a5hieve a positive


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5limate for or8ani<ational performan5e7 2Ferrell1 p8. $3%1 -%$$4. Perhaps 8ood leaders 5an be defined by their ability to =ud8e and dis5ern the needs of the world they live in and 5ommuni5ate that vision to their followers. 'owever1 Greenleaf mi8ht ar8ue that only a servant>leader 5an be a 8ood leader. 6!ffe5tive or8ani<ations are not 5hara5teri<ed by impersonal1 authoritarian hierar5hies that bully people into produ5in8 results under pressure1 but by leaders who are hi8hly interpersonal in their relationships with people1 are effe5tive persuaders1 and lead by e9ample7 2&pears H Lawren5e1 -%%#4. *his brin8s us ba5k to the topi5 of per5eption. (f my per5eption of a 8ood leader is someone that puts my needs above their own and leads by e9ample1 then anythin8 other than that will ualify as bad leadership in my eyes. But does that really make it soC (t is too narrow of a thou8ht pattern to say that 8ood leaders have 5ertain ualities and bad leaders possess others. ,any bad leaders had vision and 5ommuni5ation skills1 this does not make them 8ood. 6*he prevailin8 notion that leadership 5onsists of havin8 a vision and ali8nin8 people with that vision is bankrupt be5ause it 5ontinues to treat adaptive situations as if they were te5hni5al; the authority fi8ure is supposed to divine where the 5ompany is 8oin81 and people are supposed to follow. Leadership is redu5ed to a 5ombination of 8rand knowin8 and salesmanship. &u5h perspe5tive reveals a basi5 mis5on5eption about the way businesses su55eed in addressin8 adaptive 5hallen8es. Adaptive situations are hard to define and resolve


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pre5isely be5ause they demand the work and responsibility of mana8ers and people throu8hout the or8ani<ation. *hey are not amenable to solutions provided by leadersF adaptive solutions re uire members of the or8ani<ation to take responsibility for the problemati5 situations that fa5e them 2,int<ber81 0otter H Iale<nik1 $DDE4. Good leaders and bad leaders alike 5annot be 5ontained in a small bo9 or a simple 8roup of seven types. Leadership is an ever>evolvin8 phenomenon that re uires 5areful study and prudent appli5ation. As leaders1 we must be able to adapt daily to the 5han8in8 needs of the people and the pro=e5ts that surround us. As followers1 we must be ever 5ons5ious of our role in supportin8 and 5reatin8 the path the leaders are bla<in8 for us. PERSONAL REACTION *here are many personal appli5ations that ( have taken away from the material that is 5ontained within this book. ( understand that my per5eption of myself 8reatly impa5ts me as a leader and a follower. 'owever1 ( am responsible for makin8 the de5ision to be refle5tive of myself and seek the proper support system ( need to remain balan5ed and healthy as a leader. Bein8 aware of my 5onne5tion to everyone around me and 5hoosin8 to be authenti5 and transparent with them rather than prote5tive and insular will aid me in my =ourney to be5ome a better team member and follower. Lastly and most importantly1 ( have learned that the problems ( have with the leaders in my or8ani<ations are =ust as mu5h as refle5tion of me and the darkness


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in my human 5ondition as it is to their human 5ondition. (f ( am 8oin8 to make a 5han8e for the better ( need to be prepared to take a5tion and demand 8ood behavior.


Anderson1".2-%$$4 Or8ani<ational development; the pro5ess of leadin8 or8ani<ational 5han8e 2-nd ed.4 *housand Oaks1CA; &a8e Publi5ations1 (n5. Bea5h1 L. R. 2-%%?4. Leadership and the art of change, a practical guide to organizational transformation. &a8e Publi5ations1 (n5. Ferrell1 O. C.1 Fraedri5h1 @.1 H Ferrell1 L. 2-%$$4. Business ethics: Ethical decision making and cases. 2Dth ed.1 Aol. ed.4. ,ason1 O'; &outh>Western Cen8a8e Learnin8. 0ellerman1 B. 2-%%34. Bad leadership, what it is, how it happens, why it matters. 'arvard Business Press. ,int<ber81 '.1 0otter1 @. P.1 H Iale<nik1 A. 2$DDE4. Harvard business review on leadership. 'arvard Business Press. &pears1 L. C.1 H Lawren5e1 ,. 2-%%#4. Pra5ti5in8 servant>leadership1 su55eedin8 throu8h trust1 bravery1 and for8iveness. 2$st ed.4. &an Fran5is5o; @ossey>Bass (n5. Pub.

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Appendix A

The Book Review or Article Critique: General Guidelines

This handout should be included as an appendix to your assignment, so Portfolio readers will understand the overall assignment requirements.

An analytic or critical review of a book or article is not primarily a summary; rather, it comments on and evaluates the work in the light of specific issues and theoretical concerns in a course. The book review is concerned with an authors treatment of a particular overall topic, in this case leadership. Keep questions like the following in mind as you read Bad Leadership, make notes, and then write the review according to the format guidelines provided.

1. hat is the specific topic of the book or article! hat overall purpose does it seem to have! "or what readership is it written! #The preface, acknowledgements, bibliography and inde$ can be helpful in answering these questions. %on&t overlook facts about the author&s background and the circumstances of the book&s creation and publication.'

(. %oes the author state an e$plicit thesis! %oes he or she noticeably have an a$e to grind! hat are the theoretical assumptions! Are they discussed e$plicitly! #Again, look for statements in the preface, etc. and follow them up in the rest of the work.'

Main Points
). *ummari+e the main points the author makes. hat kinds of material does the work present #e.g. primary documents or secondary material, literary analysis, personal observation, quantitative data, biographical or historical accounts'!


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,. -ow is this material used to demonstrate and argue the thesis! #As well as indicating the overall structure of the work, your review could quote or summari+e specific passages to show the characteristics of the author&s presentation, including writing style and tone.'

Critical Assessment
.. hat e$actly does the work contribute to the overall topic of your course! hat general problems and concepts in your discipline and course does it engage with!

/. Are there alternative ways of arguing from the same material! %oes the author show awareness of them! 0n what respects does the author agree or disagree!


hat theoretical issues and topics for further discussion does the work raise! (Here is where some outside research comes in to play)


hat does other literature say about some of the same topics the author presents! 0s the author thorough in his or her presentation of alternative points of view! 0s he or she familiar with other literature! (More outside research here)

Personal Reaction
3. hat are your own reactions and considered opinions regarding the work! *ome reviews summari+e the book&s content and then evaluate it; others integrate these functions, commenting on the book and using summary only to give e$amples. You should do the latter.

14. 0s there anything of value to be learned in a practical sense from reading Bad Leadership? -ow, specifically, can you integrate the topics covered in the book


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with your own professional and personal life! Are there particular behaviors, attitudes, etc you will change as a result of this reading!