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Thursday, August 9, 2012

End of Leadership: Post# 1

The End of Leadership (Harper Business, 2012) by Barbara Kellerman; reviewed by Steve Gladis, Ph.D., August 2012
Overview: Barbara Kellerman, at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, gives her own “leadership industry” a kick in the pants. As the power of leaders in the world lessens and followers gain more leverage, MBA programs, professional executive education, private leadership development practitioners, and even vaunted internal industry programs all seem to fall short. Kellerman traces the history of leadership, from Confucius and Plato, to Machiavelli and Hobbs, to Locke and Jefferson, to Goldman and GE. She describes the downgrading of leadership regarding the presidency (whether a Democrat or a Republican), in Congress and among corporate leaders, as well as the decline of power and leadership in social institutions like the Catholic Church. Kellerman argues that the social contract between leaders (expected to be ethical and effective) and followers (becoming more demanding and powerful) has been broken. A well written, reflective treatise on the “leadership industry,” in which Kellerman is surely a key player, this book is bracing but ultimately stimulating, like a cold shower!

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