wisdom to win

 Wisdom to Win
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Barbara KellermanBarbara Kellerman


American professor in leadership at Harvard University (pictured right).


Key books


Bad Leadership (2004)

There are seven types of bad leadership:

  • incompetent (lacking necessary skills).
  • rigid (unable to change).
  • intemperate (lacking self-discipline).
  • callous (treating people badly),
  • corrupt (being a liar, thief, or cheat) .
  • insular (ignoring other people and external events).
  • evil (committing atrocities).

So bad leaders are:

  • ineffective and/or
  • unethical 

Bad leadership can be blamed on not only the leaders but also their followers for letting it happen.


Key quote on leadership

Ideal leaders and followers are, at the same time, effective and ethical


Followership (2008)

The best followers are highly self-motivated (or engaged) to help leaders achieve their vision and objectives.

They shouldn’t be detached and uninvolved (isolates, or bystanders), but actively supportive of the leader (participants, activists or diehards)


Key quote on leadership

Better followership often begets better leadership.


The End of Leadership (2012)

People follow a leader because they:

  • have to, or
  • want to (the much better option)

So successful leaders empower their followers to take responsibility for results by being:

  • sensitive to people’s needs
  • trustworthy and ethical (filling the trust gap between leaders and followers).
  • effective (leaders doing what they say and achieving their vision and objectives).

Great leaders need followers who must also have the will and ability to resist bad leaders.


Key quote

Leaders are supposed to suggest or recommend that their followers follow, not order them to do so.

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