It seems that terrible leaders are easy to find. This includes business ‘leaders’ who have ruined corporations such as Enron, Lehman Brothers and damaged economies in the process, or political ‘leaders’ who oppress populations in the Middle East and North Africa.
There is a wealth of advice and guidance on being a better leader. However, ‘The Terrible Leader’ by Dan White offers an irreverent, challenging and at times caustic look at leadership providing examples from Ivan the Terrible onwards and examining their motivations. As a leadership development consultant and global learning organizational development director, White is well placed to apply leadership theories to actual practice. The result is a book for people who have either been the victims of terrible leadership, or who want to be better leaders themselves.
White achieves this by creating his own managerial-Frankenstein. This monsters style is autocratic, makes employees miserable, abuses his power and thrives in a blame culture. Creating this worst-case scenario of leadership allows us to first study ‘The Terrible Leader’, learning what to avoid and illuminate what we should focus on.
Key lessons include:
• Many leaders fall into the trap of perceiving their goal to be the enhancement of their career and personal success. This is not what great leadership is about.
• Leaders should take pride in what their organizations do for customers and staff and avoid attaching too much pride in the wrong place e.g. market share.
• All leaders should avoid the misplaced belief that their staff will perform to a high standard because either: they inspire them personally (hero leadership) or they are an intimidating prospect to deal with should anything go wrong (villain leadership). Donald Trump is an example of the intimidating leadership style.
A recent search on Amazon revealed that 160,194 books have been written about Leadership. However, if you want a book to make you think about the importance of leadership; and the impact of bad leadership – then ‘The Terrible Leader’ is it.
‘The Terrible Leader’ by Dan White
Published by Marshall Cavendish Business.
Available from business-bookshop.co.uk
Keith Appleton JP, BA(Hons), N.Dip.M, MInstLM has extensive experience within a managerial and strategic leadership role. This is underpinned by his academic background and membership of the UK Institute of Leadership & Management.
NOTE: As an small-businessadvice member you have a chance to win a free copy of this book. Simply email KeithAppleton@Hotmail.co.uk with the subject line of ‘small-business – Terrible Leader’ including your address in the body of the email and you will be entered into the prize draw. The competition closes on (June 1, 2012.)
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