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The Enablers:
How Team Trump Flunked the Pandemic and Failed America
Cover of The Enablers

The COVID-19 pandemic will forever be remembered as a pivotal event in American history. Written by one of the world’s foremost experts on leadership and followership, this book centers on the first six months of the pandemic and the crises that ran rampant. The chapters focus less on the former president, Donald Trump, than on his followers: on people complicit in his miserable mismanagement of the crisis in public health. Barbara Kellerman provides clear and compelling evidence that Trump was not entirely to blame for everything that went wrong. Many others were responsible including his base, party, administration, inner circle, Republican elites, members of the media, and even medical experts. Far too many surrendered to the president’s demands, despite it being obvious his leadership was fatally flawed. The book testifies to the importance of speaking truth to power, and a willingness to take risks properly to serve the public interest.

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Leaders Who Lust:
Power, Money, Sex, Success, Legitimacy, Legacy 
Cover of Leaders Who Lust

Among our greatest leaders are those driven by impulses they cannot completely control – by lust. Lust is not, however, an abstraction, it has definition. Definition that, given the impact of leaders who lust, is essential to extract. This book identifies six types of lust with which leaders are linked:

  1. Power: the ceaseless craving to control.
  2. Money: the limitless desire to accrue great wealth.
  3. Sex: the constant hunt for sexual gratification.
  4. Success: the unstoppable need to achieve.
  5. Legitimacy: the tireless claim to identity and equity.
  6. Legacy: the endless quest to leave a permanent imprint.

Each of the core chapters focuses on different lusts and features a cast of characters who bring lust to life. In the real world leaders who lust can and often do have an enduring impact. This book therefore is counter-intuitive – it focuses not on moderation, but on immoderation.

In this path-breaking book, one of the most perceptive and prolific scholars in leadership, Barbara Kellerman, teams up with one of the most talented and promising social scientists, Todd Pittinsky, to pierce an important veil. Instead of telling us what leaders should be like, we learn how they truly are. This is an eye-opening must read.” — David Gergen, White House Advisor to four US Presidents and founding director of the Center for Public Leadership, Harvard Kennedy School

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Professionalizing Leadership 

Over the last 40 years, the leadership industry has grown exponentially. Yet leadership education, training, and development still fall far short. The question is, why? Professionalizing Leadership suggests that the reason that leadership has stayed stuck is because it remains an occupation. It never became a vocation, not to speak of a profession. This book aims to create change – it provides the template necessary for transforming leadership from dubious occupation to respectable profession.

“Professionalizing Leadership is an indictment of the leadership industry. But it goes far further: it presents an alternative scenario, one in which leadership is not, merely, an occupation, but a profession, like medicine and law. Kellerman extracts from the military some lessons on how leaders can and should be educated, trained, and developed. In so doing, she provides us with an indispensable guide to rethinking and reconstituting leadership learning at a moment when the crisis of leadership is blindingly clear.” Admiral James Stavridis, United States Navy

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Hard Times: Leadership in America

“Hard Times is a brilliantly insightful and immensely important book. It’s a tour de force-a passionate, provocative, and persuasive discourse on the extraordinarily complex context that confronts leaders in every waking moment. There is no one better able to tell this story than Kellerman. She is an exceptional writer with an extraordinary breadth and depth of knowledge who never hesitates to tell it like it is. Hard Times is one of those rare books that comes along every so often that gets you to stand up straight and pay attention. Bold, brawny, and sometimes disquieting, it is an essential guide to orienting in these uncertain times. Every leader and student of leadership must read this book. Now!”

– James Kouzes, coauthor, The Leadership Challenge, and the Dean’s Executive Fellow of Leadership, Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University

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The End of Leadership

The End of Leadership tells two tales. The first is about change – about how and why leadership and followership have changed over time, especially in the last ten years. As a result of cultural evolution and technological revolution, the balance of power between leaders and followers has shifted in democratic systems and organizations – with leaders becoming weaker and followers stronger.  The second narrative is about the “leadership industry” itself. Questions are raised both about leadership as a scholarly pursuit, and about leadership as a set of practical skills. Specifically, does the research justify the undertaking? And can leadership be taught – if so, how do we know?

The End of Leadership was long-listed by the Financial Times as one of the best business books of 2012. And it was named by Choice as one of the best academic publications of 2013.

“Barbara Kellerman does not play nicely with the other boys and girls – and we are all the better for it. Anyone interested in a penetrating critique of the leadership industry should read this provocative new book from our foremost leadership contrarian.” -Robert Kegan,  Meehan Professor of Adult Learning and Development, Harvard University Graduate School of Education.

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Leadership: Essential Selections on Power, Authority, and Influence 

Leadership: Essential Selections is a concise yet expansive collection of great leadership literature that has stood the test of time. Every single selection has had and continues to have an impact on how and what we think about what it means to be a leader. And every single one has had an impact on leadership as an area of intellectual inquiry. Included are selections from Lao Tzu, Plato, Machiavelli, Wollstonecraft, Paine, Marx and Engels, Tolstoy, Weber, Freud, Friedan – and Queen Elizabeth I, Gandhi, Churchill, King, and Mandela. The selections in the volume are timeless, universal, and essential reading for anyone with an interest in the subject of leadership and, for that matter, in great literature.

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Followership: How Followers Are Creating Change and Changing Leaders

There is no leader without at least one follower – that’s obvious. But this groundbreaking volume is the first to provide a sweeping view of followers both in their own right – and in relation to their leaders. It deliberately departs from the leader-centric approach that has for too long dominated our thinking about leadership and management.

Followership enables us to see how people with relatively fewer sources of power, authority, and influence matter. They matter when they do something – and they matter even when they do little or nothing. In these rapidly changing times, and as Kellerman makes crystal clear, to fixate on leaders at the expense of followers is to do so at our peril. The latter are every bit as important as the former – which makes this book required reading for superiors and subordinates alike.

“At long last, followership brilliantly comes into its own – as leadership. Kellerman is noted for her original and arresting studies in leadership; in Followership, a book rich with historical examples and real-life situations, she offers bold new ideas about the leader-follower interaction.” -James MacGregor Burns, Woodrow Wilson Professor of Government, emeritus, Williams College

“Barbara Kellerman’s exciting book, Followership, offers breakthrough insights into why and how people relate to their leaders …. Every leader should read this book to understand how to become more effective in leading.”  –Bill George, Author of True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership

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Women & Leadership: The State of Play and Strategies for Change

Despite recent progress, women seeking leadership positions face persistent and pervasive barriers. These include gender bias in leadership opportunities, gender inequalities in family responsibilities, inflexibilities in workplace structures, and inadequacies in social policies.

Women and Leadership brings together in one comprehensive volume preeminent scholars from a range of disciplines to address the challenges involving women and leadership. These experts explore when and how women exercise power and what stands in their way. This groundbreaking volume offers readers an informed analysis of the state of women and leadership.

“This book provides the most comprehensive account to date of women’s persistent underrepresentation in leadership roles, why it matters, and what can be done to change it.” —From the Foreword by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (Ret.)

“This book provides the most authoritative exploration yet published of the obstacles still in the way and strategies for overcoming them. It is packed with insights and understandings from many of the best in the field – all point the way forward. Bravo!” —David Gergen, Professor of Public Service and co-director, Center for Public Leadership, Harvard Kennedy School

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Bad Leadership: What It Is, How It Happens, Why It Matters

Bad Leadership argues that it’s time to embrace a more honest, holistic view of leadership that acknowledges the dark side of the human condition. In a departure from conventional thinking, Kellerman contends that bad leadership is not exactly an aberration, but a ubiquitous and often insidious part of everyday life. Two basic categories of bad leadership are identified – ineffective and unethical – as well as seven different types, ranging from incompetent at the one end, to evil at the other.

“If all Kellerman did was remind us of how often our so-called leaders go astray, it would be a useful lesson. But she does far more. This books shows us the crucial differences between good and bad leadership … a superb and important book.” –Mickey Edwards, Vice President of the Aspen Institute

“Kellerman invades a contested terrain few dare to think about, and fewer understand: destructive leadership and its consequences. Bad Leadership is a powerful contribution to our understanding of how bad leaders go wrong, and how they seduce and betray their followers. The book provides no cure, but a way of cauterizing the wounds of power.” –Warren Bennis, Distinguished Professor of Business Administration, University of Southern California

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Other Books:

All the President’s Kin

Leadership and Negotiation in the Middle East

Leadership: Multidisciplinary Perspectives

Making Decisions

Political Leadership: A Source Book

The Political Presidency: Practice of Leadership from Kennedy through Reagan

The President As World Leader

Reinventing Leadership: Making the Connection Between Politics and Business

Selected Articles and Chapters

“Responsible Followership” in Responsible Leadership, editors Nicola Pless and Thomas Maak, Routledge, 2020.

“Leadership and Lactation” in Women’s Leadership Journeys: Attributes, Style, and Impact, Sherylle Tan and Lisa DeFrank-Cole, eds, Routledge, 2018.

“The Importance of Being Expert – Contextually Expert” in The European Business Review, January/February, 2017.

“The Heart of Darkness” in More than Managing, Lawrence Hoffman, ed., Turner, 2016.

“Women at the Top: The Pipeline as Pipedream,” About Campus, 2016 (with Deborah Rhode).

“Leadership – It’s a System, Not a Person” Daedalus, 2016.

“Leadership and Change: Convergence and Divergence between the United States and Russia” John Storey et al, eds, Routledge Companion to Leadership, 2016.