Understanding Bad Leadership

Catch this clip of Professor Barbara Kellerman of the Harvard Kennedy School talking about “The Social Disease of Bad Leadership.”


In the YouTube video “GRACE under pressure: John Baldoni with Barbara Kellerman,” Barbara Kellerman, a Harvard Kennedy School Center for Public Leadership fellow, discusses her focus on the negative outcomes of leadership and challenges the industry’s portrayal of leadership as only positive.

Kellerman argues that there are many bad leaders and managers and shares her unique perspective on the dark side of leadership. John Baldoni emphasizes the importance of understanding how leaders become bad and the role of followers and context. They use extreme examples like Adolf Hitler to illustrate the subjectivity of defining good and bad leadership. Baldoni also discusses the concept of bad leadership as a social disease and the importance of accountability.

Kellerman emphasizes the need for individuals to have a moral compass and take a stand against bad leadership, even in complex situations. They also touch on the importance of qualities like gratitude, respect, authenticity, clarity, and ethics in leadership.

Here is the full interview with Professor Barbara Kellerman speaking about her newest book, Leadership from Bad to Worse.