Barbara Kellerman

in Professionalizing Leadership

Published in print April 2018 | ISBN: 9780190695781
Published online February 2018 | e-ISBN: 9780190874452 | DOI:

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The chapter argues that leadership has stayed stuck in part because leadership experts and educators typically confine themselves to a singularly small space. They focus on the leader to the exclusion of virtually everyone else—and everything else. They fixate on teaching people how to be good leaders, ignoring, among other things, bad leaders. The leadership industry is, then, narrow in its scope rather than broad, the accompanying pedagogical presumption being that focusing laser-like on single individuals will suffice. These single individuals, these putative leaders, are rarely set in the world of other people, notably followers. And they are rarely set in the contexts that, of themselves, have an impact on how change is, or is not, created. The discussion emphasizes that leadership is not a person—it is a system. It is a system with three parts, each of which is of equal importance: leaders, followers, and contexts.

Keywords: leadership; followership; context; leadership system; leadership spectrum; professionalization

Chapter.  9769 words. 

Subjects: Political Economy ; Business Strategy

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