In the highly recommended book ‘Leadership BS: Fixing Workplaces and Careers One Truth at a Time‘, Jeffrey Pfeffer takes a very strong position on the failing of what he calls the “leadership industry” to produce the strong leaders organizations and society need.
“My conclusion that follows from these two sets of facts: The leadership industry has failed. Good intentions notwithstanding, there is precious little evidence that any of these recommendations have had a positive impact.”
He started from an “observation: on the one hand, there is an ever-growing, enormous leadership industry consisting of an almost limitless number of books, articles, speeches, workshops, blogs, conferences, training sessions, and corporate leadership-development efforts, activities that have existed for decades. […]
The recommendations include, but are not limited to, that leaders inspire trust, be authentic, tell the truth, serve others (particularly those who work for and with them), be modest and self-effacing, exhibit empathic understanding and emotional intelligence, and other similar seemingly sensible nostrums.
And on the other hand, there sits ample, even overwhelming evidence of workplaces filled with disengaged, dissatisfied employees who do not trust their leaders and whose oft-expressed number one desire is to leave their current employer. What’s the upshot? Not only is the world filled with dysfunctional workplaces, but leaders themselves are not doing so well, as they confront shorter job tenures and an ever-higher probability of suffering career derailments and getting fired.”
I am not too far from agreeing with this view. I am generally suspicious about mainstream ‘unanimity’ on concepts and approaches and I must say that leadership is an area of much concern. In future posts we will explore more this interesting observation and conclusion.