Exploring Destructive Leadership

 we discuss the complexities that allow the dark side of leadership to exist more fully, including examining how and why it occurs, the characteristics of destructive leadership, and how to deal with it.

The meaning of leadership is complex and includes many dimensions. For some people, leadership is a trait or an ability, for others it is a skill or a behavior, and for still others it is a relationship or a process. In reality, leadership probably includes components of all of these dimensions. Each dimension explains a facet of leadership.

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In considering these various definitions of leadership and based on the results of your Conceptualizing Leadership Questionnaire (pages 20–22), which dimension seems closest to how you think of leadership? How would you define leadership? Answers to these questions are important because how you think about leadership will strongly influence how you practice leadership.

There is a strong demand for effective leadership in society today. This demand exists at the local and community levels, as well as at the national level, in this country and abroad. People feel the need for leadership in all aspects of their lives. They want leaders in their personal lives, at school, in the work setting, and even in their spiritual lives. Everywhere you turn, people are expressing a need for strong leadership.

When people ask for leadership in a particular situation, it is not always clear exactly what they want. For the most part, however, they want effective leadership. Effective leadership is intended influence that creates change for the greater good. Leadership uses positive means to achieve positive outcomes.

Furthermore, people want leaders who listen to and understand their needs and who can relate to their circumstances. The challenge for each of us is to be prepared to lead when we are asked to do so.

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