The Allure of Toxic Leaders: Why We Follow Destructive Bosses and Corrupt Politicians - and how We Can Survive Them
Toxic leaders--such as Ken Lay at Enron or Al Dunlap ("Chainsaw Al") at Sunbeam, or Slobodan Milosevic in Yugoslavia--have always been with us, and many books explain what makes them tick. But in The Allure of Toxic Leaders, Jean Lipman-Blumen explains what makes the followers tick, exploring why we tolerate--and remain steadfastly loyal to--leaders who are destructive to their organizations, their employees, their nations, and their constituents.
Why do we knowingly follow, seldom unseat, frequently prefer, and sometimes even create toxic leaders? Lipman-Blumen argues that these leaders appeal to our deepest needs, playing on our anxieties and fears, on our yearnings for security, high self-esteem, and significance, and on our desire for noble enterprises and immortality. The author explores how psychological needs--such as the desire to be at the heart of the action, to be an insider--can often make us susceptible to toxic leaders. She describes how followers inadvertently keep themselves in line by a set of insidious control myths that they internalize. In addition, outside forces--such as economic depressions, political upheavals, or a crisis in the company--can increase our anxiety and our longing for charismatic leaders. Equally important, Lipman-Blumen shows how followers, mired in the swamp of toxic leadership, can learn critical lessons for the future and survive in the meantime. She discusses how to confront, reform, undermine, blow the whistle on, or oust a toxic leader. And she suggests how we can diminish our need for strong leaders, identify "reluctant leaders" among competent followers, and even nurture the leader within ourselves.
Toxic leaders first charm, but then manipulate, mistreat, weaken, and ultimately devastate their followers. The Allure of Toxic Leaders tells us how to recognize these leaders and identify the germ of toxicity within their "noble" visions before it's too late.
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Aaron Feuerstein achievement ethic action anxiety Arthur Andersen bad leaders become believe benign board members boss challenge Chapter chosen confront control myths corporate leaders create crises crisis critical culture danger death decision Dennis Kozlowski despite director employees Enron entourage Ernest Becker example executive existential experience F. G. Bailey fact fear feel Feuerstein followers forces freedom Giuliani Hankiss heroic heroism Hitler hot groups human Ibid illusions immortality individuals internal keep Ken Lay Kenneth Lay Kozlowski lead lives look Malden Mills Maslow meaning negative role models noble vision Nonetheless nontoxic leaders numbers organizations Otto Rank ourselves political positive potential president promise psychological push recognize reported self-esteem Sherron Watkins simply social society sometimes strategy things tion toxic behavior toxic leaders toxic leadership transcend truth uncertainty unfinished world University Press W. W. Norton Warren Bennis whistle-blowers York