Bridging the Disconnect between Leadership Theory and Practice

If you haven’t read the book Leadership BS: Fixing Workplaces and Careers One Truth at a Time, by Stanford business school professor Jeffrey Pfeffer, you are missing out. Pfeffer lambasts the leadership development industry — including business schools, human resource departments, authors, and leadership programs and coaches — for being clueless about the harsh political realities of the workplace, and for promoting behaviors that are aspirational rather than practical.

Pfeffer spends a lot of time dismantling some of the statements offered as best or worst practices by leadership development experts. For example, there’s a long list of traits that experts say leaders should never exhibit. But given how broken our workplaces have become, Pfeffer writes, these supposedly bad behaviors are actually good for the people who practice them. Sometimes, they’re even good for an organization as a whole.

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