The leadership shadow

cover picture leadership shadow

How to recognise and avoid derailment, hubris and overdrive

De Haan, E. & Kasozi, A.
London: Kogan Page, 2014


In today’s fast paced, interconnected, and mercilessly competitive business world, senior executives have to push themselves and others hard. Paradoxically, to succeed as leaders, they also need to relate to others very well. Under stress and challenge, the qualities executives have relied on to get them to the top and to achieve outstanding results can overshoot into unhelpful drives that lead to business and personal catastrophes. The Leadership Shadow draws on the lived experience of executives to make sense of what actually happens when their drivers overshoot and they act out the dark side of leadership. It shows how executives can find stability in the face of uncertainty, resilience in the face of gruelling demand, and psychological equilibrium as a leader in the face of turbulence.

“In the crowded field of leadership literature, this book (The Leadership Shadow) stands out for 3 reasons: (1) it is briskly written and vigorously argued—it is as close to a page turner as one can find in this genre; (2) it is nicely situated in the relevant empirical literature as opposed to the authors’ consulting experience; and (3) it pays close attention to the fact that a large percentage of modern managers are doing a poor job. It is an engaging read that also provides a candid and dependable guide to action.” (Professor Robert Hogan, University of Tulsa)

“Much of the literature seems to suggest that only people with superhuman powers can be effective leaders. No wonder we end up disappointed in so many of them, and no wonder many leaders fall prey to hubris, or worse.

This eminently sensible book is a refreshing contrast. It shows a deep understanding of the many demands now imposed on leaders. Better still, its awareness of the importance of context, relationships and the perils and opportunities offered by having power turns it into a series of wise, stimulating and helpful reflections on how the practice of leadership can be improved. Organizations and leaders alike will benefit from its rich insights.” (Professor Dennis Tourish, Royal Holloway)

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