Barbara Kellerman

Prolific contributor to the subject of public leadership; author of critical work in the areas of followership and bad leadership.


Ranked #48 in 2009. 


Recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award by the International Leadership Association. 


A Global Gurus’ World’s Top 30 Management Professional 2015-2021. 


In Followers, Kellerman argues that followers are every bit as critical as leaders and identifies five types of followers based on level of engagement: isolate, bystander, participant, activist, and diehard. In Bad Leadership, she argues for embracing a more honest, holistic view of leadership that acknowledges the dark side of the human condition. More recently, her book Enablers testifies to the importance of speaking truth to power.


Founding Executive Director and Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership, Kellerman has held professorships at Fordham, Tufts, Fairleigh Dickinson, George Washington, Uppsala, Dartmouth, and the Tuck School of business at Dartmouth. She also served as Director of the Center for the Advanced Study of Leadership at the University of Maryland. With an MA, MPhil and PhD from Yale University, Kellerman was awarded a Danforth Fellowship and three Fulbright fellowships.



Bad Leadership: What It Is, How It Happens, Why It Matters (HBR Press, 2004); Followership: How Followers Are Creating Change and Changing Leaders (HBR Press, 2008); Leadership: Essential Selections on Power, Authority, and Influence (McGraw Hill, 2010); The End of Leadership (Harper Business, 2012); Professionalizing Leadership (OUP, 2018); Leaders Who Lust: Power, Money, Sex, Success, Legitimacy, Legacy (with Todd L Pittinsky, CUP, 2020); The Enablers: How Team Trump Flunked the Pandemic and Failed America (CUP, 2021).


Media picks


“Kellerman invades a contested terrain few dare to think about, and fewer understand: destructive leadership and its consequences.”

 Warren Bennis

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