Amber Stark

New Book in the Professional Practice Book Series Now Available

A new book in the SIOP Professional Practice Book SeriesOvercoming Bad Leadership in Organizations, is now available. Edited by SIOP Members Derek Lusk and Theodore Hayes, this volume focuses on the dark side of leadership.

Leadership is the most consequential force driving human affairs. The success of any human institution – militaries, governments, school systems, organizations – depends on who is making the decisions. Consider first a case of good leadership. Satya Nadella turned around Microsoft in 2014 with an intense focus on cultural transformation, transitioning the company from a technical and task-oriented culture to one with human-centered values such as empathy and belongingness.

On the other hand, bad leadership is much more common. The base rate of executive failure is around 65%, and most of the workforce, around 75% or so, say the worst aspect of their job is a tyrannical boss.

Sadly, this is nothing new. For the last 10,000 years of human affairs, most of the world has lived in centrally controlled hierarchies with dictators, who are usually psychopathic, spearheading shadowy cabals of disengagement and oppression, Lusk said.

Consider the following cases of toxic leadership and their egregious moral and economic consequences:

  • Adam Newumann, both charismatic and narcissistic, built a dysfunctional culture at WeWork and was fired in 2019 for a variety of offenses, including drug use and sexual harassment.
  • Volkswagen, under CEO Martin Winterkorn and Chief of Engineering Oliver Schmidt, was involved in an emissions cheating scandal.
  • Dr. Patrick Conway, former CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, was found guilty in 2019 of DWI and child abuse after crashing his escalade into the back of a tractor-trailer, scaring his daughters and threatening police officers with positional power. He was quoted as saying, “You don’t know who I am. I am a doctor, a CEO of a company. I’ll call Governor [Roy] Cooper and get you in trouble.”
  • The global financial crisis of 2008 was a crisis of character, a buffet of bad leadership with too many ethical breaches and leadership failures to list here (e.g., Dick Fuld, Ken Lewis, Angelo Mozilo, Kathleen Corbet).

As Einstein noted, “the world is a dangerous place. Not because of the people who are evil; but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.”

Overcoming Bad Leadership in Organizations is Hayes and Lusk’s contribution to creating a world where organizations (and other institutions) decide who should lead based on talent and nothing else—not age, not race, not ethnicity, not gender. This book positions readers to improve their own leadership style, consult with organizations to identify and develop their real talent, avoid the seduction of charlatans, and unleash good leadership around the world.

SIOP members can receive a 30% discount on their purchase by using code ASPROMP8.

Lusk is head of Executive Assessment at AIIR Consulting, where he helps Fortune 500 organizations with succession planning, high-potential identification, and talent analytics. He is a contributor to the Harvard Business Review and frequent speaker on a variety of topics ranging from C-suite leadership to organizational resilience and politics. He is a member of the Society for Consulting Psychology (SCP), Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP), and on the board of the SIOP Professional Practice Series. He teaches at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology.

Hayes is a personnel research psychologist near Washington, DC. Hayes has held research and consulting positions in the private and public sectors, and his areas of expertise include leadership assessment and feedback, employee engagement, selection, and organizational research methodology. The author of book chapters and over 25 peer-reviewed articles, Hayes is also an adjunct professor at George Washington University. He serves as an associate editor of Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research.

The SIOP Professional Practice Book Series can help solve today’s most pressing talent management issues in organizations using evidence-based practice from the field of industrial and organizational psychology.

Working with Oxford University Press, the Professional Practice Series Editorial Board is committed to bringing a new generation of practice-oriented books to industrial–organizational (I-O) psychologists, human resource practitioners, and policymakers.

Relaunched in 2019 after a brief publishing hiatus, the series will incorporate new volumes on the “basics” of HR management and develop volumes focused on “core” I-O psychology topics that include the latest research and best practices.

SIOP is now soliciting nominations for the positions of editor of the Professional Practice Series and the Organizational Frontiers Series. The new series editors will be selected by the Publications Board and approved by the Executive Board. The selected series editor will begin working with incumbent editors beginning December 2022 and will assume duty beginning April 1, 2023. Learn more.

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