Unlike other books written on "toxic leaders," this book takes issue with the predominant view that "toxic leaders are bad" and destructive to their companies. Rather, the author argues that even highly productive leaders have some toxic qualities central to their success story. The book redirects the conversation about toxicity in a more productive direction, as toxic leaders are not just viewed as villains and liabilities, but are also considered as potential assets, innovators, and rebels.
Working on the premise that "toxicity is a fact of company life," the book provides organizations with a model and blueprint on the advantages to be gained from skillful anticipation, control, and handling of troubled and difficult leaders. In contrast to dysfunctional organizations that ignore toxicity or dwell on the perceived destructive impact of toxic leaders, successful companies come up with resourceful, innovative strategies for turning seeming deficits into opportunities.
About the author
Alan Goldman is Professor of Management at Arizona State University. He is the author of numerous books and articles. In 2005, he received the Best Paper Award from the Academy of Management for his research on toxic leadership.
"The swollen literature on good leadership is gradually being tempered by the growing literature on bad leadership. This correction is both necessary and long overdue—which is why Alan Goldman's book constitutes a contribution to the cause. He explores some bad leaders in some considerable depth, and provides pragmatic possibilities for remediation. Recommended for those - and they should be legion—with an interest in how to convert bad into good."
—Barbara Kellerman, Center for Public Leadership, Harvard Kennedy School
"This work is exceptionally well done. Integrating management, organizational behavior, leadership, clinical psychology and psychotherapy is not easy, but Goldman makes it seem easy. He documents actual problems and then suggests ways of dealing with them."
—David Van Fleet, Morrison School of Management and Agribusiness
"Alan Goldman has created a truly significant book. The "inside perspective" that the author provides is both unique and potentially transformational. The change processes outlined in the book offer tremendous opportunities for those leaders, managers, and organizations trapped in the downward spiral of toxicity."
—Ricky Griffin, Texas A&M University
"Finally, one of these leadership books that is not only extremely rare but also very timely."
—Manfred Kets de Vries, Raoul de Vitry d'Avaucourt Chaired Clinical Professor of Leadership Development and Director INSEAD Global Leadership Centre