An ILA Leadership Perspectives Webinar

Leadership in America – Deconstructing the 2016 U.S. Presidential Campaign

Presenter: Barbara Kellerman

Date: 27 January 2016

Visit Stanford University Press website or your favorite bookstore to buy the book on which this webinar is based.


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This is one conversation about the 2016 campaign for U.S. president that will NOT fixate on leaders such as Clinton, Cruz, Sanders, and Trump. Rather it will look at presidential politics through a wide-angle lens. Coming into focus will be not only leaders but followers, the American people. Similarly, coming into focus will be context — that is, this particular country at this particle moment. Kellerman will begin the webinar with some opening remarks about leadership as a system — not as a person! Participants will then engage in a conversation that is cordial and collaborative but, also, as Kellerman anticipates, “somewhat contentious and conflictual.”

Please note that while the presentation and conversation will focus primarily on the U.S. presidential election, the issues raised by this election are similar, if not identical, to elections in other Western democracies. This is to say that all Western liberal democracies face issues relating to distrusted leaders, restive if not resistant followers, and contexts so complex they’re experienced as daunting in the extreme.

Outcome of Attending

  • Leadership is a system with three parts, each of which is of equal importance: 1) leaders; 2) followers (or others); and 3) contexts.
  • Leadership and followership, like everything else, change over time. Leadership and followership are not static or stable. As the context changes, so do they.
  • Learning leadership — both learning about leadership and learning how to lead — should be more extensive and extended a process than is currently the norm.

Speaker Information

Barbara Kellerman

Barbara Kellerman is the James MacGregor Burns Lecturer in Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School. She is the Founding Executive Director of the School’s Center for Public Leadership. From 2003 to 2006 she served as the Center’s Research Director.  Kellerman was cofounder of the International Leadership Association (ILA), and is author and editor of many books, including most recently Bad LeadershipFollowership; Women and Leadership (co-edited with Deborah Rhode); Essential Selections on Power, Authority, and Influence (2010); The End of Leadership (2012); and Hard Times: Leadership in America (2014).The End of Leadership was long listed by the Financial Times as among the Best Business Books of 2012, and selected by Choice as “essential” reading. In 2015 Hard Times: Leadership in America received an Honorable Mention Award for its “significant contribution to the field of leadership” from the University of San Diego. Kellerman has appeared often on media outlets such as CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN, NPR, Reuters and BBC, and has contributed articles and reviews to the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, and the Harvard Business Review.

Barbara Kellerman speaks to audiences all over the world and was ranked by as among “Top 50 Business Thinkers” (2009) and by Leadership Excellence in top 15 of “thought leaders in management and leadership” (2008-09 and again in 2010-2011). In 2010 she was given the Wilbur M. McFeeley award by the National Management Association for her pioneering work on leadership and followership. And in 2015 she was ranked by Global Gurus as #13 on the list of “World’s Top 30 Management Professionals.” Kellerman blogs regularly at and, in spite of her insisting that she would never do so again, she is writing another book about leadership.