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Reflections on Character and Leadership: On the Couch with Manfred Kets de Vries
(Kets De Vries on the Couch Series - 1)

Manfred Kets de Vries

9780470742426
Retail Price: $34.95
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Format: Hardcover, 366pp.
ISBN: 9780470742426
Publisher: Jossey-Bass
Pub. Date: May 26, 2009

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Description and Reviews
From The Publisher:

Reflections on Character and Leadership is the first of the three books in the Manfred kets de Vries on the Couch series.

Here, Kets de Vries looks at entrepreneurship, the pathology of leadership, and the personality of the leader. The reader will visit the disturbed inner worlds of leaders like Alexander the Great, Shaka Zulu and Robert Maxwell, discover how to distinguish between a cold fish and a live volcano, and identify impostors, despots, organizational fools and global leaders.

The book highlights the basic principles of the clinical paradigm—the process of putting organizations and the individuals who lead them on the psychoanalyst’s couch. It includes studies of personality archetypes and the effects they have on organizational life and culture—and the effects that organizations have on them. Referring frequently to key management concepts, Kets de Vries looks not only at what happens when things go wrong, but also at how to create the psychological and organizational space to make sure that things go right.

Bringing the person back into the organization

In the books in this series Manfred Kets de Vries—failed engineer, entrepreneur manqué, reluctant economist, international management guru, psychoanalyst, wit, and outdoorsman—offers an overview of his work spanning four decades, a period in which he has established himself as the leading figure in the clinical study of organizational leadership.

At a key point in his career, working, as he puts it, “in the twilight zone of economics, management, and psychoanalysis,” he decided to strike out on a little-trodden path and “bring the person back into the organization.” Now Kets de Vries occupies a unique position in the academic business world, putting leaders and companies on the couch and working at the often intimate interface where the inner theater of the individual meets the outer world of the organization.

Reflections on Character and Leadership, examines some major contemporary issues about leadership. What makes a leader? What is good leadership? And what is bad? What happens to organizations if a leader derails? What are the impacts of successful and failed leadership on followers and organizations? How must organizational leadership respond to globalism and the opening of new markets? Kets de Vries looks at the way various dysfunctional character types are thrown into sharp focus against an organizational background. Among the heroes and villains in this book are Alexander of Macedon, Shaka Zulu, Richard Branson, Jack Welch—and numerous executives who have spent time, literally or metaphorically, on the author’s famous couch.



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About the Series

The series offers an overview of Kets de Vries’s work spanning four decades, a period in which he has established himself as the leading figure in the clinical study of organizational leadership.

The books in this series contain a representative selection of Kets de Vries’ writings about leadership from a wide variety of published sources and cover character and leadership in a global context, career development and leadership in organizations. The original essays were all written or published between 1976 and 2008. Updated where appropriate and revised by the author, they present a digest of the work of one of the most influential management thinkers of the present day.



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Reviews

"We all strive to create a consistent high performance organisation and that means discovering or creating leaders. These are the people with the "fairy dust" that can make the organisation special or alternatively can cause untold damage. In this book Manfred Kets de Vries describes many of the character types that we all come across in top management. This is a must read for anyone who wants to understand and then manage their top executives better."
—John Stewart, former Group CEO, National Australia Bank.


 
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About the Author

Manfred was honoured in November 2009 in Los Angeles at the International Leadership Association's 10th conference when he and six others were inducted into the Leadership Legacy Project of the ILA and given Lifetime Achievement Awards. (Manfred was also the first non-American recipient of the International Leadership Award for “his contributions to the classroom and the board room” by the ILA back in November 2005). This is the first time that this very prestigious organization has honoured "founding professionals in the development of leadership as a field and as a discipline."

This was a huge honour for Manfred, Bernard Bass & Joseph Rost (posthumously), Warren Bennis, James MacGregor Burns, and Frances Hesselbein --a truly stellar group of leadership pioneers. The presentation ceremony of the International Leadership Association Lifetime Achievement Award on Thursday 13th November was before a packed amphi. Laurent Lapierre, his old student and Professor of Leadership at HEC, Montreal, gave a very fitting and unusual introduction and personal tribute to Manfred's lifework, touching on his many accomplishments in the field of leadership. During the conference and various gala dinners Manfred sat beside Frances Hesselbein and met Warren Bennis.



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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Preface

Psychoanalysis and organizational life

First case: an entrepreneur

The clinical paradigm

About this book

PART I: LEADERS, FOOLS, AND IMPOSTORS

INTRODUCTION

Playing the organizational fool

1. THE ENTREPRENEURIAL PERSONALITY

Introduction

Entrepreneurship: views from other disciplines

Common psychological themes in the entrepreneurial personality

The effects of family dynamics

Case study: The entrepreneur’s story

Falling into extremes

The Medusa women

The meaning of work

Competition and self-defeating behavior

The symbolic nature of the enterprise

The process of change

The entrepreneurial life cycle

Working effectively with entrepreneurs

Endnotes

2. THE HYPOMANIC PERSONALITY.

Introduction

The Dionysian quality of charismatic leadership

Case study: Hypomania in action

Elation and its vicissitudes

Managing a hypomanic

Hypomania in the workplace

Possible interventions

Self-help measures

The plus side for organizations

Endnotes

3. THE ALEXITHYMIC PERSONALITY.

Introduction

The ‘dead fish’ syndrome

Identifying alexithymia

Alexithymia as a communication disorder

Where do the origins of alexithymia lie?

Degrees of alexithymia

Alexithymics in the workplace

The Alexithymic CEO

Working with an alexithymic manager

Managing an alexithymic

Searching for solutions

Endnote

4. THE IMPOSTOR SYNDROME.

Introduction

What makes an impostor?

The creative artist as impostor

The impostor as national leader

The impostor: a character sketch

Case study: The impostor as entrepreneu

Endnote

5. NEUROTIC IMPOSTORS: FEELING LIKE A FAKE.

Introduction.

What creates imposturous feelings?

The neurotic impostor in the workplace

How the fear can become a reality

How neurotic impostors can impact on businesses

Finding solutions

Endnotes

6. THE ORGANIZATIONAL FOOL: BALANCING A LEADER’S HUBRIS.

Introduction

The role of the fool

The fool as cultural hero

The benefits of humor

What makes a fool?

The organizational fool

The value of the fool

Endnote

PART II: THE PATHOLOGY OF LEADERSHIP

INTRODUCTION

7. PRISONERS OF LEADERSHIP

Introduction

Externalizing inner conflicts

The search for authority

Regressive group processes

Distance and aggression in leaders

Managing leaders’ behavior in organizations

Endnotes

8. THE SPIRIT OF DESPOTISM: UNDERSTANDING THE TYRANT WITHIN.

Introduction

Setting the scene for tyranny

What motivates tyrants?

How tyrannies operate

How despotic regimes are maintained

The despot’s toolbox

The economic costs of tyranny

The need for democracy

The dangers of power

Why despotism must be fought

Unjust deserts

Judicial remedy

The International Criminal Court

Endnote

9. LEADERSHIP BY TERROR: FINDING SHAKA ZULU IN THE ATTIC.

Introduction

The life and death of an absolute despot

Deconstructing the despot’s inner theater

The colluding mind

A tyranny of self-deception

Leaders and followers

Shaka’s legacy

Endnote

PART III: TRANSFORMING LEADERSHIP

INTRODUCTION

10. ‘DOING AN ALEXANDER’: LESSONS ON LEADERSHIP BY A MASTER CONQUEROR

Introduction

The life of Alexander

Alexander’s legacy

Lessons in leadership … la Alexander

Conclusions

Endnote 210

11. LEADERS WHO MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

Introduction

The effects of leaders on their organizations

Different leaders, same results

The architectural aspect of leadership

The charismatic role of leaders

Conclusions

Endnote

12. REAPING THE WHIRLWIND: MANAGING CREATIVE PEOPLE.

Introduction

Characteristics of creative people

Stimulating creativity

Playing in a transitional world

Two roads to creativity

Creative management

Watching for the danger signs

Endnote

PART IV: LEADERSHIP IN A GLOBAL CONTEXT.

INTRODUCTION.

13. THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE GLOBAL LEADER WITHIN THE MULTINATIONAL CORPORATION.

Introduction

A case study in internationalization

Forms of global organizations

Qualities needed in global leaders

Training, transfer, teamwork, and travel

A framework for analyzing the development of the global leader

Conclusions

Endnote

14. IN SEARCH OF THE NEW EUROPEAN BUSINESS LEADER.

Introduction

The challenge of diversity

Internal and external competition

Is a single model possible?

A middle path

Dealing with change

The making of the European leader

Leadership in Europe and beyond

Endnote

15. LESSONS FROM THE ‘WILD EAST’: RUSSIAN CHARACTER AND LEADERSHIP.

The Russian character

Contextual factors in the formation of the Russian character

Russia’s transition: from cooperatives to capitalism

New leaders and new followers

Eight leadership lessons

Challenges for global Russian business leaders

The end of the beginning

Endnotes

CONCLUSION: CREATING HIGH-COMMITMENT ORGANIZATIONS.

The inevitable march of globalization

Meta-values for great companies

Motivational need systems

Leaders and meta-value creation

Concluding comments

Endnote

References. 

Index



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