Have You Ever Had a Bad Leader?

September 10, 2012 / General /

By Robert E. Quinn

Yesterday I did the orientation for new MBAs and taught three sections introducing them the school’s leadership program. In the first section I asked what leadership was, and they slowly began to respond. It then occurred to me to ask, “How many of you have ever had a bad leader?”

There was shift in the room. Ninety-five percent of the hands shot up. They were able to tell me much about bad leadership. I asked why there are so many bad leaders. They gave a number of reasonable answers, and then someone said, “Maybe it is really hard to be a good leader.”

That was an impressive answer. I would like you to ponder it and think about what it suggests. What do you think is the most important implication of this answer?