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The Leadership Shadow

The Leadership Shadow

How to Recognize and Avoid Derailment, Hubris and Overdrive

Erik de Haan, Anthony Kasozi


The world of the high-performing executive is tough, demanding and competitive. The qualities that drove you up the ladder could be the ones that ultimately derail your success. The Leadership Shadow shows you how to recognize and avoid this situation.

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About the book

In today's fast paced, interconnected, and mercilessly competitive business world, senior executives have to push themselves and others hard. Paradoxically, to succeed as leaders, they also need to relate to others very well. Under stress and challenge, the qualities executives have relied on to get them to the top and to achieve outstanding results can overshoot into unhelpful drives that lead to business and personal catastrophes.The Leadership Shadow draws on the lived experience of executives to make sense of what actually happens when their drivers overshoot and they act out the dark side of leadership. It shows how executives can find stability in the face of uncertainty, resilience in the face of gruelling demand, and psychological equilibrium as a leader in the face of turbulence.

Table Of Contents

  • Section - ONE: The way leaders thrive;
    • Chapter - 01: The context that produces a leader;
    • Chapter - 02: Patterns of leadership;
    • Chapter - 03: The leadership shadow;
    • Chapter - 04: How you thrive as a leader: do-it-yourself;
  • Section - TWO: The way leaders come to grief;
    • Chapter - 05: What makes top leaders tick?;
    • Chapter - 06: The ‘movers and shakers’;
    • Chapter - 07: The ‘rigorous thinkers’;
    • Chapter - 08: The ‘sensitive carers’;
    • Chapter - 09: Neurotic patterns in leaders;
    • Chapter - 10: Your own leadership patterns;
  • Section - THREE: Overcoming the excesses of leadership;
    • Chapter - 11: Coming in, staying on and going out as a leader;
    • Chapter - 12: Balancing your patterns as a leader;
    • Chapter - 13: Balancing relational patterns in organizations;
    • Chapter - 14: Balancing your own organizational patterns: do-it-yourself


In the crowded field of leadership literature this book stands out for three reasons: (1) it is briskly written and vigorously argued - it is as close to a page turner as one can find in this genre; (2) it is nicely situated in the relevant empirical literature; and (3) it pays close attention to the fact that a large percentage of modern managers are doing a poor job. It is an engaging read that also provides a candid and dependable guide to action.

Much of the literature seems to suggest that only people with superhuman powers can be effective leaders. No wonder we end up disappointed in so many of them, and no wonder many leaders fall prey to hubris, or worse. This eminently sensible book is a refreshing contrast. It shows a deep understanding of the many demands now imposed on leaders. Better still, its awareness of the importance of context, relationships and the perils and opportunities offered by having power turns it into a series of wise, stimulating and helpful reflections on how the practice of leadership can be improved. Organizations and leaders alike will benefit from its rich insights.

There are always two reasons for doing anything: a good reason and the real reason. Anyone who desires to know more about these real reasons, about what creates leadership pathologies, and what makes for leadership's core qualities, would do well to study this book. Not only will he or she become more knowledgeable about the shadow side of leadership, but also acquire a profound insight of how to overcome the various pitfalls that accompany the leadership journey

This is an important, lucidly written and extremely interesting book. It covers with great clarity and many very illustrative case studies why so many leaders fail and derail. This will become a classic in the field.
Professor Adrian Furnham, University College London

As an OD practitioner and coach, another text on leadership has to offer something intellectually stimulating and practical in application. This book certainly achieves these aims, and more. The authors draw on their wealth of experience to write a book that is well grounded in the theory and highly accessible to their main audience - senior executives. Be prepared for a roller coaster of sources - Greek writers, Aesop's Fables, Pirandello and business case-studies - creating a rich and interesting read. In addition, the reader is invited to work with their view of leadership through a range of activities. Thus the reader may explore what can trip them into unproductive, negative patterns that will detract from achieving desired results. The drivers that make any of us successful can, in overdrive, become damaging to ourselves and those we engage with. This book offers a way of seeking to understand our own shadow side. Like a good coaching relationship, this book provides the reader with some difficult challenges and yet keeps them safe.
Dr Mary Holmes, Development Solutions

A refreshing book of real substance that explains negative personality traits that, left to the unconscious, can quickly derail today's Leaders. Great research is discussed with real-life examples to create compelling insights. There are plenty of practical suggestions to deal with your own risks as well as a way to reframe irritating behaviours from others into something more useful. A must read for professional coaches, talent-management professionals and leaders who are serious about career development.'
Chris Humphreys, CEO Advanced People Strategies

While epic leadership failures capture headlines, the underlying reasons usual lurk in the shadows far from view. This timely book does a masterful job of throwing light on the dark side of leadership by synthesizing a growing body of research and distilling concrete, actionable lessons any leader can use to avoid coming off the track.'
Rob Kaiser, Kaiser Leadership Solutions & Editor of Consulting Psychology

In The Leadership Shadow, Erik de Haan and Anthony Kasozi provide a welcome antidote to the usual overblown presentations to be found in the enormous number of books and research papers on leadership. Most writing on the matter of leadership presents an idealised, sanitised view of leaders which does not mention the pathologies and neuroses of those who take up leadership roles and because of this provides very unrealistic and unhelpful thinking on leadership. The Leadership Shadow provides a much more realistic and helpful account of the problems leaders face and how they need to take into account their own leadership shadow. Leaders can do enormous harm if they do not sustain an awareness of the dangerous psychological states it is so easy to be sucked into as a leader. It is to this task that the Leadership Shadow provides an important contribution.
Professor Ralph Stacey, University of Hertfordshire

Book Details

  • EAN: 9780749470494
  • Edition: 1
  • Published: 3rd August 2014
  • Paperback
  • Dimensions: 234x156
  • 360 pages

About the Author

Professor Erik de Haan is the Director of Ashridge's Centre for Coaching and Professor of Organization Development and Coaching at the VU University Amsterdam. Erik regularly works with a range of universities and multinational companies, including Aegon, BP, Heineken, Nike, Credit Suisse First Boston, Qualcomm and Vodafone. He is a prolific and widely published author.

Anthony Kasozi is Director of Quilibra Consulting and an Associate with Ashridge Consulting who previously worked with Unilever, Deloitte, Haskins and Sells and Coopers & Lybrand. He is a highly experienced management and organization consultant and his clients include HP Services, Novo Nordisk, Masterfoods (Mars),The World Health Organisation, Oxfam, Siemens Financial Services, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, The International Finance Corporation (World Bank), UNAIDs and The Global Fund.

Erik de Haan

Anthony Kasozi

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