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Professionalizing Leadership - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Professionalizing Leadership

Barbara Kellerman


Leadership is an occupation—not a profession. Why is this? Why have medicine and law evolved into professions that require extended periods of education, training, and development, but not leadership? How has it come to pass that while the ancients—think Confucius, Plato, Machiavelli—thought learning to lead was the work of a lifetime, the contemporary leadership industry presumes quite the opposite, that learning to lead can be accomplished quickly and easily. Leadership has no body of knowledge, or core curriculum, or skill set considered essential. Leadership has no metric or clear criteria ... More

Keywords: leadership, management, leadership industry, leadership development, leadership education, leadership training, leadership system, occupation, profession, professionalization

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2018 Print ISBN-13: 9780190695781
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2018 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190695781.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Barbara Kellerman, author
James MacGregor Burns Lecturer in Public Leadership, Harvard Kennedy School

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Part I Becoming a Leader

Part II Being a Leader

Part III Becoming a Professional

End Matter