The recent proliferation of populist movements worldwide -- along with the often dangerous, demagogic leaders that accompany them -- have prompted questions about the underlying conditions that give rise to such troubling developments. Leadership Unhinged: Essays on the Ugly, the Bad and the Weird examines what is going on at a deeper level, both collectively and individually, between leaders and followers. Employing theories derived from psychoanalytic psychology, developmental psychology, neuroscience and evolutionary psychology, these essays help to unravel and expose the pathological leader-follower dynamics that generate such movements.
The book is infused with Kets de Vries's now famous and inimitable style of analysis, which draws from myths, creates fairy tales, and uses irony and metaphor to bring his conclusions into greater relief and trigger new insights.
As Kets de Vries explains, effective leaders have the capacity to bring people together and even make them better, stronger. Doing so suggests that those leaders are value driven, able to set a moral tone. Yet, when such a tone is absent or, at worst, twisted toward the destructive, leadership quickly becomes dangerous. History has shown the devastation left in the wake of unhinged leaders who have gone unchecked. To become fully conscious of the conditions that allow for the emergence of such leaders has become a moral requirement of our time. In ways both moving and entertaining, Kets de Vries's new contribution puts us in a better position to fulfil that requirement.