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Leadership: Leaders, Followers, Environments by Art Padilla

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Leadership outcomes

The outcomes of leadership situations are never perfectly good or absolutely destructive. The fiction that some leadership episodes are associated with wholly wonderful results is just that: a fiction. There is a continuum of results, ranging from really great to really terrible. Most leadership situations are somewhere in the middle; the good ones tend toward the positive end of the spectrum and the abysmal ones toward the negative end. However, even in cases acknowledged to have had generally constructive outcomes, some bad things have also occurred. Individuals considered to be “good” leaders who were associated with mostly positive, constructive outcomes have also made some mistakes or had negative results. U.S. President John Kennedy's Bay of Pigs invasion or Winston Churchill's Gallipoli campaign were costly in terms of lives and reputation. Roberto Goizueta, the admired former CEO of Coca Cola, is remembered for many good things, including increased company profitability and significant international expansion, but is also known for the “New Coke” marketing disaster. Similarly, widely acknowledged toxic leaders who have led their groups to destructive outcomes have done some good things. The larger conclusion applicable to this discussion is that no one is perfect and no leadership episode is, either. Keeping in mind this important caveat about leadership outcomes, it is useful to cluster results into three broad, generic categories, as shown in Figure ...

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