Barbara Kellerman

James McGregor Burns Lecturer in Leadership
Center for Public Leadership
Office Address
Mailing Address
John F. Kennedy School of Government
Mailbox 124
79 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone: 617-495-7570
Fax: 617-496-3337
Catherine Kearns (617-495-7573)
Barbara Kellerman


Barbara Kellerman is the James MacGregor Burns Lecturer in Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School. She is the Founding Executive Director of the School’s Center for Public Leadership. And from 2003 to 2006 she served as the Center’s Research Director. Kellerman has held professorships at Fordham, Tufts, Fairleigh Dickinson, George Washington, Uppsala, and at both Dartmouth and the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. She also served as Dean of Graduate Studies and Research at Fairleigh Dickinson, and as Director of the Center for the Advanced Study of Leadership at the University of Maryland.

Kellerman received her B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College, and her M.A. (in Russian and East European Studies), M.Phil., and Ph.D. (in Political Science) degrees from Yale University. She was awarded a Danforth Fellowship and three Fulbright fellowships. At Uppsala (1996-97), she held the Fulbright Chair in American Studies. Kellerman was cofounder of the International Leadership Association (ILA), and is author and editor of many books including Leadership: Multidisciplinary Perspectives;The Political Presidency: Practice of Leadership; Bad Leadership; Followership; Women and Leadership (co-edited with Deborah Rhode); Essential Selections on Power, Authority, and Influence (2010); The End of Leadership (2012); and Hard Times: Leadership in America (2014).The End of Leadership was long listed by the Financial Times as among the Best Business Books of 2012, and selected by Choice as “essential” reading. It was also named by Choice as an “Outstanding Academic Title for 2013.” In 2015 Hard Times: Leadership in America received an Honorable Mention Award for its “significant contribution to the field of leadership” from the University of San Diego. And, in 2016 it too was selected by Choice as an “Outstanding Academic Title.” Kellerman has appeared often on media outlets such as CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN, NPR, Reuters and BBC, and has contributed articles and reviews to the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, and the Harvard Business Review.

Barbara Kellerman speaks to audiences all over the world, including, in recent years, Berlin, London, Moscow, Rome, Sao Paolo, Shanghai, Zurich, St. Gallen, Jerusalem, Turin, Toronto, Montreal, Mumbai, New Dehli, Amsterdam, Kyoto, Sydney, and Munich. She has served on, among many others, the Advisory Board of Leadership, the Advisory Board of the AAUW project on Women and Leadership, the Advisory Board of the Brookings Institution Leadership Initiative, and the Academic Committee of the Women Leadership Academy (China). She was ranked by as among “Top 50 Business Thinkers” (2009) and by Leadership Excellence in top 15 of “thought leaders in management and leadership” (2008-09 and again in 2010-2011). In 2010 she was given the Wilbur M. McFeeley award by the National Management Association for her pioneering work on leadership and followership. In both 2015 and 2016 she was ranked by Global Gurus as # 13 on the list of “World’s Top 30 Management Professionals.” And in 2016 she is being given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the International Leadership Association. Kellerman blogs regularly at and, in spite of insisting that she would never do so again, she is writing another book about leadership. 




  • MLD-352 The Leadership System: Leaders, Followers, Context

Media Expertise

Barbara Kellerman welcomes media inquiries on the following subjects:

Additional experts may be found by clicking on each subject listed. You may contact faculty directly or if you need assistance contact the Communications Office at 617-495-1115.


For a complete list of faculty citations from 2001 - present, please visit the HKS Faculty Research Connection.

Selected Publication Citations:

  • Academic Journal/Scholarly Articles
    • Kellerman, Barbara. "When Should a Leader Apologize -- and When Not?" Harvard Business Review (April 2006).
    • Kellerman, Barbara. "Leadership: Warts and All." Harvard Business Review (January 2004).
    • Kellerman, Barbara. "Required Reading." Harvard Business Review (December 2001).
    • Kellerman, Barbara, and Scott Webster. "The Recent Literature on Public Leadership: Reviewed and Considered." Leadership Quarterly (December 2001).
  • Book Chapters
    • Rhode, Deborah L., and Barbara Kellerman. "Women and Leadership: The State of Play." Women and Leadership: The State of Play and Strategies for Change. Ed. Barbara Kellerman and Deborah L. Rhode. Jossey-Bass, 2007, 1.
    • Gergen, David, and Barbara Kellerman. "Public Leaders: Riding a New Tiger." For the People: Can We Fix Public Service? Ed. John D. Donahue and Joseph S. Nye, Jr. Brookings Institution, 2003.
    • Kellerman, Barbara. "For the People: Can We Fix Public Service?" The Difference "Difference" Makes: Women and Leadership. Ed. Deborah L. Rhode. Stanford University Press, 2002.
  • Books
    • Kellerman, Barbara. Bad Leadership: What It Is, How It Happens, Why It Matters. Harvard Business School Press, 2004.
  • Commentary
    • Kellerman, Barbara. "These Leaders Get the Respect They Deserve." Washington Post, April 17, 2005: B03.
  • Edited Volumes
    • Kellerman, Barbara, and Deborah L. Rhode, eds. Women and Leadership: The State of Play and Strategies for Change. Jossey-Bass, 2007.
  • Magazine and Newspaper Articles
    • Kellerman, Barbara. "Followers Flex Their Muscles." U.S. News & World Report (November 19, 2007).
    • Kellerman, Barbara. "Behind Closed Doors." October 16, 2006.
    • Kellerman, Barbara. "Public Displays of Bad 'Leadership.'" September 11, 2006.
    • Kellerman, Barbara. "Back to Basics." August 7, 2006.
    • Kellerman, Barbara. "Leaders and Followers." July 6, 2006.
    • Kellerman, Barbara. "Men Behaving Badly." May 26, 2006.
    • Kellerman, Barbara. "Yin and Yang of Leadership in China." Compass Fall 2005: 5.
    • Kellerman, Barbara. "How Bad Leadership Happens." Leader to Leader Winter 2005.
    • Kellerman, Barbara, and Deborah L. Rhode. "Viable Options: Rethinking Women and Leadership." Compass: A Journal of Leadership Fall 2004.

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