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The Leadership Odyssey

The Leadership Odyssey
From Darkness to Light

First Edition
  • Pritam Singh - former Director of IIM Lucknow, MDI Gurgaon and IMI Delhi
  • Asha Bhandarker - Distinguished Professor of Organizational Behaviour, IMI Delhi
  • Snigdha Rai - Assistant Professor, IMI, Delhi
Critical Acclaim

December 2015 | 364 pages | SAGE Response
The Odyssey of Leadership is filled with great uncertainty and is taken by only a few. It takes an exceptional effort to rise from being a good leader to a great leader. This book provides a unique roadmap for leaders and office bearers in all walks of life, aspiring to become great leaders.
Foreword by Jagdish N. Sheth
Peaks and Valleys of Leadership
Toxic Leader Profile
Virtuous Leadership
Leading Consciously: A Road Map for Moving from Toxic to Virtuous Leadership

It is not only the rich quantitative and qualitative empirical work that makes this book valuable but also the message—it brings the often unconscious toxic side of leadership to the awareness of managers, and it encourages and inspires them to discover the strengths of virtuous leadership. Great leaders in business are important for the organizations they serve as well as for society at large. Therefore, the authors are to be applauded for a very humanistic, enlightening approach to leadership that contributes to a better world.I strongly recommend the book to managers as the leaders of today and to students, aspiring to become the leaders of tomorrow.

Professor Stefan Schmid,
Chair of International Management and Strategic Management, Academic Dean Executive Education, ESCP Europe

In the plethora of leadership literature, the book The Leadership Odyssey: From Darkness to Light ‘stands out’ in the real sense of the term. This work brings out some of the undesirable realities of contemporary organizations. Dr Singh and his co-authors have been able to conclusively establish that when ‘Aham’ (self-centricity) becomes larger than ‘Om’ (entirety), the consequences can be disastrous for individuals and organizations. The uniqueness of this book lies in laying down a clear trajectory to move from arrogant, egocentric and toxic to virtuous leadership by practising holistic leadership, that is, integrating all the components of leadership— physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. This book is a mustread for both current and aspiring leaders.

Pushp Joshi,
Director-HR, HPCL

This work goes to the soul of what it means to lead. The authors explore the landscape and mindscape of leadership with sharp empirical lenses. The research architecture used to write this book is transparently shared. This book is genuinely evidence based. The research sample includes a constellation of international executives, Indian public sector executives and Indian private sector executives. One of the key elements of this book is the identification of toxic leadership that results in demise and disintegration of institutions. This work is not eulogistic. It does not celebrate arrogance and narcissism that wears the mask of leadership. The most significant contribution of the authors to leadership literature is perhaps this: laying down a clear pathway for emergent leaders from philosophy and purpose to behaviour and style. This is a path-making and a
path-breaking book. This is an illuminating read that is reminiscent of our perennial wisdom: tamaso maa jyotirgamaya.

Debashis Chatterjee,
Author of Timeless Leadership

A wonderfully crafted book which takes us through the journey of true leadership, from darkness to light, from toxicity to virtuousness— in public service as well as in business. Theory and empirical research are here woven into an extraordinarily persuasive argument which should help academics to teach, students to learn, as well as inspire practitioners worldwide to lead collaborators at all levels.

Alfredo Behrens,
Professor, Intercultural Leadership, FIA, Sao Paulo

This is a unique and distinctive book on leadership; in its selfactualization and transformation approach, use of nuggets from Indian and Western philosophical thoughts (purpose of life, values, beliefs and attitudes), and in its detailed research of measurable behaviour of successful as well as not so successful contemporary business leaders. The detailed case studies and analysis of positive and negative experiences are fascinating and absorbing. The overall objective and theme is to discover oneself and then move from toxicity to virtuousness in leadership. 

I consider The Leadership Odyssey, based on holistic understanding of leadership at the physical, intellectual, emotive and spiritual levels, to be a gem among the plethora of books available on this subject.

General V.P. Malik,
Former Chief of Army Staff, India

Leaders, in any walk of life, need a visionary purpose, personal optimism, boundless energy, innate ability and the courage to execute dreams. The Leadership Odyssey, the book authored by Drs Singh, Bhandarker and Rai, aptly captures the need to move leadership from a toxic to a virtuous trajectory, providing examples rooted in Indian mythology relevant even today. Dr Singh, in his inimitable style, effectively highlights how times may change but what is right does not change. An insightful read that tells us that doing the right thing, even if none demand, is what differentiates us from the rest. It is a great book to be read by all aspiring to be virtuous leaders.

N.S. Rajan,
Member, Group Executive Council and Group CHRO, Tata Sons

In the current landscape, the leadership encapsulates an enigmatic mind-set that includes passion, charisma, moral authority, courage, vision, elocution, ability to motivate, and drive for results. On the flip side, it is also more associated with ruthlessness, egoism, blind ambition, impatience with differing views and an absence of compassion. It is in this context that the current research and findings are very timely. The trend now is towards developing a ‘philosophy of leadership’ with more emphasis on emotional intelligence than just hard number-crunching. This makes for conscious leadership. 

The Leadership Odyssey: From Darkness to Light, written by seasoned thought leaders on management, does a commendable job in urging leadership to move away from this narrow self-centred toxic view to a wider, more virtuous perspective of greater good. In my view, this book is a must-read for all those who believe in leadership and management.

P. Dwarkanath,
Independent Director, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare

The Leadership Odyssey: From Darkness to Light is a book with a difference. You will be able to relate to the practical experiences shared by the authors regarding both toxic leadership and virtuous leadership. The research is grounded in Indian realities and it will change your awareness about holistic leadership and its various dimensions. A must-read for leaders and to be leaders.

Kamal Singh,
Director General, National HRD Network

“[The book] is a masterpiece on leadership…. The book is epochal. It is philosophical in nature, normative in its approach and recommendatory in its implications…. This book promises; it is optimistic; it kindles hope; and above all it is liberating — even for the Toxic leaders.”

Abhigyan, July 2016

The book is a result of a detailed qualitative and quantitative research and enlists the qualities of a toxic leader as well as a virtuous leader from the follower’s lens. The lucid style of writing, primary focus on Indian context, and bold views of the authors on contemporary issues are the unique features of this book….the clarity of text will undoubtedly amaze the reader. The authors have to be given credit for their paraphrasing the text in such a manner that the book offers different things to different readers…the readers will also get a feel of a self-help book.

Volume 15 (Issue 2), December 2016

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ISBN: 9789351507369