Kellerman offers many leadership critiques, but she does not critique its subject—
the very idea of who is a leader, why they lead, and how their leadership comes about.
By assuming that every person has the capacity to lead without a critique of how
personhood and subjectivity are formed reinforces a neoliberal construction of the
individual where “individuality is reduced to the endless pursuit of mass-mediated
interests, pleasures, and commercially produced lifestyles” (Giroux, 2002, p. 426). There
is a need to complicate the belief that merely learning the steps of whichever leadership
model one chooses to purchase is enough to make everyone a leader.
Giroux (2002) reminds us of the link to consumer culture, which is often seen in
the leadership industry, as he asks us to rethink ideas that “individual and social agency
are defined largely though market-driven notions of individualism, competition, and
consumption” (p. 426). By suggesting agency is not just individual, but also social,
Giroux invites consideration that agency is more than just an individual characteristic
and, perhaps, is built into our social institutions. This suggestion of agency that is
beyond the individual is not new, but rather is one that has been offered as a critique to
feminist theory. With an expanded idea of subjectivity and agency in leadership studies
and higher education, we can see where Kellerman’s leadership critique falls short.
Why I am Drawn to Women of Color Writers.
Since the leadership readings suggested to me were all written by white,
American men, I set out to intentionally include voices that were not white, American,
and male. Leadership, at the university and elsewhere, is a domain that would benefit
from a multiplicity of practices by different people. We need leaders who draw ideas
from various sources and who look different from one another. Students need to see that