Dennis Tourish’s The Dark Side of Transformational Leadership is an audacious assault on what he calls the dysfunctional aspects of contemporary forms of leadership in the West attributed to the economic fall of 2008. When I saw the egotistic price for his book on Amazon I promptly abandoned Kindle and went for a realistic E-book version through the GFU Library, free! Tourish has nothing good to say about most styles of leadership and bashes leaders, and even most of their followers, in a nonstop rant against transformational leadership (TL) for its predominantly authoritarian basis. I found one seemingly positive donation to leadership within his “sense-making” dialogue where both rank and file members may work together to co-create solutions. This sounds a lot like a TL process or a pastoral counseling goal rather than a new leadership principle. Otherwise, I do not find a lot to like in this book. Nevertheless, in the spirit of Elder’s critical thinking tools and with her goal to improve leadership I will persevere to read-around Toursih and see if I can find anything useful for my spiritual warfare research.
Speaking of evil schemers, I sense that Tourish has a strong dark side that seems to draw its strength from voices and forces that the Apostle Paul warns Christians to stand firm against. Reading around the book found plenty of peer-reviewed articles and book reviews that weighed in on this work. For example, Jaros’ says this book is like a “societal alarm-bell” that associates TL principles with everything bad, including cult practices. Furthermore, he says Tourish associates Christian servant leadership with “leader omniscience” because he says the guiding spiritual values are discerned by the ministry leaders without “input from the followers.” After reading the author’s “Neroish” position on Christian leaders and their spirituality in the workplace I wonder how my LGP8 pastor friends will react to Tourish’s leadership conclusions in this book?
What does leadership really mean? According to Tourish leadership is “a communicatively organized, fluid process of co-orientation and co-construction between myriad organizational actors, whose ‘essence’ varies of necessity between each occasion of its occurrence.” I’m sorry, this guy is off his meds! Jaros calls this leadership description “unintelligible.”
Gabriel records that Tourish rejects authentic and servant style leadership models as “wish-fulfilling illusions that seek to preserve the superior agency of leaders under different guises.” He says Tourish calls authentic and servant leadership a “decaffeinated” form of TL that leaves a “bitter after taste.” Gabriel’s review of the final chapter of Tourish basically says that power is the basis of leadership in social systems.  Not surprising, after all, that an author of eight books on leadership is reduced to the power model, which holds essentially that he or she who holds the power rules. Brumback says about Tourish, “Eight books…How long, for goodness sakes, does it take an intellectual to understand leadership?” “I wonder if he’s got a clue,” says Brumback when referring to Tourish’s “world is on fire” viewpoint about reckless leaders.
During my perseverance into this work I looked deep into his chapter on Spirituality and leadership for anything positive and redeeming but was very disappointed to see Tourish go after a key value of marketplace ministry; spirituality in the workplace. His relentless attacks against leaders and or their followers for expressing their spiritualism at work is par for the Tourish evil TL putt-putt course found in this book. He calls spiritualism at work oppressive, invasive and unwelcome. He uses a lot of big fancy words to make his claims, but it sounds and looks like plain old persecution. He reminds me of Dr. Seuss’ grouchy and eccentric Grinch because of his all-out assault on anyone and everyone from Who-leads-or-follows-ville. Like Dr. Seuss says, “It could be his head wasn’t screwed on just right.”
This book is fascinating to me on several levels. First, I think Tourish is one of the people Taylor-Smith were talking about in their “immanent frame” doctrines where Tourish sees himself in an exclusive form of humanism where he can disregard the “God question” and construct his own version of social leadership that surpasses scrutiny and focuses on the “natural order.” Second, I found it disappointing, but not unexpected, to see that none of the other leadership giants are calling him out for his literary assaults and adverse commentaries on their leadership works. I doubt Elder would approve of Tourish’s critical analysis because he does not offer any viable solutions and does not try to improve leadership, but instead tries to burn it down.
I did find one neutral to positive review from De Villiers who gives Tourish a thumbs-up and calls the book “engaging and useful” for leaders who want to “circumvent the harmful effects” of their leader practices.  The review is soft on his cultish, omniscient, dictator, and authoritarian style remarks against TL and other forms of leadership.
In conclusion, I did find something useful about this book regarding spiritual warfare. It reminded me to put on the whole armor of God and to stand firm in His truth. I will follow His leadership model, which is life-on-life discipleship that multiplies and reaches around the entire world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
 Dennis Tourish. The Dark Side of Transformational Leadership: A Critical Perspective. (London: Routledge, 2013) 5.
 Ibid., 11.
 Linda Elder and Richard Paul. The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools. Kindle ed. (Tomales, CA: The Foundation for Critical Thinking, 2009) Kindle Location 29.
 Eph. 6:12.
 Stephen Jaros. “Book Review: The Dark Side of Transformational Leadership: A Critical Perspective.” Management Learning 44, no. 5 (2013): 561.
 Tourish, Dark Side, 212.
 Jaros, Book Review Dark Side, 563.
 Yiannis Gabriel. “Book Review: The Dark Side of Transformational Leadership: A Critical Perspective.” Organization Studies 34, no. 9 (2013): 1409.
 Tourish, Dark Side, 203.
 Gabriel, Book Review Dark Side, 1409.
 Gary B. Brumback. “Dennis Tourish. The Dark Side of Transformational Leadership: A Critical Perspective.” Personnel Psychology 68, no. 1 (2015): 224.
 Tourish, Dark Side, 66.
 Seuss. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (Random House Children’s Books, New York, 1957) 7.
 James K.A. Smith. How (Not) to Be Secular: Reading Charles Taylor. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2014) 74.
 Rouxelle De Villiers. “Book Essay on “The Dark Side of Transformational Leadership: A Critical Perspective”.” Journal of Business Research 67, no. 12 (2014): 2513.