Amazon Top Selling Book

About The The Dirty Side of Leadership

Every manager, executive, and leader eventually learns that there’s a “dirty” side of leadership. Most leadership books and training programs gloss over the more personal aspects of management. This book is different. It opens as Ron Ward, the newly appointed Director of a Federal Law Enforcement Academy, prepares to terminate a tenured employee. As he anxiously waits for the employee to walk into his office, Ron realizes he is woefully unprepared for this moment and sets out on a quest to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to confront the many issues, just like this, that leaders face every day. Now, he is ready to share his experiences with you. In this book, Ron shares the many twists and turns of growing up in the Appalachian Coal Fields and then progressing through a dynamic career in local, state, and federal law enforcement, directing a successful national training academy, and becoming Chair of The Federal Law Enforcement Training Accreditation Board. Each story provides a takeaway, strategy, or mindset suggestion that can be applied immediately in your day-to-day business relationships. This book will help you become a stronger more effective leader. This book is for anyone who aspires to be a truly great leader, written by someone who endeavors to help you master the Dirty Side of Leadership.

About Ron

Ron Ward is the author of the Amazon best seller, The Dirty Side of Leadership, speaker, and founder and CEO of 4Ward Operations (Leadership Coaching). He previously served as the Academy Director of the Federal Probation and Pretrial Services Academy at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Charleston, South Carolina. Ron also oversaw the US Probation and Pretrial National Wellness Committee. As academy director, Ron was responsible for training all newly hired U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services Officers, and the certification and recertification of the agency’s firearms, safety, and search team instructors…

The Dirty Side of Leadership

What People Are Saying About The Book

In his book, Ron shares powerful, firsthand accounts to help us navigate the dirty side of leadership. He provides practical guidance on how to act when things don’t go as planned and tough situations arise. It is both action-oriented and engaging. Simply put, I wish I had this book when I started out as an entrepreneur.

Now, more than ever, the world needs effective leaders.  Whether at home with our children or with colleagues in the workplace, we all lead in various ways.

Ron’s lessons are just as applicable in those environments as they are in government service.

Get ready - you’re in for a real treat. 

Justin L. Fulcher

Founder and former CEO of RingMD

As a 20 year “survivor” of leadership positions in both the private and government sectors, I wish this book was available when I first began my leadership journey, it certainly would have saved me some time, energy and heartache. As any good leader knows, there certainly is a “dirty side” to leadership.

The Dirty Lessons integrated throughout the book are priceless and on point as they relate to leadership. Ron has hit a home run with The Dirty Side of Leadership.

Greg Forest

Retired Chief U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services Officer

In my life of trying to improve in my leadership of others, I have often picked up the latest book on leadership. It was my hope to find a nice simple plan that I could implement. Something that would keep the messiness away, eliminate the mistakes, smooth over the bumps.  What I often find are books filled with philosophy and strategy but very little practicality and authenticity. Ron’s book is real. It is written from a real leader’s perspective.

He doesn’t pretend to wow you with all the great things he has done but he’s more interested in being honest. I love his authenticity of sharing real stories of ups and downs. You won’t find this in a typical leadership book. All successful leaders have to navigate the dirty side from time to time. I encourage you to allow Ron to help you navigate yours!

Tim Riddle

CEO, Discover Blind Spots LLC

Ron Ward is a relational and authentic leader, no matter the setting or audience. I’ve worked with Ron on various team-development initiatives over the past 25 years. and I’ve witnessed his leadership and management which has been driven with an individual focus and all-inclusive impact!

As a 20-year-veteran of student development in higher education, and long-time advisor and emotional intelligence coach for Millennial and Generation Z leaders, the Dirty Side of Leadership is a must-read for emerging leaders working to affect healthy and lasting change!

Steve Gallagher

Founder, IDEATE Coaching & Consulting, Executive Director of Student Affairs, 
University of North Carolina School of the Arts

Ron is a leader in government that everyone can learn from. His personal stories and experiences can benefit anyone. The Dirty Side of Leadership is a must read for those who lead and supervise others.

James Gregorius

Associate Director for Operations, 
Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers, Retired

Chief Ward takes you on a leadership journey from start to finish. There are so many lessons and take aways, not only for the current or new manager, but for those individuals looking to lead.  One walks away from this book with the knowledge that leadership and learning lessons are on every road traveled.

Craig Penet

President of the Federal Probation
and Pretrial Officers Association

In the Dirty Side of Leadership, Ron provides intimate details into his life and the early years of his career, while depicting the growth into a leadership role. Using his intelligence and dedication to his career in Federal law enforcement and management, along with his ability to convey the dirty lessons within the scope of the story, allows the reader to experience the process that is necessary to be a successful manager. Fantastic experience and delivery of knowledge to become an effective manager that was also very entertaining.

Kimberly Triplett


DO, Medical Director

I have known Ron Ward both personally and professionally for the past 12 years and cannot think of anyone who, as Academy Director, has done more to advance the cause of wellness throughout the U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services system. As a person and leader who has been tried and tested in both his personal and professional life, Ron’s ability to persevere through the many challenges undoubtedly comes from the holistic approach he takes to leadership. In the Dirty Side of Leadership, Ron conveys his unwavering passion and commitment to serve others and provides the anecdote for leaders to thrive, not just survive, every facet of their lives. Ron’s presentation style and powerful message is effective and appeals to all audiences.

Rich Elias

Founder, Rich Elias Consulting – LLC

Most leadership books are a waste of time, portraying strategies with irrepressible optimism that all bad employees can be turned good, all problems are opportunities for better times, and being a boss can be all fun and games. The truth is being a boss is not always a day at a sunny beach, sometimes it is gut wrenchingly hard. The Dirty Side of Leadership is the book that finally details ways leaders can prepare for, as well as respond to, the most difficult times all decision makers will eventually face. A fun treat to read, this book is a highly rewarding experience for both new and experienced leaders.

Doug Burris


Retired Chief U.S. Probation Officer 
and subject of the 2016 movie Out of the Box