The Leadership Challenge – Week 1

For the next six weeks, we will highlight the phenomenal leadership book, The Leadership Challenge. Written by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, The Leadership Challenge is “about the practices leaders use to transform values into actions, visions into realities, obstacles into innovations, separateness into solidarity, and risks into rewards.”

In The Leadership Challenge, the authors introduce Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership:
1. Model the way.
2. Inspire a shared vision.
3. Challenge the process.
4. Enable others to act.
5. Encourage the heart.

Within each of these practices, they identify two commitments that form the basis for learning to lead. Together we will explore how these behaviors can help us as we strive to be leaders that make a difference.

Kouzes and Posner assert that “leaders must find their own voice, and then they must clearly and distinctively give voice to their values” (p. 14). They share that “leaders demonstrate their intense commitment to the values they espouse by setting an example,” and that setting an example means “doing what they say they will do” (p. 93).

Challenge Questions for Today:

  • Have you found your own voice? Do you know what you stand for?
  • Are you setting an example that demonstrates an unwavering commitment to your values?
  • Are you a person of your word? Do you do what you say you will do?

Look for a post each Friday for the next six weeks. We will dig deeper into each of the practices of exemplary leadership and challenge ourselves to be better leaders. Have a great weekend!

Source: Kouzes, J.M. and Posner, B.Z. (2002). The leadership challenge. San Francisco, California: Jossey-Bass.

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