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Paperback The Leadership Challenge: How to Keep Getting Extraordinary Things Done in Organizations Book

ISBN: 0787902691

ISBN13: 9780787902698

The Leadership Challenge: How to Keep Getting Extraordinary Things Done in Organizations

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Book Overview

Completely revised and updated I not only enjoyed it...I found myself constantly nodding and saying to myself, 'That's right! That's how it's done! That's what it feels like!' You certainly captured the essence of what I've found is at the heart of transforming leadership. -- Robert D. Haas, chairman and CEO, Levi Strauss & Co. The leadership book that outshines them all, updated for today's new business realities. With an expanded research base of...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Guidelines and Parameters for the Perilous Journey Within

Note: The review which follows was written on March 2, 2002. Recently, the 4th edition of this book was published and I have read it but see no reason to change any of my original review. This latest edition has some new material, notably the inclusion of more cases from outside the United States. Also, as Kouzes and Posner explain in their Preface, "we did decide we needed to go on a diet. Each succeeding edition tended to put on a little weight -- feature creep, as they say in the technology business." For those who are curious to know, nothing in the co-authors' continuing research since the first edition has as yet revealed a "magical sixth practice that will revolutionize the practice of leadership." * * * * * I recently re-read this brilliant book before proceeding to Kouzes and Posner's more recently published Encouraging the Heart. I highly recommend both and suggest that they be read in the order in which they were written. Those of us who presume to review books such as this one can merely indicate their breadth and depth of substance as well as their stimulation of thought about the material presented. For example, Kouzes and Posner identify what they call "five leadership practices common to successful leaders" and then suggest ten "behavioral commitments" among those leaders studied. Here they are: Practice: Challenge the process Commitments: (1) Search for opportunities and (2) Experiment and take risks Practice: Inspire a shared vision Commitments: (3) Envision the future and (4) Enlist others Practice: Enable others to act Commitments: (5) Foster collaboration and (6) Strengthen others Practice: Model the way to the desired objectives Commitments: (7) Set the example and (8) Plan small wins Practice: Encourage the heart of everyone involved Commitments: (9) Recognize individual contribution and (10) Celebrate accomplishments Those who conduct "360 Feedback" programs could do much worse than to base evaluations on criteria suggested by these practices and commitments. They provide the thematic infrastructure of the material which Kouzes and Posner present within seven Parts. The first introduces key concepts and terms: "Knowing What Leadership Is Really All About." Each of Parts Two-Six is devoted to one of the five Practices. Kouzes and Posner conclude with Part Seven, "The Beginning of Leadership', followed by two appendices which enable the reader to complete "The Personal Best Questionnaire" before reviewing "The Leadership Practices Inventory." There are dozens of outstanding books on leadership and this is one of the best. I am especially impressed by the balance Kouzes and Posner maintain throughout between theory and practice. More specifically, they introduce and explain various core concepts and then draw upon real-world situations to illustrate those concepts. Obviously, "Encouraging the Heart" (Part Six) introduces i

The Ten Commitments of Leadership

"Think of the Leadership Challenge as a field guide to take along on your leadership journey." James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner write, "We've designed it to describe what leaders do, explain the fundamental principles that support these leadership practices, provide actual case examples of real people who demonstrate each practice, and offer specific recommendations on what you can do to make these practices your own and to continue your development as a leader...As we looked deeper into the dynamic process of leadership, through case analyses and survey questionnaires, we uncovered five fundamental practices that enable leaders to get extraordinary things done. The individual stories of how ordinary people got extraordinary things done brought the leadership model to life for us, giving it character and color. When they were at their personal best, the leaders we studied were able to challenge the process, inspire a shared vision, enable others to act, model the way, ana encourage the heart. These practices aren't the private property of the people we studied or of a few select shining stars. They've stood the test of time, and they're available to anyone, in any organization or situation, who accepts the leadership challenge."In this context, Kouzes and Posner say that embedded in the five fundamental practices of exemplary leadership are beheviors that can serve as the basis of learning to lead. And they call these behaviors as the Ten Commitments of Leadership. According to them these ten commitments serve as the guide for their discussion of how leaders get extraordinary things done in organizations and as the structure for what's to follow. Each of these commitments are fully explored in Chapters 3 through 12.Practice I- Challenging the ProcessCommitment 1. Search out challenging opportunities to change, grow, innovate and improve.Commitment 2. Experiment, take risks, and learn from the accompanying mistakes.Practice II- Inspiring a Shared VisionCommitment 3. Envision an uplifting and ennobling future.Commitment 4. Enlist others in a common vision by appealing to their values, interests, hopes, and dreams.Practice III- Enabling Others to ActCommitment 5. Foster collaboration by promoting cooperative goals and building trust.Commitment 6. Strengthen people by giving power away, providing choice, developing competence, assigning critical tasks, and offering visible support.Practice IV- Modeling the WayCommitment 7. Set the example by behaving in ways that are consistent with shared values.Commitment 8. Achieve small wins that promote consistent progress and build commitment.Practice V- Encouraging the HeartCommitment 9. Recognize individual contributions to the success of every project.Commitment 10. Celebrate team accomplishments regularly.I highly recommend this business classic on leadership.

The Leadership Challenge: the hardest form of management

For the past five years The Leadership Challenge has been required reading for many students getting an MBA degree, and for good reason. First, the book is highly readable. Kouzes and Posner write for real managers with serious leadership problems. They include many true stories or managers facing difficult challenges. For example, the Pat Carrigan story at the Lakewood Assembly Plant outside of Atlanta demonstrates that it is possible for management and labor to work effectively together if the leader is a person genuinely interested in people. Pat was smart enough to know that she didn't have all the answers. She turned to her rank-and-file employees for help and they responded more favorably than even she had expected. Pat broke down the barriers that typically had existed at General Motors, opened lines of communication, and helped people to take responsibility for their work. She treated her employees like adults and the good people she knew they were. Many other stories like Pat Carrigan's fill the pages of this book and these stories are an inspiration for on-the-job leaders or those aspiring for these positions. Next, the book is filled with good ideas and suggestions for taking a leadership role in any organization. Challenging the Process, Inspiring a Shared Vision, Enabling Others to Act, Modeling the Way, and Encouraging the Heart provide a game plan for leaders to use to positively influence the behavior of others. Typically, managers consider such stuff as Encouraging the Heart to be too "touchy feely" to be worth serious consideration. Kouzes and Posner demonstrate convincingly, I think, that such encouragement is not "soft soap," but the hardest reality on which integrity and trust are based. Without these attributes a manager is a "menace, unfit to manage" according to no less an authority than Peter Druker, the dean of management thinking and writing for the past forty years.Finally, The Leadership Challenge is filled with suggestions for application. Leadership is a practice and anyone interested in becoming a leader must work each day at building leadership skill. Kouzes and Posner ask readers to 1. Pay attention, really pay attention to what is going on in their organization. 2. Take risks that separate them from the play it safe folks who consider hiding the safest form of management. 3. Seek feedback. As Ken Blanchard says, "Feedback is the breakfast of champions." Kouzes and Posner encourage the reader to talk across boundaries -- Pat Carrigan was a perfect example of this. 4. Accept responsibility. Harry Truman seemed like such an ordinary man, but when leadership presented itself to him, he accepted full responsiblity for his actions and became a fine president. Forty years ago David McClelland of Harvard espoused these ideas in his book, The Achieving Society, and provided evidence that people who act on these suggestions become effective leaders. Kouzes and Posner do not write like academics such as Mc

one of the very best leader books

Thanks to my coursework, I'm reading lots of books on leadership. I just finished this one which I'd rate the most helpful in terms of hands-on leadership of all the ones I've read so far (about 10). The style is easy to read and quick, and the points very direct, well-explained and easy to follow. Not only that, the content is CRUCIAL for any leader. It's only too easy to see from the examples they give how many seemingly easy things (like remembering to thank your co-workers and recognize their accomplishments) are NOT followed by current leaders. In case you every wondered to yourself, "But how would I do that?" enough examples are provided (very specific ones) that any leader could manage it if they WANTED to. What I liked about this book is that it recognized many facets of leadership that have been ignored like leading with your heart and not asking others to do what you yourself would not. It's not about having the nicest office -- it's about getting out on the factory floor and talking to those you lead. A terrific book both in theory and content. If you only read one, read this one.

Best leadership study I've read yet! Outstanding!!

For leaders who have been in that vocation for some time, this book serves as a refresher, and perhaps the acknowledgment of the methods leaders choose. Focused on long-term organizational growth and health, it reminds one that short term gains are the province of managers, while leaders continually challenge and motivate people to achieve the extraordinary. For the new leader, this is an in-depth primer, broken down into chunks small enough to digest, but full of insight and inspiration. It is not a how-to book per se, but does outline a path towards better leadership, and challenges one to develop themselves with a purpose. I loved it! My copy is note-ridden, earmarked, annotated, and continually referred to for anecdotes and ideas. Buy a copy for every developing leader beneath you, and start a development plan for them all.
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