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Learning Leadership

The Five Fundamentals of Becoming an Exemplary Leader

By James Kouzes and Barry Posner
10-minute read
Audio available
Learning Leadership: The Five Fundamentals of Becoming an Exemplary Leader by James Kouzes and Barry Posner

Learning Leadership (2016) proves that leaders don’t have to be born with a talent for great leadership. Like any other skill, leadership is something that can be learned and improved upon. And with the help of just five fundamental strategies, you too can learn what it takes to be an effective leader. These are great tips for those who are just stepping into a leadership position or for seasoned pros looking for a fresh perspective.

  • Executives, managers and CEOs who want to perfect their abilities
  • Anyone looking to step into a leadership role
  • Supervisors who want to improve their team’s performance

James M. Kouzes is the Dean’s Executive Fellow of Leadership at Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business. He is a popular speaker on the subject of leadership for both corporations and government organizations.

Barry Z. Posner also teaches at the Leavey School of Business, where he’s an Accolti Endowed Professor of Leadership. He is also an in-demand speaker for leadership seminars and workshops.

© James Kouzes and Barry Posner: Learning Leadership copyright 2016, John Wiley & Sons Inc. Used by permission of John Wiley & Sons Inc. and shall not be made available to any unauthorized third parties.

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Learning Leadership

The Five Fundamentals of Becoming an Exemplary Leader

By James Kouzes and Barry Posner
  • Read in 10 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 6 key ideas
Learning Leadership: The Five Fundamentals of Becoming an Exemplary Leader by James Kouzes and Barry Posner
Synopsis

Learning Leadership (2016) proves that leaders don’t have to be born with a talent for great leadership. Like any other skill, leadership is something that can be learned and improved upon. And with the help of just five fundamental strategies, you too can learn what it takes to be an effective leader. These are great tips for those who are just stepping into a leadership position or for seasoned pros looking for a fresh perspective.

Key idea 1 of 6

Fundamental #1: Believe in yourself and never stop learning.

You’ve probably known someone who’s been referred to as “a born leader,” and maybe that appellative gave you the impression that every successful leader must have an inherent gift.

Well, let’s start by debunking this myth. The truth is this: everyone has the potential to become a leader.

But before you become a great leader, you need to understand that this ability is already inside you and that it can be built upon.

Look within and find out what you consider important in your life. Ask yourself, “What challenges have I faced?” And, “What kind of encouragement did I use?”

Chances are, you have overcome significant challenges in life, and you can use these past events as ways to motivate and lead others.

To really bring that into action, let’s go over the first self-coaching exercise:

Before you start your day, stop and ask yourself four questions: Who am I? What do I do? How do I make a difference? What will I do today that really matters?

Write down your answers to these questions on your phone or on a piece of paper, and carry those answers with you. This way, you can always refer to it if things get difficult and remind yourself of the day’s goal.

This is a simple and effective way to stay motivated, accomplish your goals and gain confidence in yourself as a leader.

It’s also important to remember that one of the best skills you can have is a willingness to learn.

All great leaders are constantly looking for new knowledge. They work hard and remain focused on growing and gaining more skills.

Take David Maister, a sought-after management consultant. He is well aware that his clients wouldn’t hire him a second time if he wasn’t constantly learning and keeping up with the newest trends.

You should have a similar mind-set and know that if you want to be seen as a valuable leader, you need to always be learning.

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