The Leadership Challenge Book Summary - The Leadership Challenge Book explained in key points
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The Leadership Challenge summary

James Kouzes and Barry Posner

How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations

4.3 (94 ratings)
24 mins
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    The Leadership Challenge
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    Everybody’s watching you: leaders should be conscious of the influence their behavior has on others.

    When you think about the most important role models in your life, different people might spring to mind: your grandfather, a professor, etc. And when it comes to leadership, role models are equally diverse.

    Leadership role models are not necessarily businessmen in a suit and tie. Theoretically, anyone could be a leadership role model.

    Although it seems reasonable to assume that celebrities or sportsmen are the most likely candidates to be teenagers’ leadership role models, it’s actually not true. It turns out that the people we have direct contact with have a much stronger influence than strangers. Research has shown that family members are the most important leadership role models. Teachers, coaches and business leaders also rank high.

    So since there’s a pretty good chance we’ll be a leadership role model for someone sooner or later, we’d all better start learning how to be good leaders.

    But what makes a good leader? Leadership isn’t an inherent part of our character but something defined by our behavior. And, as the authors argue, anyone can learn to be a good leader if they’re driven to become one and have a lot of patience.

    Researchers from Florida State University found that, in general, the best performance in all fields wasn’t due to extraordinary intelligence or talent alone, but to effort and continuous practice. And this also holds true for leadership.

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    What is The Leadership Challenge about?

    In The Leadership Challenge, James Kouzes and Barry Posner explain how anyone can become a better leader. Citing various examples from their 25 years of experience and extensive research, the authors present their theories on what makes a successful leader, and give practical advice on how to learn good leadership behavior.

    Best quote from The Leadership Challenge

    Leading by example is more effective than leading by command.

    —James Kouzes and Barry Posner
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    Who should read The Leadership Challenge?

    • Anyone in a management position
    • Anyone leading a team of any size
    • Anyone interested in becoming a better leader

    About the Author

    James Kouzes is the Dean’s Executive Fellow of Leadership at Santa Clara University’s Leavy School of Business and gives lectures and speeches on leadership worldwide. He has won many awards for his work, including the 2010 Thought Leadership Award.

    Barry Posner is the Accolti Professor of Leadership at Santa Clara University’s Leavy School of Business, where he served as dean from 1997 to 2000. He has been a visiting professor at several other universities worldwide and has received various awards for his work.

    The authors have worked together for over 30 years, lecturing on and researching leadership.


    James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner: The Leadership Challenge] copyright 2012, 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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