If you ask anybody to recommend you a great book about leadership, then you will most definitely hear the answer The Leadership Challenge. This book was initially published in 1987, so it’s been around for a while. But its fifth edition came out in 2012, celebrating its 25th anniversary. The book’s two authors, James Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, trusted the result of their extensive work and research to Wiley publishing house. But without further ado, let’s see what makes this book extraordinary. Moreover, why through reading it, you have the possibility to become extraordinary too.
#How Was The Leadership Challenge Born?
The idea of The Leadership Challenge came to Kouzes and Posner when they were at a conference, presenting about leadership. The two authors, both academics at Santa Clara University, decided before the presentation to talk about individual leadership skills. But why is the book a “challenge”? Well, it is because the road to successful leadership is full of challenges.
#What is The Leadership Challenge All About?
The entire concept of The Leadership Challenge comes from the research conducted by the two authors on “The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership”. It contains many case studies that aim to show you how you can find these five practices all around the world. The research is quite extensive, since they started it in 1983. They have conducted thousands of interviews over the course of 30 years. They collected around 75,000 written answers, which provided them with the five practices. These are: “Challenge the Process”, “Model the Way”, “Enable Others to Act”, “Inspire a Shared Vision”, and “Encourage the Heart”.
“Challenge the Process” is all about getting out of your comfort zone in order to make progress. “Model the Way” shows how leaders will act the same way they advise others to. “Enable Others to Act” focuses on the leader creating an environment in which people can feel safe to collaborate and experiment. “Inspire a Shared Vision” works to develop a collective vision of the entire firm. Finally, “Encourage the Heart” (the most uncommon) is dependent on a lot of sincerity and celebration of success.
#How to Become an Extraordinary Leader?
But what makes this book extraordinary, and what do you have to do to become extraordinary as well? Apart from showing so many examples of case studies that illustrate “The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership”, The Leadership Challenge also includes the features that great leaders must have.
First of all, the book puts forth the idea that great leadership is something you can learn. It is not something you are born with. So this is great news for everybody who aspires to become a successful leader. According to the surveys the authors conducted, the most appreciated quality in a leader is honesty. Other qualities are competency, forward-thinking, and inspiration.
The book also shows you how you can develop your leadership skills according to the work environment and your personality. It is important to have a shared vision and to be able to use symbolic language in order to persuade your team. You have to know how to express yourself, be charismatic and positive, since employees who are around positive leaders will feel more inspired and productive.
All in all, The Leadership Challenge has proven to be one of the most important resources for anybody who wants to develop their leadership skills. If you want extraordinary results, we advise you to purchase this book. You can find the fifth edition on Amazon, for only $18.74.
Image Source: here.