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Learning Leadership

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Learning Leadership

The Five Fundamentals of Becoming an Exemplary Leader


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Everyone leads, and anyone can achieve leadership greatness.

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable


Frequent leadership authors James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner will convince you that exemplary leaders make themselves great – not because of their DNA or “natural talent” – but because they work hard. Kouzes and Posner back up their claims with extensive references to current research. Their manual aims mostly at helping you on your journey to effective leadership. The authors lay out several fundamentals of leadership supported by about a dozen practices culled from their rich experience. They repeat these fundamentals – self-belief, a drive for excellence,  on others, lifelong learning, servant leadership, authenticity and practice – to drive their message home. getAbstract recommends their insights and practices to new supervisors, seasoned managers and anyone who develops leaders.


Everyone Leads

Today, millennial workers entering the workforce often find scant corporate commitment to their development. This lack of training will worsen the current worldwide shortage of exemplary leaders who can create “shared values” and “vision.” Such leaders take risks, seek challenges and seize the initiative. They rally others to their cause by creating trust, helping people develop and recognizing good work. Wise executives at the top of today’s firms worry about having enough exemplary leaders to meet their corporation’s demands.

Lower trust in leaders adds to the current leadership crisis. But anyone, at any level or rank or with any title, can learn to build trust, gain followers and lead effectively. Everyone leads, and most leaders use at least some of the best practices and core principles associated with “exemplary leadership.” The consistency as well as the frequency of that usage marks the difference between adequate leaders and brilliant ones. Sadly, most individuals lead tentatively and sporadically.

People achieve leadership greatness by wanting it badly enough and by digging into “deliberate practice,” constant learning...

About the Authors

James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner teach business at Santa Clara University. They co-wrote The Leadership Challenge, a business leadership classic.

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