Summary of The Leadership Challenge

Looking for the book?
We have the summary! Get the key insights in just 10 minutes.

The Leadership Challenge book summary
Start getting smarter:
or see our plans

Rating

9

Qualities

  • Innovative
  • Applicable

Recommendation

James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner’s remarkable guide debunks the myth of the leader as a maverick rather than a team player. It also tackles the image of the leader as a special breed. Indeed, the book’s basic premise is that there are certain critical and identifiable skills that most anyone can learn and adopt in order to become an effective leader. The authors spell out these skill sets, and list the guiding principles that leaders should follow and represent to their organizations. The seminal book is a mile deep and a mile wide. getabstract recommends this excellent manual to all current and future leaders.

About the Authors

James M. Kouzes  is the CEO and chairman of Tom Peters Group/Learning Systems. Barry Z. Posner  is dean of Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business and Administration. IndustryWeek magazine named their previous book, Credibility , as one of the best business books of 1993. The authors are also frequent speakers and corporate consultants to 3M, AT&T, Kodak and many other organizations.

 

Summary

Mastering Leadership

Abraham Lincoln once characterized the leader’s lonely job this way: "If the end brings me out all right, what’s said against me won’t amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference." Leadership is often treated as a mystical, inexplicable quality, like charisma or spirituality. But, what if leadership was actually a set of behaviors and attitudes that you can study and master?

A decade of research with almost 1,400 leaders indicates that exemplary leadership rests upon five fundamental practices and 10 leadership commitments that make the five principles work. If you master these critical attributes, you will be able to inspire any organization, no matter how difficult the circumstances.

Universally, effective leaders follow these principles:

  1. They challenge the process.
  2. They inspire a shared vision.
  3. They enable others to act.
  4. They set an example.
  5. They encourage the heart.

Challenge the Process

One of the differences between leaders and followers is that leaders are ...


More on this topic

By the same authors

Stop Selling and Start Leading
8
Learning Leadership
8
The Truth about Leadership
6
A Leader's Legacy
7
Christian Reflections on the Leadership Challenge
7
Credibility
6

Customers who read this summary also read

How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge
7
Leading Beyond the Ego
8
Twisted Leadership
8
Leaders Made Here
7
The High-Potential Leader
8
Scaling Leadership
8

Related Channels

Comment on this summary

  • Avatar
  • Avatar
    M. E. 2 years ago
    This is my favorite part "Study your failures as carefully as your successes, and encourage people to think of solutions, not obstacles.".
  • Avatar
    A. P. 3 years ago
    Passion. I love this part, it will and can be challenging but rewarding in the end: It’s your job as leader to restore the heart of your organization and encourage your constituents to carry onward.
  • Avatar
    A. P. 3 years ago
    Passion. I love this part, it will and can be challenging but rewarding in the end: It’s your job as leader to restore the heart of your organization and encourage your constituents to carry onward.
  • Avatar
    A. L. 3 years ago
    "breathe life into their hopes
    and dreams"
  • Avatar
    J. L. 3 years ago
    This is my favorite part. Study your failures as carefully as your successes, and encourage people to think of solutions, not obstacles. I have experienced this process in many ways and I think a good leader focuses on solutions.
  • Avatar
    R. S. 3 years ago
    Notable part for me,

    "It’s not enough to talk the talk - your followers will watch to see if you walk the walk as well."

    Good read. :)
  • Avatar
    E. G. 4 years ago
    Best line ever - Leadership is a process, not a position. It is not about the Title, it's all about responsibilities and that is to challenge the process, inspire a shared vision, enable others to act, set an example and encourage the heart.
  • Avatar
    S. T. 4 years ago
    I love this part - People often get frustrated and exhausted during the climb towards excellence because this is an arduous process. People may be tempted to give up along the way. - I have experienced this numerous times and there were a lot of times when I feel like I just want to give up, but my leaders help me look at the bigger picture and focus on the goal.
  • Avatar
    P. L. 5 years ago
    I loved the idea that leaders should not seek to control resources, material and personnel as this will lead to people not achieving excellence. It is best to seek an understanding of how to use these things to achieve organizational goals and not seek to control or hinder them.

    Challenging the status quo has always been a firm belief of mine. We should not continue the same way of doing something just because "We've always done it that way." Seek to challenge and innovate in order to make the process more improved.