St. Catherine University
THE LEADERSHIP CHALLENGE
By: James M. Kouzes & Barry Z. Posner
The Leadership Challenge Review 2
The reason why I chose The Leadership Challenge book by James M. Kouzes & Barry Z. Posner
is because I wanted to receive a more in depth understanding of how to be an effective leader,
understand how to adapt to organizational change, build effective teams, as well as better inform
my studies on how to practice ethics. I also read a few reviews and saw that 5 dysfunctions of a
team author, Patrick Lencioni suggested this book as a comprehensive leader field guide.
Therefore, I wanted to prepare myself as a leader by reading this book.
II. Book Summary
The Leadership Challenge by James M. Kouzes & Barry Z. Posner touch on the five methods of
great leadership which are model the way, inspire a shared vision, enable others to act, and to
encourage the heart. The authors began developing The Leadership Challenge before they
were going to present for a conference. Jim Kouzes spent 30 years plus studying leaders and
researching leadership. He also conducts leadership development seminars. Barry Posner is a
leadership Professor at Leavey school of business Santa Clara university dean for 12 years
serves on reviews leadership. Both sold more than 2 million leadership challenge book copies.
The leadership challenge won the Hospital administration book of year award and Top 10
leadership books in Covert and Sattersten's 100 best business books of all time.
III. Key Learning Insights
The Leadership Challenge by James M. Kouzes & Barry Z. Posner
Model the Way:
- Find your voice by clarifying your personal values.
-Set the example by aligning actions with shared values
The Leadership Challenge Review 3
It relates to The Leadership Text by suggesting you have actions that reflect who you are. It is
about discovering one's voice. This involves INTERPERSONAL skills where one is supportive,
respected, honest, and approachable.
I will show personal commitment to the work that I am involved in and have a team spirit. It is
also essential for me to find corporate values that are similar in order to thrive. Posner and
Kouzes states, “People want to be part of something larger than themselves. What we’re saying
is this: people cannot fully commit to an organization or a movement that does not fit with their
own beliefs. Leaders must pay as much attention to personal values as they do to organizational
values if they want dedicated constituents.” (Barry Posner, Kouzes 51)
As a leader I hope to set examples and live the shared values by teaching others to live their
values through example. I hope to enable others to act by setting up collaboration and creating a
climate of trust facilitating relationships. I also want to strengthen others and enhance self
-determination, as well as, develop competence and confidence. In the flow or optimal
experience states I learned that I need to be a competent and confident leader as well as create
competent and confident team (256). I will thus challenge myself and others to make values a
part of a daily routine.
Inspire A Shared Vision:
-Envision the future by imagining exciting and enabling possibilities.
-Enlist others in a common vision by appealing to shared aspirations.
It applies to the workforce since it is challenging to lead a team and be a part of an organization.
In fact they did research that displays two thirds of the people in Trustmark company (consists
of 250) wanted more of a focus on values (62) Like Andrew did for organization YSF, I can
encourage other team members to find their values and reasons for being a part of the company.
Thus, Andrew understood the co-worker. As he said, “Words send signals, and, if you listen
intently, you may just hear the hidden assumptions about how someone views the world.” (57). It
is also important to challenge the process as a team. This can be done by looking at how to
enhance opportunities by seeking innovative ways to change, grow, and improve. Furthermore,
experiment and take risks by constantly generating small wins and learning from mistake. It
relates to business since I can create strong feelings of personal effectiveness and loyalty to the
organization. As a leader, I lay down the work expectations, encourage teamwork, and reduce
Enable others to Act:
- Foster collaboration by promoting cooperative goals and building trust.
-Strengthen others by sharing power and discretion.
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Leaders envision future by imagining exciting and enabling possibilities. For example, Rajan Google
product manager believes you should, "imagine future as a jigsaw puzzle you see pieces and you begin
to figure out how they fit together, one by one into a whole." In fact, Ann Rhoades quotes 2009 Gallup
Organization Study which states, "companies in the top decile for employment engagement boosted
earnings per share at nearly 4 times the rate of companies with lower scores."
Encourage the Heart:
-Recognize contributions by showing appreciation for individual excellence.
-Celebrate the values and victories by creating a spirit of community.
As a leader I want to personalize recognition and celebrate the values and victories. I aspire to
create a spirit of community to get personally involved with. I understand that leadership is
everyone's business. As a leader I want to bring out the talents in others.
James M. Kouzes & Barry Z. Posner’s book, The Leadership Challenge, informed me about
leadership-related topics that I can employ in my everyday life. I am inspired to share these key
learning takeaways with others I encounter. My goal is to challenge myself to go beyond just
applying it to my life by also encouraging others to apply it to their lives through example. As
Kouzes and Posner state, "Leaders set examples and live the shared values by teaching others to
model the values (71).
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