The Leadership Challenge has its origins in a research project that Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner began over two decades ago. The two authors conducted their research by collecting "Personal Best" stories— the experiences people recalled when asked what they did when they were at their personal best in leading others. Remarkably, their Personal Best Leadership Experiences revealed similar patterns of behaviour.
The study found that when leaders are at their personal best, they implement The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership®:
The Leadership Challenge is about how leaders mobilize others to achieve extraordinary results. It's about the Five Practices leaders use to transform values into actions, visions into realities, obstacles into innovations, separateness into solidarity and risks into rewards. It's about a climate in which people turn challenging opportunities into remarkable successes.
Over its nearly 25-year history, The Leadership Challenge has sold over 20 million copies and has been translated into 20 languages. The Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI)®, which is explained below, is one of the most widely used leadership assessment instruments in the world. And more than 275 doctoral dissertations and academic research projects have been based on The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership® model.
This program is a great fit for all levels of managers (including new managers), as the authors state that leadership is not the private reserve of a lucky few, it is an observable and learnable set of skills and abilities that are applicable at all levels. The Leadership Challenge is a global model of leadership and has been used in a variety of sectors, including:
If people are to become leaders, they must believe that they can be a positive force in the world. Some management scholars claim, however, that leaders have little impact on organizations, that other forces— internal or external to the organization—are the determinants of success; Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner have evidence that strongly demonstrates quite the contrary.
Managers, individual contributors, volunteers, government administrators, teachers, school principals, students, pastors and other leaders who use The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership® are more frequently seen by others as better leaders. For example:
In addition, people working with leaders who demonstrate The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership® are significantly more satisfied with the actions and strategies of their leaders, and they feel more committed, excited, energized, influential and powerful. In other words, the more people engage in these practices, the more likely it is that they'll have a positive influence on others in the organization.
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