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Keys to Leadership ?

I’ve come across this information lately from several sources but this one was blogospheric. Some interesting implications for anyone involved in a complex organization in a position of even mid-level leadership:

Kouzes and Posner write in their classic leadership book,The Leadership Challenge: How to Get Extraordinary Things Done in Organizations (Jossey-Bass Management Series), that through their research of over 60,000 leaders across continents, they’ve uncovered 5 practices and 10 commitments of excellent leaders:

Practice Number One: Leaders Challenge the Process

  • Commitment #1: Leaders search out challenging opportunities to change, grow, and improve.
  • Commitment #2: Leaders experiment, take risks, and learn from the accompanying mistakes.

Practice Number Two: Leaders Inspire a Shared Vision

  • Commitment #3: Leaders envision an uplifting and ennobling future.
  • Commitment #4: Leaders enlist others in a common vision by appealing to their values, interests, hopes, and dreams.

Practice Number Three: Leaders Enable Others to Act.

  • Commitment #5: Leaders foster collaboration by promoting cooperative goals and building trust.
  • Commitment #6: Leaders strengthen people by giving power away, providing choice, developing competence, assigning critical tasks, and offering visible support.

Practice Number Four: Leaders Model the Way.

  • Commitment #7: Leaders set the example by behaving in ways that are consistent with shared values.
  • Commitment #8: Leaders achieve small wins that promote consistent progress and build commitment.

Practice Number Five: Leaders Encourage the Heart.

  • Commitment #9: Leaders recognize individual contributions to the success of every project.
  • Commitment #10: Leaders celebrate team accomplishments regularly.

5 Responses to “Keys to Leadership ?”

  1. Smitten Eagle Says:

    A fine, if incomplete list.

    Nowhere does it mention morals or ethics, which are crucial.  It does mention "Shared Values" gobbledygook, but nothing concrete.  This, of course, might be a result of such a large survey.

    It does not mention personal sacrifice, selflessness, nor integrity.

  2. Kotare Says:

    Good point, SE. Good leaders know themselves, and this includes the principles that they live by.

    I’ve been reading some of Peter Drucker’s articles recently. It was the first time I’d encountered Drucker’s ideas directly, and I was impressed by the commonsense and practical nature of his thinking. I just wish – and this is not just about Drucker’s work, but a general comment about much contemporary leadership material – that there is more discussion of good leadership in the public sector context, not just big private sector corporations.

  3. Lexington Green Says:

    "good leadership in the public sector context"
    Interesting. Maybe there is no demand for such literature.?  Is there much incentive to have good leadership in the public sector context?  The skills and behavior needed to advance in that context may be very different.

  4. zen Says:

    Hi SE,
    "Shared Vision" and "Shared Values" are as close as they get on paper – I’ve seen one of their vid clips, they are trying to get leaders to behave ethically without the harsh reality that the need for greater ethical behavior implies wrongdoing on the part of corporate clients who form their customer base. Another, better read guy in this vein, Michael Fullan will categorically say " moral purpose" – he actually has a lot of congruency with Boyd, used many of the same sources ( Polanyi etc.) but doesn’t take his audience nearly as deeply as Boyd did.
    BTW I’m enjoying Epictetus Discourses.
    Hi Kotare,
    I need to read some Drucker.
    Hi Lex,
    The public sector always lags 2-10 years behind the private sector in the consultancy-concept circuit. This isn’t bad as the bureaucratic instinct for caution and risk aversion means the private sector will weed out the most specious of the ideas ( and thus reduce the number of faddish, half-assed workshops) before they can get on the bureaucrat’s radar. OTOH, bureaucracies tend to avoid the best of this genre as well – too risky, to threatening, too expensive etc. – until it becomes old hat.

  5. Kotare Says:

    Lex – why would one would question that public servants should display good leadership? Public servants lead large departments, policy initiatives, programmes, and budgets. Effective management of these depends on leaders enabling their staff to exercise their skills and initiative. It would be good to have some role models and case studies, both good and bad.

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