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					The Leadership Challenge Instructor’s Guide

                                   CHAPTER SUMMARIES


Chapters 1 and 2 introduce readers to the author’s point of view about leadership.

Chapter 1. The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership.

Using the stories of two people who each took advantage of an opportunity to lead their
organization to excellence, the authors introduce their leadership model, The Five
Practices of Exemplary Leadership.

The Five Practices

Ordinary people who guide others along pioneering journeys follow similar paths,
marked by common patterns of action. When getting extraordinary things done in
organizations, leaders engage in Five Practices that are available to anyone who accepts
the leadership challenge:

        Model the Way
        Inspire a Shared Vision
        Challenge the Practice
        Enable Others to Act
        Encourage the Heart

This model has stood the test of time—research confirms that it’s just as relevant now as
when Kouzes and Posner first began their investigation.

Leadership is a Relationship

Leadership is a relationship between those who aspire to lead and those who choose to
follow. Success in leadership, business and life is a function of how well people work and
play together, and success in leading depends on the capacity to build and sustain the
human relationships that enable people to extraordinary things done

Ten Commitments of Leadership

The behaviors that serve as the basis for learning to lead are embedded in The Five

    Model the Way

       Find your voice by clarifying your personal values

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       Set the example by aligning actions with shared values

    Inspire a Shared Vision

       Envision the future by imagining exciting and ennobling possibilities.

       Enlist others in a common vision by appealing to shared aspirations.

    Challenge the Process

       Search for opportunities by seeking innovative ways to change, grow, and

       Experiment and take risks by constantly generating small wins and learning from

    Enable Others to Act

       Foster collaboration by promoting cooperative goals and building trust.

       Strengthen others by sharing power and discretion.

    Encourage the Heart

       Recognize contributions by showing appreciation for individual excellence.

       Celebrate the values and victories by creating a spirit of community.

Chapter 2. Credibility is the Foundation of Leadership

The authors discuss the research into the four qualities that people believe are essential to
exemplary leadership, on which all great leadership is built.

What People Look for and Admire in Their Leaders

Over a period of more than 20 years, the authors asked more than 75,000 people around
the globe what values they most looked for and admired in a leader, someone “whose
direction they would willingly follow.”

Only four out of 20 qualities have continuously received more than 50 per cent of the
respondents’ votes: the majority of people believe a leader must be honest, forward-
looking, competent, and inspiring.

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Honesty is the single most important leadership characteristic for nearly 90 percent of
constituents. People expect leaders to be truthful and ethical, be consistent between word
and deed, and take a stand on important principles.

The ability to look ahead is one of the most important characteristics for more than 70 per
cent of constituents. Being forward-looking is more important to senior people in an
organization than to those on the front line, but no matter what their positions, people
expect leaders to be able to envision the future—to have a sense of direction and a
concern for the future of the organization.

According to more than two-thirds of all constituents, leaders must be able to inspire
others, to communicate their vision and encourage others to sign on. When leaders
breathe life into their constituents’ dreams and aspirations, they’re more willing to work
towards that future. Leaders must lift constituents’ spirits and give them hope if
constituents are to engage voluntarily in challenging pursuits.

Finally, three in five people believe that leaders need to be competent. They must
demonstrate the ability to get things done and to guide the organization in the right
direction. The areas in which they need to be competent depend on the nature of their
leadership role and the needs of their organization. All leaders must have a good
understanding of their business, even if they are not technically proficient. The most
important competency is the ability to work well with others.

Credibility is the Foundation

What do these four attributes of leaders add up to? More than anything else, they
indicate that people want leaders who are credible. People must be able to believe that
their leaders’ word can be trusted, they’ll do what they say, that they’re personally
excited and enthusiastic about the future, and that they have the knowledge and skill to
lead. Thus, the First Law of Leadership, according to Kouzes and Posner, is: If you
don’t believe in the messenger, you won’t believe the message.

The authors found that people’s perceptions of their managers’ credibility affect their
loyalty, commitment, energy, and productivity. Credibility also influences customer and
investor loyalty, and employee, customer, and investor loyalty affects a company’s

The dilemma is that leaders who are forward-looking are biased about the future—they
take a position on issues and have a clear point of view and a partisan sense of where the
organization should be headed. By the nature of the role they play, such leaders always
have their credibility questioned by their opponents, and they need to balance their
personal desires to achieve important ends with constituents’ need to believe that leaders
have others’ best interests at heart.

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Leaders’ ability to take strong stands depends on their ability to guard their credibility—
to believe in the exciting future possibilities leaders present, constituents must believe in
their trustworthiness, expertise, and dynamism.

When times are good, people have more confidence in their leaders; when they are bad,
people tend to be more cynical and less likely to consider their leaders credible.
Credibility is earned minute by minute, hour by hour, month by month, year by year, but
can be lost quickly if leaders take it for granted and stop paying attention—and it is
nearly impossible to earn back.

What is Credibility Behaviorally?

When asked, most people’s response is, “Leaders do what they say they will do”:
“DWYSYWD.” In other words, people are considered credible when their words and
their deeds are consonant.

There are two elements in DWYSYWD: “Say”—leaders must be clear about their
beliefs; they must know what they stand for; “Do”—leaders must put what they say into
practice by acting on their beliefs.

The first of The Five Practices, Model the Way, links directly to people’s behavioral
definition of credibility.


Chapter 3. Find Your Voice

To be a credible leader, you first need to engage in two essentials. You first need to
clarify your values by comprehending fully the values, beliefs, and assumptions that drive
you, choose the principles you’ll use to guide your actions, and be clear about the
message you want to deliver. You then need to express your self by communicating your
beliefs in ways that uniquely represent who you are.

In the authors’ research, the people most frequently mentioned as admired leaders all had
strong beliefs about matters of principle, an unwavering commitment to a clear set of
values, and passion about their causes. The lesson is that we admire most those who
believe strongly in something and are willing to stand up for their beliefs.

To stand up for your beliefs, you first have to know what they are. Thus, the corollary to
the Kouzes Posner First Law of Leadership, “If you don’t believe in the messenger, you
won’t believe the message,” is “You can’t believe in the messenger if you don’t know
what the messenger believes.”

Values Are Guides

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Values—defined in the context of Model the Way as “our here-and-now beliefs about
how things should be accomplished” —supply us with a moral compass by which to
navigate the course of our daily lives. Values are most important in difficult times when
daily challenges can easily throw you off course.

Values set the parameters for our decisions, our commitments to personal and
organizational goals, and serve as guides to action. They empower us by helping us be
more in control of our lives, and they motivate us by keeping us focused on why we’re
doing what we’re doing and the ends toward which we are striving.

Research shows that people who have clarity about personal values have higher degrees
of positive work attributes, such as organizational commitment to their organization, than
do those who have either low or high levels of organizational clarity. In other words,
clarity about personal values is more important than clarity about organizational values—
and the difference in positive work attributes between those with clarity about both
personal and organizational values is not significantly different from those with only high
degrees of personal value clarity.

People with the clearest personal values are better prepared to make choices about
whether to commit to an organization or movement, and they cannot fully commit to an
organization that does not fit with their own beliefs

Leadership begins with something that grabs hold of you and won’t let go. To find your
voice, you must know what you care about—you must explore your inner territory for the
principles that matter most to you.

You must also listen to the “masters.” The leaders we admire tell us a lot about our own
values and beliefs, and people model their behavior after those they admire and respect

Express Your Self

Once you have a voice—know what you want to say—you must express that voice in
ways that are uniquely your own, so people know that you are the one who’s speaking.
The words you choose tell others how you view the world, and each person is free to
choose what they want to express and the way they want to express it.

There are three stages of self-expression. Like an artist, finding your unique way of
expressing yourself as a leader involves:

    looking outside yourself for the fundamentals, tools and techniques others have used

    looking inside yourself to see what you need to improve

    moving on to become an authentic leader by merging the lessons from your inner and
     outer journeys

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Your value as a leader is determined not only by your guiding techniques, but also by
your ability to act on them. To strengthen credibility, you need to continually assess your
abilities and learn new ones.

Chapter 4. Set The Example

Constituents are more deeply moved by deeds than by words. Leading by example is
how leaders make visions and values tangible—how they demonstrate that they are
personally committed. To set the example, leaders build and affirm shared values and
align actions with values.

Build And Affirm Shared Values

Shared values are the foundation for productive and genuine relationships: people must
have a common core of understanding.

Shared values intensify commitment, enthusiasm, and drive, and make a significant
difference in work attitudes and performance. Leaders must be able to gain consensus on
a common cause and a common set of principles.

When people are clear about the leader’s values, their own values, and shared values,
they know what’s expected of them, can manage higher levels of stress, and can better
handle the conflicting demands of work and their personal lives

For values to be truly shared, however, they must be deeply supported and broadly
endorsed beliefs about what’s important to the people who hold them. Unity is forged,
not forced: Leaders can’t impose their values on others in the organization—they need to
involve others in the process of creating shared values. A unified voice on values results
from discovery and dialogue, so leaders must make it possible for individuals to discuss
their own and the organization’s values, and to find common ground.

Align Actions with Values

Leaders must practice what they preach--demonstrate their efforts to align shared values
through their actions. The authors present several ways in which leaders can align
actions with values:

   Set an example by the way they spend their time—make a connection between how
    they allocate their time and what they say are their priorities and key values

   Use critical incidents as opportunities to teach lessons about appropriate norms of

   Tell stories that let people know what’s important and how things are done in the

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   Understand and pay attention to the power of words

   Use measurement and feedback to improve performance


Chapter 5. Envision The Future

Vision comes from relationships with others. We are much more likely to step forward
when we feel passionate about the legacy we want to leave and about the kind of world
we want for others.

“Forward-Looking,” one of the three most admired leadership characteristics, is the one
that is not directly related to credibility. But for people to willingly follow, they need to
believe that a leader knows where she is heading. All enterprises or projects begin with
the belief that what’s merely an idea can one day be made real. Thus, to envision the
future, leaders must master these essentials: Discover the theme and imagine the

The Importance of Having a Vision

Leaders want to do something significant, to accomplish something no one else has yet
achieved, and that sense of meaning and purpose must come from within. Research
shows that people who are self-motivated keep working toward a result even if there’s no
reward, while people who are externally controlled are likely to stop trying when rewards
or punishments are removed.

Leaders can’t impose their vision on others—it must have meaning to their constituents
as well. Thus, they must foster conditions under which everyone will do things because
they want to, giving life and work a sense of meaning and purpose by offering an exciting
vision. This clarity of vision is even more important when things are moving quickly, to
keep people focused on what’s ahead.

Leaders being the process of envisioning the future by discovering their themes—the core
concepts around which they organize their aspirations and actions. Finding your vision is
an intuitive process that helps you identify what you feel strongly about.

Research shows that when we gaze into our past, we elongate our future, enriching it with
the detail of our experiences. To envision possibilities in the distant future, leaders must
first look into their pasts to identify recurring themes.

Visions come from paying attention to what is right in front of us. According to cultural
anthropologist Jennifer James, “The core skill for understanding the future is the
willingness to see it—and see it in perspective.” And to have a vision of the future, you
need to see trends and patterns, not one-time occurrences.

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The longer and more varied our experiences in an organization, profession, or industry,
the broader and deeper our understanding is likely to be. When we’re presented with a
problem, we draw on our experiences to help solve it. It’s the years spent immersed in the
business that gives us an intuitive sense for what’s going to happen, helping us predict the

Envisioning the future begins with passion, feeling, concern, or an inspiration that
something is worth doing. The vision gets clearer as you act, pay attention, experience,
and immerse yourself in it, until you can articulate it for your constituents.

Imagine The Possibilities

Leaders begin with the assumption that anything is possible; it’s this belief that gets them
through difficult times. The leader’s challenge is to turn that assumption into an inspiring,
shared vision—an ideal and unique future for the common good.

Visions are about our desire to achieve something great, not something ordinary.
Focusing on the ideal gives us a sense of meaning and purpose, of making a difference.

Leaders are characterized by a dissatisfaction with the status quo and a belief that it is
possible to attain something better.

Our visions set us apart from others. That uniqueness fosters pride, which boosts the self-
respect and self-esteem of everyone in the organization. Uniqueness also enables smaller
units within organizations to have their own visions, enabling them to differentiate
themselves by finding their distinctive qualities, while still being aligned with the overall
organizational vision.

Just as we store our memories of places as images and sensory impressions, we must
imagine what our ideal future looks like and find images that express our vision. Visions
are statements of destinations, and they are made real over different spans of time.
Leaders must set themselves long-term goals and be able to project themselves ahead in

Chapter 6. Enlist Others

The authors relate the story of a leader who discovered how essential it is to find out what
motivates his team members. He says that the more you know about the people you work
with, the more committed you become to each other’s success and the more you realize
that you have similar hopes and aspirations for what you are working on. A company is
like an engine: “We cannot move forward if any of the cogs are not working.”

Develop A Shared Sense Of Destiny

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A leader’s vision is not enough. Members of the organization must understand, accept,
and commit to it. Leadership is a dialogue, not a monologue. Leaders must engage
constituents in conversations about their lives, hopes, and dreams, to develop a shared
sense of destiny, an ideal and unique image of the future for the common good.

Inspire a Shared Vision is the least frequently applied of The Five Practices—people feel
the most uncomfortable with it, and only one in ten considers herself inspiring. Yet even
when they do not consider themselves inspiring, people nearly always become
emotionally expressive when talking about their visions of the future.

The assumption that the process of inspiring a shared vision is somehow mystical or
supernatural inhibits people, making them feel that they have to be something special to
be inspiring. But what is necessary is believing in the vision and developing the skills for
communicating it with commitment and enthusiasm, just as Martin Luther King did on
the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963.

To inspire their audience as Dr. King did, leaders need to practice three essentials to
Enlist Others: Listen deeply, discover and appeal to a common purpose, and give life to
their vision by communicating expressively.

Listen Deeply to Others

Leaders need to strengthen their ability to sense the purpose in others. By knowing their
constituents, listening to them, and taking their advice, they can give voice to their
feelings and show them how their own needs and interests will be served by enlisting in a
common cause. Listening is crucial because leaders can’t do it alone—they don’t have all
the ideas or all the answers.

A key characteristic of leaders who won the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige award is
impressive listening skills. Leaders listen carefully for quiet whisperings and subtle cues
that give them a sense of what people want, dream about, and value.

To truly hear what constituents want means spending unstructured time--having coffee,
breakfast, lunch, breaks--with constituent groups to find out what’s going on with them
and what they hope to achieve from their relationship to you, your product, your

Discover and Appeal to a Common Purpose

People stay in organizations because they like their work and find it challenging,
meaningful, and purposeful. These are common values that link people together. The
best leaders are able to bring out and make use of the deep human yearning to make a
difference by helping people understand the meaning and significance of the
organization’s work and the importance of their own role in creating it.

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Visions are not strategic plans—strategic planning is not strategic thinking. The most
successful strategies are visions, not plans, because they uplift people’s spirits.
According to McGill University professor Harry Mintzberg, leaders “engage people in a
journey [so that] everyone on the journey helps shape its course….Strategies take on
value only as committed people infuse them with energy.”

Leadership scholars say that leadership that focuses on committing is called
“transformational leadership” because it raises the level of human conduct and ethical
aspiration—transforms—both leaders and constituents.

The most admired leaders know that people aspire to live up to the highest moral
standards, so to enlist others, it is essential to find and focus on the very best that the
culture of the group or organization shares in common and what it means to its members.
This communion of purpose reminds us of what it means to be part of a collective effort
and gives us a sense of belonging, particularly important in tumultuous times.

Give Life to a Vision

Leaders use powerful language, a positive communication style, and nonverbal
expressiveness make the intangible tangible, breathing life into their visions. They use
metaphors and other figures of speech; give examples, tell stories, and relate anecdotes;
draw word pictures; and use quotations and slogans.

Constituents want leaders with a can-do attitude, who make us feel good about ourselves
and what we’re doing. The most admired leaders are electric, vigorous, active, and full
of life, with a positive attitude and communication style. The authors point out that
people who are perceived to be charismatic are more animated than others—they smile
more, speak faster, pronounce words more clearly, move their heads and bodies more
often, and are more likely to make physical contact with others during greetings.


Chapter 7. Search for Opportunities

Leadership experiences are voyages of discovery and adventures, challenging
explorations that require pioneering spirits. According to Dick Nettell, corporate services
executive for the Bank of America, “In today’s environment, if you want to be
successful, doing things the same way just won’t get it done….if we’re not willing to be
innovative and do things differently, we are going to have the competition pass us like
we’re still sitting on the freeway.”

Personal-best leadership experiences always involve some sort of challenge. Leaders
take charge of change. When they search for opportunities to get extraordinary things
done, they make use of four essentials: seize the initiative, make challenge meaningful,
innovate and create, and look outward for fresh ideas.

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Seize the Initiative

People describe their personal-best leadership experiences as challenging, rewarding, and
exciting—humdrum situations aren’t associated with award-winning performances.
Leaders seize the initiative with enthusiasm, determination, and a desire the make
something happen. They are challenged and energized by the stress of a difficult

Leaders are proactive, able to make something happen under conditions of extreme
uncertainty and urgency—when leadership is most needed. Proactive people tend to work
harder at what they do and persist at achieving their goals.

Leaders create the conditions under which people will overcome their reluctance and be
ready and willing to seize the initiative in both calm and calamitous times. People who
challenge the status quo believe they can do something about the situation they face and
are more likely to act than those who do not, so leaders must provide opportunities for
training that helps people master a task one step at a time.

People’s confidence increases when they can imagine how things will be done before
they need to be done. Leaders search for opportunities for people to exceed their previous
levels of performance—they set the bar higher, yet at a level at which people feel they
can succeed, and they provide positive role models of peers who are successful at
meeting new challenges.

Being an agent of change doesn’t mean that leaders have to initiate every new project—
leaders don’t always seek the challenges they face. Seizing the initiative is about attitude
and action, believing you can make something happen.

Make Challenge Meaningful

Admired historical leaders are all people with strong beliefs about matters of principle
who led during times of turbulence, conflict, innovation, and change. Mountain climber
Arlene Blum says, “As long as you believe what you’re doing is meaningful, you can cut
through fear and exhaustion and take the next step.” Leadership is not about challenge
for challenge’s sake, it’s about challenge with meaning and passion.

True leaders tap into people’s hearts and minds. Research studies show that for people to
do their best, they must be internally motivated—their work must be intrinsically
engaging. Convincing evidence shows that reliance only on extrinsic motivators can
lower performance and create a culture of divisiveness and selfishness, limiting an
organization’s ability to excel and make full use of its human resources.

Innovate And Create

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Research shows that leadership is inextricably connected to the process of innovation,
which means change. Leaders must be innovators to improve the organization and keep
it competitive.

Routines can be the enemies of change, stifling the adventure that leaders seek to create.
They get us into ruts, dull the senses, stifle creativity, constrict thinking, remove us from
stimulation, and destroy our ability to compete.

Yet some routines are essential to an efficient operation—constant changes in direction
and in the way things are done are confusing and costly. The essential routines should be
preserved, and the others rooted out. Leaders must be able to detect when routines are
smothering creative planning and blocking necessary advancement.

Look Outward For Fresh Ideas

Today’s innovations can come from anywhere, and leaders must actively look and listen
to what’s going on around them for signs that there’s something new on the horizon. Yet
leaders may cut themselves off from critical information sources as they try to build an
efficient organization. For them to detect demands for change, they must use their
outsight—be sensitive to external realities, go out and talk to constituents, listen, and stay
in touch.

It’s by keeping the doors open to the passage of ideas and innovation that we become
knowledgeable about what goes on around us. Leaders need to keep their eyes and ears
open for new ideas, expose themselves to broader views, and be willing to hear, consider,
and accept ideas from outside the organization.

Chapter 8. Experiment And Take Risks

Today’s work climate for success demands a willingness to take risks and experiment
with innovative ideas. Leaders must encourage others to step into the unknown instead
of playing it safe. The three essentials of experimenting and taking risks are initiating
incremental steps and small wins, learning from mistakes, and promoting psychological

Initiate Incremental Steps And Small Wins

To get people to want to change their existing behaviors and attempt extraordinary
performance, leaders break down big problems into small, doable steps and get people to
say “yes” again and again. Small wins help leaders build constituents’ commitment to a
course of action by starting with actions that are within their control, tangible, and

Small wins build people’s confidence and reinforce their desire to feel successful. They
provide a stable foundation that preserves gains and makes it harder to return to the way
things were. They make people want to do more.

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Leaders make sure that people can act and respond quickly. They encourage the
continual experimentation that helps people learn and come up with new ideas; break
things down into short, doable tasks and incremental changes; and act with a sense of

Learn From Mistakes

Leaders report that mistakes and failures are crucial to their success because mistakes are
learning experiences. People learn by doing things they’ve never done before, and no one
ever does anything perfectly the first time.

People learn in different ways: by taking action, trial and error; reading and thinking;
feeling; and accessing others.

Promote Psychological Hardiness

The inevitable failures and of innovation can cause stress, but stress can energize people,
even generate enthusiasm and enjoyment. The key is how people respond.

Leaders who handle stress positively are psychologically hardy. They have a strong
sense of control, of being able to influence what is going on; a strong commitment,
believing they can find something worthwhile in the situation; and a strong belief in the
power of challenge. People with a hardy attitude take change, risk turmoil, and the strains
of life in stride. They are able to transform stressful events into manageable or desirable

Leaders can help constituents cope with stressful situations by building a sense of control,
by choosing challenging tasks within a person’s skill level; building commitment by
offering rewards; and building an attitude of challenge by encouraging others to see
change as opportunity


Chapter 9. Foster Collaboration

In the authors’ research, they have never encountered a single example of extraordinary
achievement that occurred without the active involvement and support of many people.
Collaboration is essential for getting extraordinary things done in organizations. To foster
collaboration, leaders must create a climate of trust, facilitate positive interdependence,
and support face-to-face interactions.

Create A Climate Of Trust

Trust is the central issue in human relationships, and it is essential for getting
extraordinary things done. Leaders who do not trust others end up doing all the work

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themselves or supervising so closely they become overcontrolling; the result is that
people do not trust them.

Studies show that the more trusted we feel, the better we innovate. Trust is the most
significant predictor of individuals’ satisfaction with their organizations. Trusting leaders
nurture openness, involvement, personal satisfaction, and commitment to excellence.

Because they trust, exemplary leaders consider alternative viewpoints, make use of
others’ expertise and influence, and let others influence group decisions. And trust
begets trust. Managers who create distrustful environments are directive and hold tight to
the reins of power, so their employees are likely to withhold and distort information.

Leaders must demonstrate their trust in others before asking for trust from others. That
means taking the risk of disclosing what they stand for, value, want, hope for, and are
willing and unwilling to do.

Listening to what others have to say and appreciating their points of view demonstrates
respect for them and their ideas. And people listen more attentively to those who listen to

Facilitate Positive Interdependence

A situation that is structured to support the victory of only one person is the path to
organizational suicide. Successful leaders and team members subordinate their own
goals to the service of a greater good. They rely on one another and know that they need
the others to be successful. Leaders need to create a positive context and structure to
create conditions in which people know they can count on each other.

No one can do it alone. For a positive experience together, people must have shared
goals. A focus on a collective purpose binds people together into cooperative efforts.
Each person’s job should make a contribution—tasks must be designed so that each
person contributes something unique to the outcome.

To develop cooperative relationships, leaders must establish norms of reciprocity within
teams and among partners, so that people at all levels treat one another with fairness and
respect. People who reciprocate are more likely to be successful than those who try to
maximize individual advantage, so leaders must make sure that all parties understand
each other’s interests and how each can gain from collaboration.

People who grow up in a culture that rewards individual or competitive achievement have
the perception that they’ll do better if people are rewarded solely on their individual
efforts. But cooperation pays bigger bonuses because people are more likely to cooperate
if their joint efforts are rewarded.

Support Face-To-Face Interactions

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Leaders need to provide opportunities for people to interact because positive face-to-face
interaction has a powerful influence on whether goals are achieved. Frequent, ongoing
interaction makes the consequences of today’s actions on future dealings more
pronounced, promotes people’s positive feelings for one another, and is more likely to
produce collaboration.

Even though many relationships won’t last because of the changing environment, every
significant relationship should be treated as if it will last a lifetime and will be important
to each party’s future success. Human networks make things happen, and the best leaders
are in the middle of them. Every leader needs to invest time and effort in building and
nurturing a web of relationships.

Making something happen isn’t only a function of what we know, but of who we are and
who we know. The currency of the Internet Age is social capital—the collective value of
the people we know and what we’ll do for one another. Leaders must connect both
themselves and their associates to the sources of information, resources, and influence
they need to get extraordinary things done. But to build and sustain social connections,
you have to be able to trust others and others have to trust you.

People must understand and be committed to their common goals and be willing to share
resources to achieve success. They realize they can achieve cooperative goals when
organizational norms encourage them to share information, listen to each other’s ideas,
exchange resources, and respond to each other’s requests. By consulting with others and
getting them to share information, leaders make certain that people feel involved in
decisions that affect them.

Leaders must have emotional intelligence—self awareness, self-management, social
awareness, and social skill. How well leaders can build their own and their constituents’
abilities to recognize and manage their emotions and build their collective abilities to
work together has a direct impact on personal and organizational success.

Chapter 10. Strengthen Others

Leaders need to instill confidence in their constituents and help them recognize their own
abilities. Mutual respect and accountability are key components of a group’s success.

Generate Power All Around

Feeling powerful comes from a deep sense of being in control of life. Exemplary leaders
make others feel strong and capable by listening to their ideas and acting on them,
involving them in important decisions, and giving them credit for their contributions.
Gallup surveys show that positive business outcomes are directly linked to the extent to
which people feel powerful and engaged in their work.

There are four leadership essentials involved in strengthening others: ensure self-
leadership, provide choice, develop competence and confidence, and foster accountability

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The Leadership Challenge Instructor’s Guide

Ensure Self Leadership

Leaders accept the paradox of power: we become most powerful when we give our power
away. Shared power results in higher job fulfillment and performance throughout an
organization. Leaders who share power demonstrate profound trust in and respect for
others’ abilities, and those people become more committed to carrying out their
responsibilities: they own their jobs.

What is called empowering is really just liberating people to use the power and skills they
already have, expanding their opportunities to use themselves in service of a common and
meaningful purpose.

Provide Choice

Leaders build commitment by giving employees latitude, or autonomy. People can only
lead and make a difference if they have choice. If they can act only in prescribed ways,
they have to ask the boss what to do when someone behaves in a way that’s not in the

For higher levels of performance and greater initiative, leaders need to design jobs so that
people can take nonroutine action, exercise independent judgment, and make decisions
on their own. But choice alone is not enough. People also need the knowledge, skills,
information, and resources to do the job expertly; otherwise, they will feel disabled.

Develop Competence And Confidence

Strengthening others requires investing in training and development that increase
people’s competencies and foster their confidence. Those investments produce profits.

Leaders must share information and resources with constituents, giving people access to
as much information as possible so they can hone and develop their skills and
competencies. They must also give constituents important opportunities to put their
talents to good use by placing them at the center of solving critical problems and
contributing to key goals, letting them figure out what needs to be done.

Leaders take actions and create conditions that strengthen their constituents’ self-esteem
and sense of effectiveness, building the inner strength they need to take on tough
challenges. People’s belief in their ability to handle the job, no matter how difficult, is
essential to promote and sustain consistent efforts, extend themselves, and persevere.

Leaders develop people’s capabilities and foster self-confidence by coaching, helping
them learn how to use their skills and talents and to learn from experience. In the
coaching relationship, leaders make a lasting difference.

Foster Accountability

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Individual accountability is critical to collaborative effort. Everyone has to do their part
for a group to function effectively. Personal accountability increases when people know
their peers are counting on them. Part of a leader’s job is to set up conditions that enable
every team member to feel a sense of ownership of the whole job.


Chapter 11. Recognize Contributions

People need heart to continue the journey. Recognition can spur people to give their
personal best whenever extraordinary effort is needed. Recognition is about
acknowledging good results and reinforcing positive performance, shaping an
environment in which everyone’s contributions are noticed and appreciated.

Leaders recognize contributions by being constantly engaged in these four essentials:
focusing on clear standards, expecting the best, paying attention, and personalizing

Focus On Clear Standards

The authors use standards to mean shorter-term goals and the longer-term values that
form the basis for goals. For people to give their all, leaders must provide clear standards.
Values set the stage for action, while goals release the energy, helping people experience
“flow,” that ideal state in which we feel pure enjoyment and effortlessness in what we do.

Ideally, people set their own goals; leaders need to make sure constituents know why
what they’re doing is important and what end it’s serving.

People are motivated to increase their productivity when they have a challenging goal
and receive feedback on their progress. Clear goals and detailed feedback help people
become self-correcting, understand their place in the big picture, determine what they
need from others, and see who might benefit from their assistance.

Providing a clear sense of direction along with feedback encourages people to do their
best. Encouragement is positive information that tells us we’re making progress, are on
the right track, and are living up to the standards. It shows that leaders care and
strengthen trust.

Expect The Best

Expectations become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Expectations are powerful because they
are the frame into which people fit reality—they are likely to see what they expect to see
even if it differs from what’s occurring—and people are likely to act in ways that are
consistent with our expectations of them. If we expect them to fail, they probably will; if
we expect them to succeed, they probably will.

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Expectations play an important role in developing people and drawing out their highest
potential. Even though people might be anxious about going out and delivering their
personal best, high expectations make them willing and excited about the challenges they

Mental pictures influence performance. Seeing is believing, and the results can be life-
affirming and life-enhancing. To produce the behavior that leads to success, we must
first see ourselves as successful.

Pay Attention

One way that leaders show they care is to pay attention and notice what people are doing
right. When leaders see themselves as caring, they behave like someone who is genuinely
interested in seeing others succeed; when people are in the presence of a caring leader,
they want to show the best in themselves. A positive focus on behavior and performance,
linked to goals and values, improves morale and increases productivity.

To build trusting relationships and a successful career, leaders need to understand and see
things from other people's perspectives. Listening with the eyes and the heart requires a
deep level of paying attention and understanding, and it can’t be done from a distance.

People are more willing to follow someone they like and trust. To be trusted, we must
trust, be open with others, and be open to others. That means talking about your hopes
and dreams; family and friends; interests and pursuits—telling people the same things
you’d like to know about them. It also means asking for feedback.

Personalize Recognition

Recognition is too often predictable, routine, and impersonal. Personalizing recognition
sends the signal that the leader took the time to notice achievements, seek out the
responsible individual, and personally deliver praise in a timely manner.

Spontaneous, unexpected rewards such as public praise, certificates and plaques, and
small gifts are often more meaningful than formal rewards such as promotions and
bonuses that people expect. There are few more basic needs than to be noticed,
recognized, and appreciated for our efforts, so leaders are always looking for ways to
make people feel like winners. Thoughtfulness means finding the recognition and reward
that is special and unique for a specific individual.

Chapter 12. Celebrate the Values and Victories

As important for the long-term health of organizations as the work we do, celebrations
are significant ways in which we proclaim our respect and gratitude, renew our sense of
community, and remind ourselves of the values and history that bind us together.

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The Leadership Challenge Instructor’s Guide

Leaders who effectively Celebrate the Values and Victories have mastered these
essentials: They create a spirit of community, tell the story, and set the example.

Create a Spirit of Community

Public ceremonies remind us of the values and vision we share. In acknowledging our
common unity, leaders create a sense of community and team spirit, building and
maintaining the social support we need, especially in stressful times.

The best leaders know that every gathering of a group is a chance to renew commitment.
Celebrations, which are ceremonies and rituals, offer opportunities to communicate and
reinforce the actions and behaviors that are important in realizing shared values and

Everything about a celebration should be matched to its purpose. Leaders must make
explicit connections between shared values and actions that exemplify the organization’s
values and link principles to practices in a way that’s memorable, motivating, and
uplifting. For celebrations to work, they must be honest expressions of commitment to
certain key values and the hard work and dedication of people who have lived those

Celebrations provide social support. Relationships in which there is a genuine belief in
and advocacy for the interests of others are critical for maintaining personal and
organizational vitality. A variety of studies demonstrate that social support enhances
productivity, psychological well being, and physical health.

Social interactions remind us that we’re all in this together and need one another.
Celebrations reinforce the fact that it takes a group of people working together with a
common purpose in an atmosphere of trust and collaboration to get extraordinary things

Tell The Story

Storytelling is how we pass along lessons. Because they’re public, they’re tailor-made
for celebrations. Telling great stories is one of the most effective ways leaders can model
the organization’s values and beliefs. Stories put a human face on success. By telling a
story, leaders shine the spotlight on individuals who have lived out the organization’s
values--and provide others with an example they can emulate.

People remember information more quickly and accurately when it’s first presented in the
form of a story. A story also translates more quickly into action. Well-told stories teach,
mobilize, and motivate more effectively than a lecture or presentation.

Set The Example

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The Leadership Challenge Instructor’s Guide

Wherever there is a strong culture built around strong values, there are examples of
leaders who personally live those values. Leaders must set the example, be visible, and
be personally involved.

Recognition and awards work only when they come from a credible source. When
leaders genuinely feel excited and encouraged, other people know it’s for real. It’s the
human connection between leaders and constituents that ensures more commitment and
more support. Saying thank you—and meaning it—is a concrete way to show respect
and enhance personal credibility.

To encourage others to believe in something and behave according to those beliefs,
leaders have to Model the Way.


Chapter 13. Leadership Is Everyone’s Business

The authors repeat the fundamental truth mentioned at the beginning of the book:
Leadership is everyone’s business. Many of the leaders they studied didn’t initiate their
personal-best leadership projects. None of us knows our true strength until we are

There are two persistent myths about leadership: that only a few people have the innate
personality characteristics to become leaders, and that leadership is a position. But
leadership is an observable set of skills and abilities that anyone can learn, given the
motivation, desire, practice, feedback, role models, and coaching.

Leaders make a difference

Almost everyone can name at least one leader who has genuinely influenced them—a
famous figure from history, a contemporary role model, or, more often, someone close to
them who helped them learn. Historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. has said, “The very
concept of leadership implies [that] individuals make a difference to history.”

The authors’ research demonstrates that leaders who use The Five Practices frequently
have a positive influence on others in the organization. They are seen as better leaders.
People working with them feel more satisfied with their actions, and they feel more
committed, excited, energized, influential, and powerful.

Leadership development is self-development

It’s about leading out of what is already in your soul and liberating the leader within you.
Through self-development comes the confidence to lead. Learning to lead is about
discovering what you care about and value, what inspires and challenges you.

                                                                      Chapter Summaries, p. 20
The Leadership Challenge Instructor’s Guide

Leaders must honestly answer difficult questions about themselves and learn as much as
they can about the political, economic, social, moral, and artistic forces that affect their

The authors cite John Gardener’s four moral goals of leadership: releasing human
potential; balancing the needs of the individual and the community; defending the
fundamental values of the community; and instilling in individuals a sense of initiative
and responsibility. Attending to those goals will always direct the leader’s eyes to higher

Developing as a leader begins with leading one’s self through a struggle with conflicting
values. By clarifying the principles that govern their lives and the ends they seek, leaders
give purpose to their daily decisions.

Contrasts And Contradictions

There is no guarantee that The Five Practices work all the time, and with all people.
Leaders make mistakes, and leadership virtues can become vices when they are taken to
extremes. Humility is the only way to resolve the conflicts and contradictions of

Exemplary leaders know that they can’t do it alone; using self-effacing humor and giving
generous credit to others, they are able to get extraordinary things done. They also avoid
allowing their work to consume them; instead, they get involved in the world around
them. The best leaders are the best learners.

The Secret To Success In Life

The best-kept secret of successful leaders is love: staying in love with leading, with the
people who do the work, with what their organizations produce, and with those who
honor the organization by using its work. Leadership is an affair of the heart.

                                                                       Chapter Summaries, p. 21

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