My Next Reading Assignment!

I am working with a management consulting firm who is planning to present at our local PMI Chapter meeting. In doing so I came across a book that she was reading and she had posted a synopsis of a key area of the book. The synopsis then led me to the website of the two authors of the book where I found a video of one of the authors speaking on the subject of Leadership and The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership.  It was a great interview of him speaking about the five practices listed below.

This is my next reading assignment. The book is on order!

The book’s title is “The Leadership Challenge” . It is authored by James M. Kousez and Barry Z. Posner. It is now in its fourth edition.

I have included the synopsis from the book of what the best leaders share in the process of leadership. If you have read it I would love to hear your comments and thoughts on it.

The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership

Exemplary Leaders Model the Way
  • Leadership is not about personality; it’s about behavior.
  • Titles are granted, but it’s your behavior that wins respect.
  • Leaders must forge agreement around common principles and common ideas.
  • Leaders’ deeds are far more important than their words when one wants to determine how serious leaders are about what they say.
  • There is power in spending time with someone, of working side by side with colleagues, of telling stories that made values come alive, of being highly visible during times of uncertainty, and of asking questions to get people to think about values and priorities.
  • People follow first the person, then the plan.

Exemplary Leaders Inspire a Shared Vision

  • Leaders envision exciting and ennobling possibilities.
  • A person with no constituents is not a leader, and people will not follow until they accept a vision as their own.
  • Leaders cannot command commitment, only inspire it.
  • People must believe that leaders understand their needs and have their interests at heart.
Exemplary Leaders Challenge the Process
  • Leaders venture out. None of the individuals studied sat idly by waiting for fate to smile upon them.
  • When it comes to innovation, the leader’s major contributions are in the creation of a climate for experimentation, the recognition of good ideas, the support of those ideas, and the willingness to challenge the system to get new products, services, and systems adopted.
  • Leaders must pay attention to the capacity of their constituents to take control of challenging situations and become fully committed to change. You can’t exhort people to take risks if they don’t also feel safe. “Try, fail, learn.” is the leader’s mantra.
Exemplary Leaders Enable Others to Act
  • Leaders make it possible for others to do good work.
  • They know that those who are expected to produce the results must feel a sense of personal power and ownership.
  • Leaders understand that the command-and-control techniques of traditional management no longer apply.
  • Instead, leaders work to make people feel strong, capable, and committed.
  • Leaders enable others to act not by hoarding the power they have but by giving it away.
  • Exemplary leaders strengthen everyone’s capacity to deliver on the promises they make.
Exemplary Leaders Encourage the Heart
  • Genuine acts of caring uplift the spirits and draw people forward.
  • Leaders want to provide a climate in which people feel cared about and genuinely appreciated by their leaders.
  • It’s part of the leader’s job to show appreciation for people’s contributions and to create a culture of celebrating values and victories.
  • Leaders make sure people see the benefit of behavior that’s aligned with cherished values.
  • Leaders also know that celebrations and rituals, when done with authenticity and from the heart, build a strong sense of collective identity and community spirit that can carry a group through extraordinarily tough times.

Al Senzamici, PMP
Program Manager
ImageSource, Inc.

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