Jun 20, 2010

The Leadership Challenge

The Book The Leadership Challenge by Kouzes and Posner inspire its readers to think about leadership as the heart of business. The authors invite their readers to take action, as everybody has instances where they can take control and make a difference through leadership. This is a “challenge.” A challenge to everybody out there who believes that leadership is a skill that only a few possess, but to believe that it can be learned and all of us have skills, traits and experiences that can lead others to do extraordinary things. The authors discussed three topics that are among the most inspiring characteristics for leadership. These processes are: Enable Others to Act, Recognize Contributions and Celebrate the Values and Victories. I’ll present my understanding of these three processes by applying it to my current work environment.

The authors discuss the fact leaders providing encouragement and exhortation to lead others to do extraordinary things isn’t enough. There must also be space for creativity and trust in orders to enable followers to act with their own judgment. According to (Kouzes & Posner, 2007, p. 284), “the expectations that successful leaders hold provide the framework into which people fit their own realities.” This balance can be tricky as there is a fine line between providing clear instructions and expectations with getting to the point of micro-managing actions. This can de-motivate a follower and can pose a threat to the company as a whole: the leader is dedicating too much time in dictating steps versus dedicating time to “bigger” things and the follower is not working in his/her best capacity. "The best leaders bring out the best in their constituents. If the potential exists within us, leaders always find a way to bring it out of us" (Kouzes & Posner, 2007, p283).

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