Credibility is the Foundation of Leadership

Kouzes, Jim

Jim Kouzes is a bestselling author, an award-winning speaker and, according to the Wall Street Journal, one of the twelve best executive educators in the United States.

Jim is co-author along with Barry Posner, of The Leadership Challenge. Kouzes and Posner have been working together for more than thirty years, studying leaders, researching leadership, conducting leadership development seminars, and serving as leaders themselves in various capacities. Since it’s first edition in 1987, The Leadership Challenge has sold more than two million copies worldwide and is available in more than twenty-two languages. It has won numerous awards, including the Critic’s Choice Award from the nation’s book review editors and the James A. Hamilton Hospital Administrators’ Book of the Year Award, and was selected as one of the top ten books on leadership in Covert and Sattersten’s The 100 Best Business Books of All Time.

Currently, Jim is Dean’s Executive Fellow of Leadership, Leavey School of Business, at Santa Clara University, and also lectures on leadership around the world to corporations, governments, and nonprofits.

In 2010, Jim received the Thought Leadership Award from the Instructional Systems Association, the most prestigious award given by the trade association of training and development industry providers.

As we were talking today, we discussed what Jim has found in his research; people who become leaders don’t always seek the challenges they face, challenges also seek leaders.

As he looked deeper into the dynamic process of leadership, through case analyses and survey questionnaires, he and Posner uncovered five practices common to personal-best leadership experiences. When getting extraordinary things done in organizations, leaders engage in these Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership:

  1. Model the Way
  2. Inspire a Shared Vision
  3. Challenge the Process
  4. Enable Others to Act
  5. Encourage the Heart

What are the Top 4 Characteristics of Leaders?

  1. Honesty
  2. Competence & Expertise
  3. Inspiring and Dynamic
  4. Forward Looking: positive about the future with a clear vision

Jim talked about encouraging the heart of your people and the best ways to do that are to recognize individuals for their contributions to the values, the victories and to the success of the organization; to celebrate community–we are all in this together, and realizing that encouraging the heart is most effective when we personalize the recognition.

You have to realize that some people are motivated by tangible things, some are motivated by intangible things. Some people like to be publicly thanked and other people prefer a private conversation. In order to personalize recognition, it requires us to:

  • Pay attention.
  • Listen attentively.
  • Strive to understand others and their needs.

Did you know that people are more likely to follow leaders who are more positive than negative? Research shows they are more likely to be fully engaged at work when the positive to negative ratio is at least 3:1, if not 5:1. That means we really have to pay attention to how we are relating to others.

The most influential leaders in organizations are those who are the immediate manager of an individual. If I’m a middle manager, the most important influences in the organization to my direct reports on a day-to-day basis is me. Not the CEO, not my boss, not the Chairman of the Board, but me.

Leaders have to be the first to trust. Join us as we talk with Jim Kouzes about The Leadership Challenge and the foundation of leadership. You can listen to the complete recording, without commercials, above.

Join us next week for the next installment of our eiLive Blog, to learn even more about Emotional Intelligence.




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