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The Leadership Challenge, 3rd Edition Paperback – August 7, 2003

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Editorial Reviews Review

In the 1980s and again in the '90s, James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner published The Leadership Challenge to address issues they uncovered in research on ordinary people achieving "individual leadership standards of excellence." The keys they identified--model the way, inspire a shared vision, challenge the process, enable others to act, encourage the heart--have now been reexamined in the context of the post-millennium world and updated in a third edition. "What we have discovered, and rediscovered, is that leadership is not the private reserve of a few charismatic men and women," write Kouzes, chairman emeritus of the Tom Peters Company, and Posner, dean of the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University. "People make extraordinary things happen by liberating the leader within everyone." After explaining their concept and methodology, the authors detail the five essentials noted above in a pair of chapters apiece that bring clarity to their theories with case studies and recommended actions. The specificity of each (motivating through "the meaningfulness of the challenge, not the material rewards of success," for example, and being able to "accept the mistakes that result from experimentation") is enhanced by advice on sustaining the commitment and making leadership skills accessible to all. The results remain as relevant as when they were first published. --Howard Rothman --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


This reissued and revised classic' is grounded in extensive research& -- Human Resources, January 2003

&this book is an easy read&well produced and despite the research clear of management jargon&well written& -- AccountingWEB.UK, 7 January 2003

"&will take you along a leadership journey of discovery and inspiration&" --, The Strategic Planning Society, October 2002

"...will take you along a leadership journey of discovery and inspiration..." (, The Strategic Planning Society, October 2002)

"...This reissued and revised 'classic' is grounded in extensive research..." (Human Resources, January 2003)

"...this book is an easy read...well produced and despite the research clear of management jargonwell written..." (AccountingWEB.UK, 7 January 2003) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


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Product Details

  • Series: J-B Leadership Challenge: Kouzes/Posner (Book 53)
  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 3 edition (August 7, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787968331
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787968335
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.3 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #743,594 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Barry Posner is the Accolti Professor of Leadership at the Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University (located in the heart of Silicon Valley), where he served for 12 years as Dean of the School. Barry, along with his co-author Jim Kouzes, received the American Society for Training and Development's highest award for their Distinguished Contribution to Workplace Learning and Performance. Named as one of the nation's top management and leadership educators by the International Management Council and recognized as one of the Top 50 leadership coaches in America, and ranked among the 10 Most Influential HR thinkers in the world by HR magazine.

He is the co-author of the award-winning and best-selling leadership book The Leadership Challenge. Described as a groundbreaking research study, this book combines keen insights with practical applications and captures both why and how leadership is everyone's business. With over 2 million copies in print, this book has been named one of The Top 100 Business Books of All Time, book-of-the-year by the American Council of Health Care Executives, received the Critic's Choice Award from book review editors, and translated into over 20 foreign languages.

The Leadership Practices Inventory has been called "the most reliable, up-to-date leadership instrument available today," and the online version has been completed by over 3 million people around the globe. Barry has also co-authored several other award-winning, inspiring and practical books on leadership: Credibility: How Leaders Gain and Lose It, Why People Demand It; The Truth About Leadership: The No-Fads, Heart-of-the Matter Facts You Need to Know; Encouraging the Heart: A Leaders Guide to Recognizing and Rewarding Others; The Academic Administrator's Guide to Exemplary Leadership; and A Leader's Legacy.

Barry is an internationally renowned scholar who has published more than 85 research and practitioner-oriented articles, in such journals as the: Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Applied Psychology, Human Relations, Personnel Psychology, IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, and the like. He is currently on the editorial review boards of the International Journal of Servant-Leadership and Leadership and Organizational Development. Barry has served on the Board of Directors for both publicly-listed and privately-held companies, and for a number of public and community organizations, such as the American Institute of Architects, San Jose Repertory Theatre, Global Women's Leadership Network, and EMQ FamiliesFirst.

Barry received an undergraduate degree in political science from the University of California, Santa Barbara, a master's degree from the Ohio State University in public administration, and his Ph.D. in organizational behavior and administrative theory from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. At Santa Clara he has received the President's Distinguished Faculty Award, the School's Extraordinary Faculty Award, and several other outstanding teaching and leadership honors. He has been a visiting professor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Sabanci University (Istanbul), and the University of Western Australia.

Described as a warm, engaging and pragmatic conference speaker and dynamic workshop facilitator, Barry has worked with such organizations as: Alcoa, Apple, Applied Materials, Australian Institute of Management, Charles Schwab, Conference Board of Canada, Dow, Hewlett-Packard, IKEA, Kaiser Permanente Health Care, L.L. Bean, Levi Strauss, Merck, NetApp, Northrop Grumman, Trader Joe's, among others, and been involved with leadership development efforts at more than 50 college campuses. He has made presentations and conducted workshops across the U.S., and around the globe, from Canada, Mexico, South America, and Europe to the Far East (China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Indonesia), Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Walter H. Bock on February 26, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book has been around in various editions for almost twenty years now. One reason for that is that it is an excellent overview of leadership in organizations and how you can do it yourself.

The book's structure follows its basic recommendations. The authors recommend five fundamental practices, each of which has two commandments, for a total of ten. In general, these are both straightforward and insightful. "Challenge the Process" talks about searching for opportunities, experimenting, and taking risks. "Modeling the Way" talks about setting the example and planning small wins. There is also material on "Enabling Others to Act."

Then there are a couple of weaker sections. Sections on inspiring and encouraging simply are too fluffy and lack the support that is given to other points.

Even having said that, this is a book that's worth reading if you are responsible for leadership in an organization of any size. The reason is the way the book came together.

The authors used two different kinds of research to develop their recommendations. They looked at over five hundred leaders, but they looked at them in a particular way.

In each case, they had asked the leader to talk about his or her actions as a leader when they were doing excellent work. In other words, they looked for excellent examples of leadership and tried to draw lessons from them.

They also went to the other side and talked to followers about what they wanted in leaders. When they put those two kinds of research together, you get recommendations that are both practical and, for the most part, behavioral.

Warren Bennis' recent book, Geeks and Geezers, is an excellent companion for this book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Alan Spiegelman on October 20, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is an outstanding book and should be required reading for anyone who manages people or who is getting started in their career and will manage in the future. In addition to providing terrific insights into the art and science of leadership, the book serves as an excellent roadmap for those who want to improve their leadership skills and that of their management team. In addition to their extensive research and powerful discussions on what makes great leaders, the book is an absolute delight to read. Kouzes and Posner's command of the language and easy readability, along with their very relevant case studies and analyses, can help all of us improve our leadership skills and develop more effective organizations.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 13, 2003
Format: Paperback
I am the CEO of a Fortune 500 company who read the original version of this book in the late 1980's. As the five criteria for leadership success discussed in this book, namely -- model the way, inspire a shared vision, challenge the process, enable others to act, and encourage the heart -- have stood the test of decades of exploration and execution, the subtleties explored in this new edition are a welcome addition to my library of leadership books. I strongly recommend this book and additionally, wholeheartedly recommend Optimal Thinking: How to Be Your Best Self as a superlative universal resource for leadership and corporate optimization.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Maxim Masiutin on May 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've just re-read this brilliant book and decided keep it close and periodically review it. It is a collection of ready recipes that you might have known about, but not always apply to practice. Each recipe usually contains one or two small case vignettes.

I can call this book "the encyclopedia of leadership" - the items cover almost the entire area leadership, and the items are small enough to review them quickly.

The drawback of this title is that it doesn't seem to cover problems and tough issues of leadership that always arise. To fill this gap, I can recommend the unique framework by Ronald Heifetz described in the books "Leadership Without Easy Answers" and "Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading".

When the authors look to the leader in context of the organization, the view is a little bit mechanistic: "focus on clear standards, set the goals to keep on track, etc". I do not complete share this mechanistic view. Of course, leaders are important, but I agree with Margaret J. Wheatley who says that organizations are living systems. They are like people, intelligent, creative, adaptive, self-organizing and meaning-seeking. The simpler way to organize human endeavor requires a belief that the world is inherently orderly. The world seeks organization. It doesn't need humans to organize it, it doesn't seem to share our desires for efficiency or neatness, it uses redundancy, fuzziness, dense webs of relationships, and unending trails and errors to find what works; life is intent on finding what works, not what's "right"; life creates more possibilities as it engages with opportunities; life is attracted to order. I can recommend the book "Leadership and the New Science" by Margaret J. Wheatley.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By David G. Stokes on May 4, 2004
Format: Hardcover
As other reviewers have commented; there is a ton of information in this book. I will add; tons of fantastic information! This is a book I have been reading sporadically for the past nine months. Why have I taken so long to read it? I will read it for a while, put it aside, read another book, then return to this one. It is profound. The only book on leadership better than this (maybe): Principle Centered Leadership.
The copy I read was the first edition. I've skimmed through this edition and found that the authors have added websites and other informative stuff to keep it up to date.
Each time I've returned to this book I wonder: why did I ever put it down? If you are a manager or an aspiring leader, like me...Read this one. You'll be glad you did. I know for a fact, this book is required reading for certain business majors.
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