- Paperback: 416 pages
- Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 4 edition (August 4, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0787984922
- ISBN-13: 978-0787984922
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 8.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 226 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #150,068 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Guest Reviewer: Marshall Goldsmith
Marshall Goldsmith has been recognized by almost every major business publication as one of America's leading executive educators and coaches. He is the author or co-editor of 22 books, including What Got You Here Won't Get You There--a New York Times bestseller and Wall Street Journal #1 business book.
I consider Leadership Challenge by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner to be the best research-based book ever written in the field of leadership.
What I love about this book is that it is actually written for its readers!
Let's face it--very few readers of business books are CEO's of multi-billion corporations. Yet many business books follow the same over-used formula--interviewing CEOs--talking about what they are doing so well--and suggesting that you do the same thing.
Leadership Challenge is based upon learnings from leaders at all levels--and shows how "regular people" can make a huge, positive difference in their organizations. It is written in a way that can help executives, mid-managers, first-line supervisors, project leaders--and even individual contributors--better understand how they can lead--and be able to immediately apply what they have learned in their work.
My favorite movie is The Wizard of Oz. Three of the movie's main characters are seekers: the scarecrow--who is searching for a brain--or wisdom, the tin man--who is searching for a heart--or compassion, and the lion--who is searching for the nerve--or courage. Leadership Challenge helps its readers, who are also seekers, find all three. It shows how real leaders can demonstrate the wisdom--needed to build a vision and show the way, the courage--needed to the challenge the system and do what is right, and the compassion--needed to care for and inspire others.
Although my Ph.D. is in Organizational Behavior, my undergraduate background is in mathematics. I respect people who gather real facts and don't just "shoot from the hip." Jim and Barry have developed the "Leadership Practices Inventory"--which is possibly the world's most widely-respected tool for 360° leadership feedback. They have thoroughly reviewed input from tens of thousands of respondents and used this data to form sound conclusions about what works--and what doesn’t work--in terms of leadership behavior.
My recent book, What Got You Here Won't Get You There, talks about why it can be so challenging for successful people to make the changes that they need to "go to the next level." Jim and Barry have not fallen into the classic "successful author's trap." Given the tremendous success of the first edition of Leadership Challenge, they could have easily thought, "Why change this? It is a huge winner!" Instead they have put in countless hours to make each new edition of this classic better than the previous editions. They have worked to incorporate both what they have learned, through their ongoing research--and what they have observed, through their observations of the changing world of work--to make this edition the best--and most relevant--for today's readers.
My final comment for you as a reader: don't just learn from this book--do something with what you learn. This is a practical guide that can help you lead in a way that makes your organization a better place. Take advantage of this opportunity to make a positive difference in your own life--and in the lives of the people that you lead. --Marshall Goldsmith
More to Explore
This leadership classic continues to be a bestseller after three editions and 20 years in print. It is the gold standard for research-based leadership, and the premier resource on becoming a leader. This new edition, with streamlined text, more international and business examples, and a graphic redesign, is more readable and accessible to business readers than ever before, and will prove to be the best edition yet.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"The management classic," ("Financial Times," Tuesday 11th September 2007) "After 20 years in print, this key publication has undergone a substantial revision for its fourth edition." ("People Management," Thursday 1st November 2007) "After three editions and 20 years in print, this leadership classic continues to be the premier resource on becoming a leader." ("Securities & Investment Review," November 2007)
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Top customer reviews
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Perhaps a major weakness of this book is its somewhat narrow focus. Although the book offers countless examples of real-world situations in which the "exemplary practices" made a difference, the examples are mostly business situations. The book seems generally confined to leading in business and turning companies around. Those who wish for specific guidance in other areas of leadership may find another book more useful. However, part of what makes The Leadership Challenge a slightly more convincing book is its use of real-world examples.
I would recommend this book to other students in leadership. Although some may prefer a book that has more diversity in its examples, this book does an excellent job in teaching five foundational practices and their benefits. It offers real life examples that help to move the "exemplary practices" from theoretical to practical. This book is very organized and full of good advice. The book flows in a natural order, starting with personal leadership development and expanding into team building and empowerment. This book offers a great guide to help anyone become a better leader.
Leadership is a concept that can be defined in many different ways. It is very clear that there is no absolute way to learn leadership, nor is there one right way to practice leadership. Good leaders are able to use judgment to determine how to best lead depending on the situation. That being said, The Leadership Challenge definitely offers a convincing strategy to becoming a better leader. It has helped people all across the world, and I believe it will continue to inspire and train others as the years go on. For those who could use advice on how to lead better in their lives, this book is a great tool.