- 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: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (220 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,351 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
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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 the Audible Audio Edition edition.
"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
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. In that book, Bennis talks about crucibles of leadership or experiences, which provide intense stress and learning of leadership that form leadership values.
On the plus side this is good, practical, behavioral and helpful if you're responsible for a group of any kind or size. On the downside, some of the language can be fuzzy and simplistic, and some of the concepts, like "Encourage the Heart" sounds just a tad too New Age for my taste.
There are many first person stories in here to illustrate their points. They are presented with a variety of individuals from different backgrounds and management levels. This is great - it means no matter where the reader is in their career, they can relate directly to at least some of the stories. Sometimes books are tempted to only interview CEOs of gigantic companies, which might be cool for status reasons, but it does little to help the majority of their readers with their actual issues. The Leadership Challenge makes the stories accessible to all.
The key practices laid out in this book are:
* model the way
* inspire a shared vision
* challenge the process
* enable others to act
* encourage the heart
If you sit down with a hefty challenge that leadership has faced in your company, and then compare the progress of the challenge against these five practices, you can see very powerful correlations between what went well and poorly and these practices. There are not just touchy-feely "nice to have" ideas. It is clearly demonstrable that working to build a common purpose with the team, celebrating the small victories as you move along a project, building a climate of trust between managers and employees, and recognizing employees when they do an outstanding job are critical to the short term and long term success of an organization. They can often spell the difference between success and failure on a project.
Well recommended not only for managers and leaders but also for any employee who wants to find more satisfaction in their job. There are many situations where someone who is not "technically" a leader still provides leadership and mentoring activities to his or her coworkers. This book can help anyone succeed and become more enthusiastic about their work and life.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Highly recommend college students and young professionals read this!
SO much practical and engaging information.
Andy Stanley calls this his "Leadership Bible" and I can see why!Read more