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Showing 1-10 of 154 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 226 reviews
on July 25, 2017
I just finished this book and wanted to pass on my opinion while the iron is hot and before I go on to another book on leadership. "The Leadership Challenge" is an outline of the practical basics of what has come to be called "leadership". While I think the authors did a fine job of imparting the messages for which the book was intended, they did not (like all the other how-to books on leadership) get their arms around understanding just exactly what leadership actually is. The terms "leader" and "leadership" have come to be slippery and lightly used in our society. But, in all honesty, I think that dealing with understanding leadership is slightly beyond the purposes for which this book was intended, and, for its intended purposes, I highly recommend this book.
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on December 31, 2011
This book is excellent at providing an organized approach to learning strong leadership techniques and putting them in practice. The "five practices of exemplary leadership" are detailed and very useful. By starting with an easy task, "model the way", it first teaches to stand by values and lead through setting an example. As the book progresses, the practices focus more on moving away from individual leadership and branching out into the team, eventually inspiring other individuals to work on their own. This book's leadership model is very useful and creates sustained leadership. It makes sure that the practices of good leadership will continue even when the original leader is not around.

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.
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on July 16, 2014
I really wish this book focused more on the development of the person as a leader rather than expecting that the person is already in a leadership role and is now working on those things. I really need a book that works on the growth and development of the person as a leader so they are ready to walk into that leadership role rather than speaking of so many things that they would really only get if they were already in that role. The evaluation is a classic example. Really needs to be geared toward getting someone ready for leadership and helping them to evaluate themselves as a person and as a prospective leader so they know what to work on as they move forward with those goals and dreams in mind of being a leader.
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on September 25, 2010
Without a doubt, this is the best leadership book on the market! I have read more than 200 "leadership" books in the past ten years and this is by far the best. It takes real world situations and boils them down into the five areas that the authors state are the basics of leadership. It is not about the GE's of the world but everyday leaders, people you never hear about and how their personal "bests" have proven invaluable as leaders. I read this book annually just to be reenergized and focused as a leader. No leader should be without this book!
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I've read a large number of books on leadership and management over the years. The Kouzes and Posner "The Leadership Challenge" does a good job of providing an easy to read overview which helps leaders in all levels of an organization learn and grow. It's important to note that this is not meant to be a "solutions for specific situations" handbook. Rather, it provides that core level of understanding to give you a foundation, so that as you progress and pick up other "how to" books you have that base support beneath you to keep you grounded in a healthy, productive direction.

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.
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on May 7, 2013
If all leadership books were to be removed from the planet and we could keep just one, THIS would be THE ONE! What Kouzes and Posner have done in this one volume continues to cover the breadth and depth of what so many "new" leadership books come out saying. Save yourself the time and trouble of reading dozens of books, and put serious effort into reading and studying this book -- It will pay off!!

The most memorable moment of this book for me was when my husband and I were at the beach and I handed him the book and said, "Read just these next 5 pages." He finished with an astonished look on his face, saying, "That sums up the entirety of this other leadership book that I just had to read (for a leadership class)." I giggled, "Yes, I know. I knew it would.... That's why I had you read it!"
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on August 29, 2017
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on December 30, 2012
The idea of reading a book to simply the plausibility of understanding the application and role of leadership can be distracting.The reason I come to this conclusion is because I was recently presented with the question, "Are leaders born?" The information found in Kouzes and Posner explains that leaders are born because this is true for everyone. The information presented in the Leadership Challenge, 4th Edition, offers everyone who are seeking a leadership a clear path to leadership that is not distracting. The example the book are from real world experiences and are very well explained and articulated. I would recommend this book to everyone who has decided to embark upon leadership challenge they are destined for in their lives.
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on May 30, 2011
Bernard Carabello is a survivor from Willowbrook. I have the privilege of knowing him and working with him serving the same population of developmentally disabled individuals. The other day, I decided to Google him. His name yielded many articles, as well as images of him with President Clinton and other global personalities. I saw him the next day to tell him how impressed I was and how appreciative I was of the leadership he has shown throughout his life. He innocently (and, to me, profoundly) responded, "Can I Google you?"

Anyone who feels confounded and paralyzed in their career needs to read, "The Leadership Challenge." Why? Because this is as much a book about leaders as followers... as much about elected representatives as it is about constituents... as much about bosses as it is about employees.

"The Leadership Challenge" is not meant to be a passive read, so forgive my personal application: that is the point.

First, the "born leader" is a myth. Sure, genes may favor good looks and a gregarious personality; chance of birth may favor riches. But there are too many exceptions to paint with that broad a brush. (Besides, everyone is born.) The fact is that leadership is a skill set. And, regardless of your position, it is a skill set worth learning.

The authors remind us that "there is no substitute for who and what you are," meaning that our leadership skills are as unique as our leadership opportunities. Nor is it about mimicry or rote recall.

Like many, I have had significant course corrections in my life. When someone observes a tangible accomplishment from my past, I am told, "you missed your calling." No, I am here. Use me now.

"The Leadership Challenge" reminds me that to go forward, it is not necessary to reconstruct my past in order to prove my worth. I do not need to hold fast to the petty self-interests that can creep in to any present position. Rather, give back to reconstruct. Serve the personal values that I have stated for decades:
"Live in Peace.
Work for Justice.
Encourage Generosity.
Respect Others.
Respect Yourself."

Leadership starts when you believe in yourself and in others. Volumes have been written about the philosophies and theologies of self-discovery. Your beliefs frame your reality.

In reality, credibility is built by relationships and what you do. Those closest to you have the most influence on you and you have the most influence on those closest to you. The influence shared in relationships is as much based on a skill set as any club membership, company, organization, or even family. This means that your leadership can start anywhere; indeed, it already exists in whatever relationships you have, vocationally and at home.

Relationships are not static; they are facilitated around goals. This means being present and active in the lives of the people you touch. Why? Goals are envisioned and reached by empowered individuals. Individuals are empowered most by trust.

Trust is earned through risk-taking experience. Risk-taking, however, is counter-intuitive (if not averse) to a government entity whose very existence is based on mitigation of risk by accountability and efficiency. Experience has too often been measured by election cycles. Herein is our present challenge for leadership.

Accountability and efficiency are today not buzzwords, but mandates. Yet, these mandates must coexist with the agency mission, to "help people with developmental disabilities live richer lives." It is a dynamic tension that poses a significant leadership challenge for elected representatives and the public workforce. This leadership challenge is one that must be met. Historical experience would imply that, without it, taxpayers and civil service unions will remain in conflict and Willowbrook may be a nightmare poised to recur.

There is no doubt that leadership transforms. Elected representatives and the public workforce belong to something very special: government by the People. Everyone wants to be a part of something that raises them to higher levels of motivation and morality. It is consistent to assert that we "Put People First" by having the back of our public workforce. Likewise, accountability and efficiency is a conscientious goal of everyone who wants people with developmental disabilities to live richer lives.

In "The Leadership Challenge," Kouzes & Posner present a well researched, honed classic (this is the 4th edition) that belongs on the shelf of anyone who aspires to make a difference. Get it. And get started.
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on October 16, 2016
Absolutely love this book!
SO much practical and engaging information.
Andy Stanley calls this his "Leadership Bible" and I can see why!
If you are a leader, corporate, spiritual, or otherwise, give this book your attention because the results will be spectacular!
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