Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, gurus of current leadership practice, simplify it in their book, The Leadership Challenge: How to make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations. (Amazon carries it in its various forms — check out the sidebar.)
For business owners who aren’t avid readers, an entire book may seem like more than they want to bite off. Enter “the app”! There is an app “Quick Wisdom from The Leadership Challenge” available for your iPhone or iPad.
In it, Kouzes & Posner present their 5 practices of “exemplary leadership:”
- Model the Way – The first step is discovering your own values and beliefs.
- Inspire a Shared Vision – Leadership is a dialogue. Communicating the Vision is the most important aspect of this step.
- Challenge the Process – Leaders seek and accept opportunities to test their abilities.
- Enable Others to Act – More than delegating, leaders look for the “win-win” and treat others as they want to be treated.
- Encourage the Heart – Leaders are proud of the accomplishments of their team, and inspire with visible praise.
The app suggests ways you can begin to practice and integrate these into your work life, and allows you to create your own Action Plan for each of these factors. It even syncs with your calendar to help keep you on track as your ever-present accountability partner.
I just heard Jim Kouzes, a fellow Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, on a webinar (he says the best leaders are constant learners). Having been a longtime fan of his work, I’m inspired to share and hopefully introduce a few more people to the helpful resource his books and work can be for business owners at every level of organization life-stage.
Leadership is at the heart of every successful business leader. We need all the help we can get as we continually learn to improve our skills, and I hope you’ll find these tools valuable.