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The Leadership Challenge

4.03  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,451 Ratings  ·  271 Reviews
Kouzes and Posner explore the evolving essence of quality leadership in public and private organizations. They demonstrate how visionary leaders accomplish extraordinary things, and they address current challenges such as the new cynicism and the shift to team-oriented work relationships.
Paperback, Fourth Edition, 389 pages
Published August 1st 2008 by Jossey-Bass (first published October 1987)
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Sep 18, 2013 Carol rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had to read this for work, which must qualify as some kind of cruel and unusual punishment. Anyway:

The Leadership Challenge – A review in clichés and idioms.

The Leadership Challenge describes itself as an evidence-based primer on the near-universal qualities of excellent leaders. Its authors state that they have conducted years of research on leadership, and have distilled the data into what they have identified as the five practices of successful leaders.

Each of the five practices is then se
Loy Machedo
May 07, 2013 Loy Machedo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Great Content, Numerous Personalities being Quoted, Very Apt Anecdotes, Easy to Understand Principles and Universal Application is how I would describe what the book ‘The Leadership Challenge’ is all about.

What is this book about?

What Leaders do and What Constituents Expect
1. The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership:
1) Model the way
2) Inspire a shared vision
3) Challenge the process
4) Enable others to act
5) Encourage the heart

2. Credibility Is The Foundation of Leadership:
For people to
Alex Duncan
Jul 05, 2013 Alex Duncan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fun and engaging book on leadership.
I received more from this book then I could have hoped for. Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner wrote the original version of this book in 1987 but that shouldn't scare you because they are on their 5th edition of this book in which they add new case studies, more interviews with other leaders, and other updates.
Every time I read a book like this I check the credibility of the authors and if you do your own research you'd know that these two are more then credible to write a book on leadership. Wheneve
Mar 01, 2009 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leadership
When I posted the review on Warren Bennis' "On Leadership", I mentioned that books I had started since I had started Bennis' text had caused me to re-think whether or not I found Bennis' text informative. "The Leadership Challenge" was the book that spurred the re-thinking.

Pretty good insight as to how to become a better leader. Lots of good stories and examples. Many of the tricks they offer are easy to implement - being a better leader is as simple as choosing to be a better leader. This book
Jun 22, 2013 Seth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great ideas and insights from within the book:
Clarify values
Good exercise – write a tribute to yourself:
1. What do you stand for?
2. What do you believe in?
3. What are you discontent about?
4. What brings you suffering?
5. What makes you weep and wail?
6. What makes you jump for joy?
7. What are you passionate about?
8. What keeps you awake at night?
9. What’s grabbed hold and won’t let go?
10. What do you want for your life?
11. What is it you really care about?

Write your credo. “This I believe.”

Share t
Feb 12, 2012 Tina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had to read this as part of a group project (for a class in the nonprofit management certificate program).

While I think this book provides some great ideas and insight for leaders, I think it could be shorter. It's a little repetitive and redundant at times. I don't think it provided me with much information that I hadn't heard before--though some of the examples were nice illustrations.

Honestly, I've just read half of it--and will only read one more chapter (the chapter I'm responsible for pr
Tanja Berg
Aug 17, 2014 Tanja Berg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, business
I had a three-day course once, called "the leadership challenge". I thought the book would be similar - that the course was based on the book - and in some sense it was. This book gave me a lot to reflect upon. It also gave me support in affirming that some of the ideas I have been nurturing during summer holiday are worthy of implementation. I've mulled over the content and taken notes. Whether this book deserves a five star rating is something I expect I'll find out eventually.
Bruce Flanagan
Mar 05, 2011 Bruce Flanagan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 upo
Dec 25, 2012 Tom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kouzes, James, and Barry Posner (1987, 1995, 2002, 2007, 2012), The Leadership Challenge, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA. A very readable, well-researched, and practical book about leadership, now in its fourth edition. It includes interesting insights about what followers expect of their leaders, and rich descriptions of how to accomplish the five leadership challenges in contemporary organizations: challenging the process, inspiring a shared vision, enabling others to act, modeling the way, an ...more
Katharine Herndon
It was better than I thought. I don't normally read this type of thing, but it was required reading for a class I'm taking. I was wary because I particularly dislike rah-rah touchy feely self-help books, but it was well-balanced and well-researched. The concepts were clearly presented, and I like that they have what-you're going to read, the chapter, then a summary. That's particularly helpful if you want to review without rereading too much.

That said, there were some fairly repetitive concepts
Reagan Ramsey
This was pretty long and had way too many examples, but I found some of the principles really helpful.
Here are some I liked:
--Set the example. If you have deemed something important to the organization, then make sure that is reflected on your calendar and commitments. Don't say, "we want everyone to take their days off and spend time with their families" when you work until 10pm every night.

--Exercise "outsight". Meaning, often the best ideas come from outside your organization. Ask clients, p
Ryan Johnson
I'll start by saying that the insights of the book are worthwhile for any person of influence. The five practices of exemplary leadership form a solid foundation for anyone who desires to be a good leader. They are simple and the book demonstrates throughout that one can implement these practices in day to day routines. You do not have to be in a crisis situation to enact these things and be an exemplary leader.

My main critique of this book is in the writing style. There are points where the au
Matt Anderson
This book was originally released in 1982, and I read the 25th Anniversary version – the Fifth Edition. The opening of the book has “The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership,” and I could see myself going back to this list in the future. I’m not currently in a leadership position at work, but I want to start implementing the things I learned in this book where I’m at as a preparation for the future.

A consultant I was working with at work recommended this book to me, and shortly after that con
Chapters 1 & 2
Several ideas in these chapters resonated with me and if I were to focus on two it would be to challenge the process and enable others to act. Without challenging the process I think that we would rarely move forward. The expression, (he/she) "doesn't know how to take no for an answer" when it comes to problem solving means that possible solutions will be stifled. Inventions and innovations are results of challenging procedures or ways of thinking, going outside the lines. Thos
Alaeddin Hallak
Absolutely the most comprehensive leadership book I've ever read. Packed with insightful practical tips for becoming a better leader, this is a must-have for anyone who finds himself in a leadership role or anticipates doing so. Will be re-reading this time and again.
Omar Halabieh
Jan 26, 2014 Omar Halabieh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Below are key excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful:

1- "Whether in their early twenties, late seventies, or anywhere between, leaders told us that the fundamentals of leadership are the same today as they were in the 1980s, and they've probably have been the same for centuries. Yet the leaders were quick to add that while the content of leadership has not changed, the context—and, in some cases, it has changed dramatically. What is this new context, and what are the implica
Blake Kanewischer
This book was too academic to be really engrossing. As an academic treatise on leadership, it was fine. As a practical manual on leadership, it was lacking in specifics.
Apr 23, 2016 JP rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, business
This book has reached classic status, and I can see why. It explains a simple framework of five essential components for motivating and inspiring others. The five make sense and are simple enough to quickly memorize. Within these there are ten sub-components and then a further breakdown of key principles. The examples, while meaningful and instructive, get dry for me. In fairness, it may be that, having already been through a class and the accompanying workbook, I'm already at a different learni ...more
Jan 08, 2015 Kylie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a helpful book in some ways and does present some solid research. It reads like a self-help book, which I found annoying. The writing is very repetitive as well. I felt as though I had read the same thing twenty times by the end of a chapter.

I actually wrote a five page analysis of this text. Perhaps at some point, I will share the more important snippets here. For now, let's just say that it was dry, dull, and redundant. It is worth browsing through for the content, but reading the lis
supplemental read for my first grad course. excellent. loved the examples
Zhi Han
Jul 08, 2014 Zhi Han rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Kouzes and Posner have provided excellent leadership trainings. But in terms of writing, they are not particularly good at writing books. This book is more like a compilation of the materials discussed in many training sessions, without well thought organization. The points are contributed by the various participants in the training. And the authors simply put them in writing. It is no surprise that the book is extremely long and tries to cover every bit of challenges in a leader's life. I would ...more
Rachel Reynolds
I read this book as part of my Emerging Nonprofit Leaders Program. It's difficult to argue with the premise, mainly that leaders embody a consistent set of principles and practices that make them effective in motivating employees and making teams successful. I agreed with almost everything they presented and the authors definitely have a solid research base to pull from. I pulled a handful of salient ideas from the book that I will try to incorporate into my work as well. My only problem is the ...more
John Henry
Nov 19, 2015 John Henry rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-library
Kouzes and Posner’s Leadership Challenge outlines how the five practices of leadership, refined and expanded through the ten behaviors of leadership will produce in leaders a continual life of learning and loving people through their leadership relationships. Leadership, at its core is relationship. The foundation of leadership is credibility. This book offers extremely helpful principles and tools for developing the leadership gift, making leadership a relationship, aligning personal values wit ...more
Jim Razinha
I'm not a fan of alludes and Posner...most of what I've read of theirs is several times longer than necessary - as if they felt a need to justify their position by adding in more anecdotes than normal. This was required reading for a year long management round table and while it does have value, I found less value than most probably would. Much of what they try to convey is intuitively obvious to me, and a I see pretty much daily that heir theories are not intuitively obvious to others, so I ack ...more
Jeff Scofield
Jun 23, 2015 Jeff Scofield rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unlike my last read, "Start With Why", where Sinek used historical figures and icons of big business to convey his message of leadership, James Kouzes & Barry Posner take a more relatable approach. Littered with names of leaders that nobody will recognize and operations that aren't on many people's radar, "The Leadership Challenge" showcases a plethora of examples where every day people like you or I go above and beyond to break barriers of whatever system they are in. And then we get a very ...more
Eric Nelson
Mar 14, 2015 Eric Nelson rated it liked it
Shelves: read-but-unowned
The best part of this detailed look at leadership in the workplace is its focus on respect of individuals and acknowledgement of the power of teams. Viewing leaders as ones who enable others to act not by hoarding the power they have but by giving it away, is critical to the books thrust, resulting in advice on how to reward individuals and teams and not only encouraging but actually empowering people to become heroes. The authors even conclude that love should be a guiding principle (though thi ...more
Mar 29, 2008 Janet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: leadership
This is a great common sense book although difficult practice book about the best leadership practices that all managers/leaders/parents/ etc. could benefit from practicing. The payoff is life long relationships and long term business and life results.

As with all personal change processes to become a better leader, finding ways to hold one's self accountable, inquire to others about changes they see, etc. should be a part of any personal change process. So, the book is great, adding personal pr
Dec 20, 2013 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian-growth
The Leadership Challenge by Kouzes and Posner, is a book about discussing how leaders can get extraordinary things accomplished. The purpose of the book is to tell about the challenging opportunities and practices that can transform leaders’ visions into successes and how it will help people from all walks of life bring out the leader within them. The content of the book, discusses ‘The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership.’

The five exemplary practices are model the way, inspire a shared visio
Brenda Peick
Recently, I saw a talk by Barry Posner at the College of St. Catherine. The guy was engaging. I was all ready to not like him, but he had me hooked before he even began. I was gazing into space (instead of networking) before his talk, and he came up to me and asked me if I was sleeping. Sarcastic people unite!! or, is it untie? Whatever, I love people with a sense of humor. And, it wasn't like there was only 10 people there, I bet there was 150 or more people at this function. He was working the ...more
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How can a leader model the way if the way is not accepted in a certain culture? 1 1 Aug 01, 2016 08:20AM  
The Leadership Ch...: Wonderful Idea 2 5 Jun 07, 2013 06:38AM  
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“Exemplary leaders know that if they want to gain commitment and achieve the highest standards, they must be models of the behavior they expect of others.” 3 likes
“Leading by example is more effective than leading by command.” 1 likes
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