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The Leadership Challenge

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  12,043 ratings  ·  433 reviews
The most trusted resource on becoming a leader has been completely updated and revised for a new generation. This new edition includes the latest research and case studies, and offers inspiring new and relevant stories of real people achieving extraordinary results.
Hardcover, Fourth Edition, 351 pages
Published August 1st 2007 by Jossey-Bass (first published October 1987)
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Average rating 4.05  · 
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 ·  12,043 ratings  ·  433 reviews

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Sep 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Aug 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: economics, psychology
Yet another book on leadership that doesn’t really define what leadership is - other than by a series of anecdotes related to people who are presumably successful leaders. The main problem here for me is that it is never clear that the remarkably positive stories being told reflect something other than the story the leaders might want other people to hear or to tell about themselves. As someone who quite likes to read fiction - even if I haven’t for far too long - the one thing such reading has ...more
Loy Machedo
May 07, 2013 rated it really liked it

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
Sep 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having gained insights into the complex interpersonal dynamics and best practices to cultivate great workplaces, I have been fascinated by the set of skills proposed by Kouzes and Posner (2007) on transformational leadership, which comprises the following five aspects:
1. Challenging the Process
2. Inspiring a Shared Vision
3. Enabling Others to Act
4. Modelling the Way
5. Encouraging the Heart
The role of values in organizations is a highly researched topic by Kouzes and Posner (2007), whilst th
Alex Duncan
Jun 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Fun and engaging book on leadership.
Pete H
Feb 24, 2015 rated it did not like it
A cliched and trite trudge. It is somewhat shocking that this book is in its 4th edition, and is mostly composed of common sense platitudes; being required to read this for grad school is some sort of punishment, surely. To be fair, some of the author's points about the dangers of micromanagement and engaging employees on a personal level are well-founded, but perhaps not a lesson that required 350 pages to convey. ...more
Feb 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Really handy and relevant leadership book, but I disagree with the comment that this is a good read for everyone, regardless of where they are in their career. The content is solid, it brings in excellent and evidence-based points, but these are all things that the experienced leader will already be familiar with. I would argue with those reviewers who said that this book doesn't explain the concept of leadership - it does so simply and encouraging heart and sentiment, which reflects its message ...more
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
Austin Vosler
A lot the points made are similar and super long-winded. I feel like I could have learned the same in 30 pages.
Apr 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a good leadership book. I am tempted to give it a five after reading the last chapter, but the bulk of the book is four-star material. The last chapter is absolutely leadership gold? Intrigued? Pick it up and read it!
Lindsay Bowley
A lot of practical application based on research - much different than a John Maxwell type of book
Daniel Zaltsman
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
The book is great in that it covers a lot of real-life examples of leadership exhibited in organizations of all sizes and industries all around the world. The principles in it are also key to success. I probably could have skimmed the whole book and gotten a similar level of output. Glad I learned that for future similar texts.
Martha Souder
Nov 10, 2020 rated it liked it
Assigned reading for a business school class. Thought it was fine, but lots of themes I’ve heard before
Randolph Breschini
A great, great book...very practical advice...I thoroughly enjoyed it...Dr. Pozner was one of my professors at SCU Graduate Business School...I advise this book for all my colleagues, especially my friends in Sri it...noodle on what is revealed...look around...look will know in your hearts who are the leaders! Enjoy!
Jun 22, 2013 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
Nov 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
This framework for understanding leadership is by far the simplest, fully comprehensive approach I have come across.

While most leadership tactics and thought schools have value, even the most valuable is not likely to allow for remembering all 21 or more leadership traits. True, each of these 5 leadership behavior categories is broken down into two other and then six other behavior types in the LPI survey, but the understanding surrounding the 5 core value behaviors remains constant.

The book i
Feb 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 31, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Bruce Flanagan
Mar 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was amazing
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
Tanja Berg
Aug 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business, non-fiction
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. ...more
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. ...more
supplemental read for my first grad course. excellent. loved the examples
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.
David Gross
Required by COL Brown. Not a great start.
Omar Halabieh
Jan 12, 2014 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
Justin Tapp
Oct 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business, leadership
Goodreads' algorithm had this on my "recommended" list for a long time, so I knocked it out. All leadership books overlap or draw from each other; occasionally one, like this one, cites a particular survey. The survey in this book identifies "characteristics of admired leaders" and was done internationally, but the majority of responses were from the US. It was updated in each edition from 1987-2007, without much significant change between the initial survey and the latest. This book reminded me ...more
Steve Brown
Mar 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Please note that my reviews aren't really review, they are more like my cliff notes that I take while reading books.

Really liked this book.

Leadership Challenge requires
Commitment to making a difference

5 Practices of Exemplary Leadership
Model the Way - behavior earns you respect. Clarify values by finding your voice.
Clarify values by finding your voice and affirming shared values
Set the example by aligning actions with shared values
Inspire a Shared Vision -
Roman Kurys
May 12, 2017 rated it liked it
So it was time to invest in myself some more. This was the book I went with this time.

Overall a very solid 3 stars.

Good content, although very basic. Do not expect many revelations, more of a refresher, unless you are new to the craft, in that case might be a mix of revelations and common sense.

What I found very effective for me, was the examples of the concepts the authors talk about. It was not so much high levels stuff as every day situations. It might, at first glance, seem like common sens
George Slade
Jul 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
I really enjoyed this book on leadership practices. It is not and does not claim to be a one size fits all approach to leadership, as one does not exist. This book does a great job of taking you through five proven methods of improving you leadership potential. Although you can never fully engage 100% of the people with any group of techniques, the practices taught in this book will improve your overall quality of leadership no matter the circumstances.

If you want all of the answers, then no boo
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How can a leader model the way if the way is not accepted in a certain culture? 1 6 Aug 01, 2016 08:20AM  
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  As dedicated readers already know, some of the best and most innovative stories on the shelves come from the constantly evolving realm of...
48 likes · 13 comments
“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.” 8 likes
“Recognition is the most powerful currency you have, and it costs you nothing,” 6 likes
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