5 Practices and 10 Commitments for Effective Leadership

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Leadership EffectivenessIn The Leadership Challenge, James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner write about the five practices and ten commitments for effective leadership. Their work has stood the test of time. While the context has changed over the years, the content of leadership hasn’t.

Effective Leadership in Action

The 5 practices and 10 commitments help anybody become a more effective leadership by practicing real leadership skills.

Via The Leadership Challenge:

“The Leadership Challenge is about how leaders mobilize others to want to get extraordinary things done in organizations.

It’s about the practices leaders use to transform values into actions, visions into realities, obstacles into innovations, separateness into solidarity, and risks into rewards.

It’s about leadership that creates the climate in which people turn challenging opportunities into remarkable success.”

The Five Practices of Leadership

Kousez and Posner identify the five practices:

  1. Model the Way
  2. Inspire a Shared Vision
  3. Challenge the Process
  4. Enable Others to Act
  5. Encourage the Heart

The Ten Commitments of Leadership

Kousez and Posner identify the 10 commitments:

  1. Find your voice by clarifying you personal values.
  2. Set the example by aligning actions with shared values.
  3. Envision the future by imagining exciting and ennobling activities.
  4. Enlist others in a common vision by appealing to shared aspirations.
  5. Search for opportunities by seeking innovative ways to change, grow and improve.
  6. Experiment and take risks by constantly generating small wins and learning from mistakes.
  7. Foster collaboration by promoting cooperative goals and building trust.
  8. Strengthen others by sharing power and discretion.
  9. Recognize contributions by showing appreciation for individual excellence.
  10. Celebrate the values and victories by creating a spirit of community.

Practices and Commitments

Here are the commitments mapped to the practices:

Model the Way 1. Find your voice by clarifying you personal values.
2. Set the example by aligning actions with shared values.
Inspire a Shared Vision 3. Envision the future by imagining exciting and ennobling activities.
4. Enlist others in a common vision by appealing to shared aspirations.
Challenge the Process 5. Search for opportunities by seeking innovative ways to change, grow and improve.
6. Experiment and take risks by constantly generating small wins and learning from mistakes.
Enable Others to Act
7. Foster collaboration by promoting cooperative goals and building trust.
8. Strengthen others by sharing power and discretion.
Encourage the Heart 9. Recognize contributions by showing appreciation for individual excellence.
10. Celebrate the values and victories by creating a spirit of community.

Key Take Aways

Here are my variation of the themes and key take aways:

  • Lead by example. Set an example for others to follow. Practice what you preach. You reap what you sow. What you do comes back to you. Those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Take a stand. Stand for something. Find your unique voice.
  • Create an inclusive picture. In Steven Covey terms, these would be avoiding the “scarcity mentality”. Have an abundance mentality. At work I see turf wars when there’s a scarcity mentality. The solution is to frame out a bigger space where everybody gets to play.
  • Practice continuous improvement. The Japanese term is Kaizen. Focus on small, incremental improvements. Build momentum from small wins. Start with something small. Success snowballs.
  • Lift others up. In Covey terms, this would be help others find their unique voice. Find the good in others. Leverage the unique values that others bring to the table.
  • Live with passion. Link passion with results. Celebrate the small wins. No good deed goes unrewarded. What goes around, comes around. Stop and smell the roses.

Get the Book

You can get The Leadership Challenge on Amazon:

The Leadership Challenge, James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner

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1 COMMENT

  1. […] Kouzes and Barry Posner’s classic book The Leadership Challenge, suggests 10 Commitments and 5 Practices for leadership.  On their website, the authors provide details on the research behind their book […]

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