Based on 30 years of research and more than one million responses to their leadership assessment they have created a list of the ten tested truths about leadership.
Kouzes and Posner have crafted a book that is a bare bones laundry list of what you need to be a great leader and how to achieve it.
I would recommend this book to everyone.
Workers, supervisors, managers and most importantly executive staff, will quickly realize what everyone wants in their leaders and how to provide true leadership.
The subtitle: "The No-Fads, Heart-Of-The-Matter Facts You Need To Know" tells it all.
What I enjoyed most is that the book is supported by facts. It's not a touchy feely book written by a person talking about what they feel makes a good leader. It uses solid data to come to conclusions.
While the context of leadership has changed a lot, the content has not. So what makes great leadership?
- You believe that you can make a difference
- Credibility is the foundation of leadership
- Your values drive commitment from your team
- You focus on the future (long-view)
- You know that you can't do it alone
- Trust rules - it's the social glue that holds individuals and groups together
- Challenge is the crucible for greatness. Change involves challenge and challenge test you.
- You either lead by example or you don't lead at all (My Favorite)
- The best leaders are the best learners
- Leadership is an affair of the heart. If you don't love what you do - you won't work hard enough to become great.
This book does not make assumptions, the provide facts and data to support their conclusions!
Below is one truncated data set from their book.
Top 4 Characteristics of Admired Leaders (only ones that received 60% or more votes from a list of 20 qualities)
- Honest 85%
- Forward-Looking 70%
- Inspiring 69%
- Competent 64%
TOTAL = Credibility is the foundation of leadership!
The book displays all 20 with their percentages. NOTE only 16% said that maturity was needed to be an admired leader. They then give several examples of great leaders who were as youg as 10 years old.
This is a powerful look into what makes a great leader and I think that I will be a better one just for having read it. I've only scratched the surface with my review above and implore you to get a copy and have a read for yourself. You won't regret it!
Favorite Quotes that I don't want to forget
"You can't fast track your way to excellence"
"No one can make you a leader, you have to take this first step yourself"
"Leadership is about reminding people what we can build"
"Optimists have a sixth sense for possibilities that realists can't or won't see"
"When leaders are in tune with the emotions of others, they create resonance between leader and constituent and among constituents, much like the musicians in a an orchestra create resonance when their instruments are in tune"
"The leader merely coordinates and puts into action the wants and desires of the group."
"Leaders must be able to sense the purpose in others" "They make people feel that they can do more than they thought they could."
"In a 2009 international study, the majority of people said they trust a stranger more than they trust their boss"
"When there is an information vacuum, people will make up their own answers. And these answers are more likely to be negative and cynical than to be the truth. Waiting to disseminate information is often justified as a desire to gather more certain and complete information but waiting often contributes to distrust"
"The brick walls are there for a reason. They're not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something."
"Living in a cave does not make you a geologist and simply being in a management position does not make you a great leader"
"Leadership can't grow in a culture that isn't supportive of continuing development"
"...when people experience a ratio of at least three positive emotions to one negative they are more likely to be lasting and healthy"
"Leaders say YES"
"The worst thing someone can do is to see a problem and think it is someone else's responsibility"
"The next time you see a problem and say "Why doesn't someone do something about this?" take a look in the mirror and say instead, "I'll be someone to do something about it."