Exemplary leaders are a vital asset in any organization—they increase engagement and commitment, improve performance and inspire a sense of meaning and self-worth among people. “Learning Leadership” is a self-coaching guide to help people take charge of their own leadership development and become the best leaders they can be. It builds on the ideas from the best-selling “The Leadership Challenge“, with additional tips that you can use to coach yourself and hone your leadership skills. These are most beneficial for emerging leaders, as well as coaches, trainers, and other human resource professionals or leadership developers.
In this article, we’ll outline some of the highlights in this book. For the full details, examples and tips, do get a copy of the book, or get a detailed overview with our complete book summary bundle.Based on 30 years of leadership research from over 70 countries, Kouzes and Posner found that everyone has the capacity to lead. Yet, there’s a growing global concern of a shortage of great leaders, due to changing demographics, lack of training for new/budding leaders, and the wrong mind-set that leadership is only for people with special talents or abilities. To solve the leadership shortage, we must unleash the leadership potential that’s already present in people.
There are specific practices that are universally associated with exemplary leadership. The challenge is to use them frequently, so you can get more confident about them. We’ll now take a brief look at the 3 leadership fundamentals, with the associated self-coaching tips. You can get more details from the book or our full 15-page book summary.
• Everyone can lead. You don’t need special traits or genes to lead, and leaders can be found in all walks of life. In the book , the authors explain the 5 key myths that hold people back, including The Talent Myth, The Position Myth, The Strengths Myth, The Self-Reliance Myth, and the “It-all-comes-naturally” Myth. [You can get a detailed overview from our full summary]. Since all of us can lead, the question to ask is: how can we become better leaders? • Leaders make a difference. The best leaders can bring out 2-3 times the talent in others, compared with the worst leaders. Leaders’ behaviors affect others’ level of commitment and engagement, from the classroom to baseball fields. Bad leaders have the opposite effect. Although leaders’ personalities and leadership context may vary, the process of leadership and expected leadership behaviors are the same everywhere. [Get more facts, figures and examples on this leadership fundamental from the book or our full summary].• It’s about how frequently you lead. Everyone has some personal experience(s) when they felt they were at their record-best leadership performance (their “Personal-Best Leadership Experiences”). By studying leaders at their best, the authors found 5 key Leadership Practices: Model the way, Inspire a shared vision, Challenge the process, Enable others to act, and Encourage the heart. [Read more about them in this article.] By measuring the leadership behaviors associated with these 5 practices, the authors found that almost no one scores zero across all 5 areas, In short, you’re already leading—you just need to do it more frequently.
So far, we’ve established the 3 foundations of leadership. We’ll now briefly outline the 5 Leadership Fundamentals that any leader must learn to cultivate.
Here’s a short overview of the key components of the 5 leadership fundamentals. Do get the full details from the book or our complete 15-page summary, including specific self-coaching tips like those in the previous segment.
• Believe you Can: Leadership starts with (a) believing in yourself (b) embracing learning as the master skill, and (c) leading from inside-out.
• Aspire to Excel: To be a leader, you must have followers. This requires that you (a) know what matters to you, (b) be forward-looking, and (c) help/serve others.
• Challenge yourself: To be the best leader you can be, you must (a) find your training ground, (b) experiment, (c) be resilient and (d) have courage.
• Engage Support: Great leaders learn, grow and achieve with the support of others. Learn how to (a) not do everything yourself, (b) get connected, and (c) seek feedback.
• Practice Deliberately: Like great sportsmen, great leaders need to practice and hone their craft. To do so, (a) make the time and effort, (b) shape your context and (c) cultivate a daily learning habit.
In the book and our full book summary, we explain each of these 5 fundamentals in more detail, along with specific tips and self-coaching actions that you can apply to start developing your leadership fundamentals. More details are also available at www.leadershipchallenge.com.
Become the best leader you can be with this self-coaching guide!