The Leadership Challenge

How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations
by James Kouzes and Barry Posner | 416 pages

James Kouzes and Barry Posner are two of the world’s preeminent researchers on leadership. This is the 25th anniversary, fifth edition version of their best-selling classic that has sold over 2 million copies. One of the things I most like about this book is the fact that it covers the SCIENCE of leadership. Kouzes and Posnar have been conducting empirical research for over three decades. Big Ideas we explore: The 5 Practices (<— key word!) of Exemplary Leaders, the foundation of leadership (= credibility which = …), Law #2: DWYSYWD, and the best-kept secret of leadership = …


“Leaders get people moving. They energize and mobilize. They take people and organizations to places they have never been before. Leadership is not a fad, and the leadership challenge never goes away.

In uncertain and turbulent times, accepting that challenge is the only antidote to chaos, stagnation, and disintegration. Times change, problems change, technologies change, and people change. Leadership endures. Teams, organizations, and communities need people to step up and take charge. That is why we wrote The Leadership Challenge, and why we found it imperative to write this fifth edition.

Change is the province of leaders. It is the work of leaders to inspire people to do things differently, to struggle against uncertain odds, and to persevere toward a misty image of a better future. Without leadership there would not be the extraordinary efforts to solve existing problems and realize unimagined opportunities. We have today, at best, only faint clues of what the future may hold, but we are confident that without leadership the possibilities will neither be envisioned nor attained.”

~ James M. Kouzes & Barry Z. Posner from The Leadership Challenge

James Kouzes and Barry Posner are professors at Santa Clara University’s business school and two of the world’s preeminent researchers on leadership.

This is the 25th anniversary, fifth edition version of their best-selling classic that has sold over 2 million copies.

John Maxwell, another leadership guru and author of The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership (see Notes), calls this book one of the five best books he’s *ever* read.

One of the things I most like about this book is the fact that it covers the SCIENCE of leadership. Kouzes and Posnar have been conducting empirical research for over three decades. Although it’s always fun to tap into various perspectives, I love data-driven wisdom.

(Another example of data-driven wisdom: The 7 Principles of Making Marriage Work. John Gottman has been studying relationships for decades and he likes to make the point that a lot of therapists/authors have *opinions* about what makes a marriage work; he focuses on what the data has proven works. I like that.)

If you had to only read one book on leadership, I’d suggest this one. (Get a copy here.)

The book is packed (!) with Big Ideas. I’m excited to share a few of my favorites so let’s jump straight in!

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About the authors

Authors

James Kouzes

Co-author of The Leadership Challenge and other books on leadership.
Authors

Barry Posner

Leadership and management expert and co-author of The Leadership Challenge.