The Leadership Challenge


The Leadership Challenge 
Author James M. Kouzes, Barry Z. Posner
Title The Leadership Challenge
Subtitle Kouzes & Posner's Modern Management Classic on Learning How to Lead
Category Leadership
0787984914 / 978-0-7879- 8491-5  
Publisher Jossey-Bass; 4 edition
Country USA
Published 03-Aug-2007
No of Pages 416

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The 4th edition of The Leadership Challenge by Kouzes and Posner presents an inspiring and convincing argument that leadership can be learned. In the latest edition of their well-regarded work on leadership, James Kouzes and Barry Posner present a wealth of stories from around the world showing what successful leaders have in common.

Can Leadership Be Learned?
What makes a leader? If leadership is something a person is born with - or not - then is there any hope for the rest of us? For more than 25 years, James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner have been collecting evidence about good leaders. Their book, The Leadership Challenge, now in its 4th edition, presents their results in a readable and persuasive form. Kouzes and Posner believe that leadership can be learned. Not only that, but anyone can be a leader if they can learn the skills and practice them with commitment.

Who Are Kouzes and Posner?
As described on the dust jacket of The Leadership Challenge:
- James M. Kouzes is Dean's Executive Professor of Leadership, Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University
- Barry Z. Posner, Ph. D. is Dean of the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University.
Together, Kouzes and Posner have studied and written about leadership and have expanded their work to include leadership development training and leadership assessment. One of their flagship products is the Leadership Practices Inventory based upon the practices described in their books.

The Leadership Challenge, 4th Edition Is Rich in Stories
The Leadership Challenge uses storytelling extensively. Every lesson is tied to a named individual working in a real job. The people in the stories are by no means all CEOs and powerful politicians. Nor are they all middle-aged North American men. Most readers should be able to identify with many of the people discussed.

Leadership Is Available to Anyone
The concept that leadership is not the same as charisma, authority, or power derived from a job title underlies Kouzes and Posner's teaching. They present leadership as knowing what the right thing to do is, and creating the conditions where others also recognize and want to do that thing.

The Leadership Challenge assumes, for the most part, that the reader holds a management position. It is not necessary to have such a position to benefit from the book. Understanding and practicing the principles of leadership should make a reader a better management candidate.

The Difference Between The Leadership Challenge and Typical "Guru" Books
Modern management literature is full of books promising The Way. Many of them have good lessons, but there is a risk that the lessons might come from one or two people's personal opinions, based on circumstances that don't apply to everyone. In contrast, Kouzes and Posner have used very large samples of people, indepth questionnaires tested for reliability, and have made the summary statistics from their 2004 data set (8,500 cases for much of the analysis) available on their website. They frequently describe their findings as "evidence-based". Most reviewers comment on how readable The Leadership Challenge is. The book flows easily from start to end. There are footnotes providing references for deeper study.

This book is clear and logical, and very inspiring. There is a strong message of hope and optimism with a large measure of plain-spoken instruction. It is already a management classic.

Contributed by: Olympia Fantis