The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership in "The Leadership Challenge" by James Kouzes and Barry Posner have become a global industry standard for business leadership. According to Wiley publishing company, winner of the 2009 Forbes award for Best Big Company, businesses stewarding these practices saw a net income growth of 841 percent, compared to companies with anemic leadership, resulting in a growth rate of negative 49 percent.
A leader sets the standard of excellence. A leader establishes principles as to how peers, customers and constituents are treated. A leader must inspire others and help them achieve smaller goals as the foundation for achieving larger goals. Successful leaders serve as an interface between workers and bureaucracy. The give their subordinates direction while fielding all negotiations with higher-ups.
Leaders have faith in themselves and others. They must believe that they can improve things. Leaders must create a shared vision for the future. A leader must get others involved and enthusiastic about the company's future. A leader makes everyone involved feel like they are a part of something greater than themselves. A leader has an iron grip in a velvet glove. A leader must have a good degree of self-confidence and persuasive abilities.
Embrace New Challenges
Leaders do not accept things as they are just because they have always been that way. Leaders are not afraid to initiate potential improvements. Leaders accept the inevitable setbacks along the way and use them to further inspire growth. Leaders embrace the new and let go of the old. A leader will take calculated risks to achieve lasting improvements.
Leaders encourage collaboration and cultivate morale. They create an atmosphere of mutual respect in which people are treated decently on a consistent basis. Leaders enable others by emphasizing their strengths instead of being a scavenger of their weaknesses. Leaders ultimately make people feel positive and empowered to reach their goals. Leaders encourage people to ask for help when they need it without feeling ashamed. Leaders help to bring out the best in others.
Which way to the heart? Labyrinth, a silhouette and a heart image by Stasys Eidiejus from Fotolia.com
Leaders foster hope and commitment. Leaders make others feel good about themselves by recognizing their collective as well as individual contributions. Leaders motivate people to be determined enough to accomplish their objectives. Leaders let people know that they are an important and integral part of the whole. Leaders work to maintain positive, healthy, professional relationships that result in increased productivity.
Tracy Stefan began writing professionally in 2007, with work appearing on various websites. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing and performing arts from the Evergreen State College. Stefan is also a graduate of Dell'Arte.