The Leadership Challenge | Notes

Posted on October 26, 2016


Kouzes, James, and Barry Posner. The Leadership Challenge, 3rd ed. Jossey-Bass, 2003. (458 pages). Here are the many resources available at

leadership challenge

Preface – Everyone’s Business: Leadership for Today and Tomorrow

The Leadership Challenge is about how leaders mobilize others to want to get extraordinary things done in organizations. It’s about the practices leaders us to transform values into actions, visions into realities, obstacles into innovations, separateness into solidarity, and risks into rewards. It’s about leadership that creates the climate in which people turn challenging opportunities into remarkable successes. (xvii)


…the fundamentals of leadership are the same today as they were in the 1930s, and they’ve probably have been the same for centuries. (xviii)

Heighten Uncertainty.

People First. Today there’s much more demand for leaders who are exemplary coaches and individuals who show respect for people from many different cultural backgrounds. … If you want to place a winning bet on who will be a successful leader in these times, bet on the more collaborative person who values people first, profits second. (xix)

Even More Connected. …hierarchy has become irrelevant. (xix-xx)

Social Capital. It’s human networks that make things happen, not computer networks. How do you help leaders learn that it’s as much the human heart as the human head that makes the world go round? (xx)

Global Economy.


A Changing Workforce. A certain distrust and wariness has crept into the workplace and yet we know that trust is the foundation of any good relationship — and fundamental to getting extraordinary things done. (xxii)

Even More Intense Search For Meaning. Whether you call it spirituality, religion, faith, or soul, there’s clearly a trend toward a greater openness to the spiritual side within the walls of business. (xxii)

How can leaders provide a climate for people to bring their souls to work, not just their heads and hands? (xxiii)

With all these questions, there are countless opportunities to make a difference. (xxiii)

More than ever there is need for people to seize these opportunities to lead us to greatness. The Leadership Challenge is about those who do. It is about how traditional systems of rewards and punishments, control and scrutiny, give way to innovation, individual character, and the courage of convictions. (xxiii)

What we have discovered, and rediscovered, is that leadership is not the private reserve of a few charismatic men and women. It is a process ordinary people use when they are bringing forth the best from themselves and others. What we’ve discovered is that people make extraordinary things happen by liberating the leader within everyone. (xxiii)


The leaders we’ve worked with and learned from have asked us many questions about enhancing their leadership capabilities:

  • What values should guide my actions as a leader?
  • How do I best set an example for others?
  • How do I articulate a vision of the future when things are so unpredictable?
  • How do I improve my ability to inspire others toward a common purpose?
  • How do I create an environment that promotes innovation and risk?
  • How do I build a cohesive and spirited team?
  • How do I share power and information and still maintain accountability?
  • How do I put more joy and celebration into our efforts?
  • What is the source of self-confidence required to lead others?
  • How do I go about improving my leadership abilities?


Whatever the time, whatever the circumstances, leadership is a relationship…Success in leadership, in business, and in life has been, is now, and will be a function of how well we work and play together.” (xxviii)


The domain of leaders is the future. The leader’s unique legacy is the creation of valued institutions that survive over time. The most significant contribution leaders make is not simply to today’s bottom line; it is to the long-term development of people and institutions so they can adapt, change, prosper, and grow. … We need leaders who can unite and ignite us. (xxviii)

Part One – What Leaders Do and What Constituents Expect

1: The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership:

Creative people by nature want some sense of ownership. They want some sense of empowerment and spirit. By focusing on the creator we were changing the whole leadership paradigm within our studio…You can’t make people trust change and trust the system. You have to actually create a system that is trustworthy, then people will begin to move much, much faster when you’re trying to elicit change. – Alan Keith

Know what you value, be willing to take a risk, and lead from the heart — lead from what you believe in. – Alan Keith


Model the Way
Inspire a Shared Vision
Challenge the Process
Enable Others to Act
Encourage the Heart

[VIA: I have considered using Biblical terms for these same concepts; in order: Discipleship, Revelation, Redemption, Fellowship, and Love.]

Model the Way. Titles are granted, but it’s your behavior that wins you respect. (14) People first follow the person, then the plan. (15)

Inspire A Shared Vision. Leaders cannot command commitment, only inspire it. (15)

Challenge The Process. Leaders are pioneers… (17) Success in any endeavor isn’t a process of simply buying enough lottery tickets. The key that unlocks the door to opportunity is learning. … As weather shapes mountains, problems shape leaders. (17)

Enable Others To Act. …leaders work to make people feel strong, capable, and committed. Leaders enable others to act not by hoarding the power they have but by giving it away. (18)

Encourage the Heart. It’s  part of the leader’s job to show appreciation for people’s contributions and to create a culture of celebration. (19)


Success in leadership, success in business, and success in life has been, is now, and will continue to be a function of how well people work and play together. (21)


Model the Way

1. Find your voice by clarifying your personal values.
2. Set the example by aligning actions with shared values.

Inspire a Shared Vision

3. Envision the future by imagining exciting and ennobling possibilities.
4. Enlist others in a common vision by appealing to shared aspirations.

Challenge the Process

5. Search for opportunities by seeking innovative ways to change, grow, and improve.
6. Experiment and take risks by constantly generating small wins and learning from mistakes.

Enable Others to Act

7. Foster collaboration by promoting cooperative goals and building trust.
8. Strengthen others by sharing power and discretion.

Encourage the Heart

9. Recognize contributions by showing appreciation for individual excellence.
10. Celebrate the values and victories by creating a spirit of community.

2: Credibility is the foundation of leadership

Leadership is a reciprocal process between those who aspire to lead and those who choose to follow. (23)


As the data clearly show, for people to follow someone willingly, the majority of constituents must believe the leader is: *Honest, *Forward-Looking, *Competent, and *Inspiring. (The next 10 in line are Intelligent, Fair-minded, Broad-minded, Supportive, Straightforward, Dependable, Cooperative, Determined, Imaginative, and Ambitious.) (25)

Honest. People want to know that the person is truthful, ethical, and principled. (27) When we follow someone we believe to be dishonest, we come to realize that we’ve compromised our own integrity. Over time, we not only lose respect for the leader, we lose respect for ourselves. (28)

Forward-Looking. People don’t mean the magical power of a prescient visionary. The reality is far more down-to-earth: it’s the ability to set or select a desirable destination toward which the company, agency, congregation, or community should head. (28)

Competent. Leadership competence refers to the leader’s track record and ability to get things done. (29) There may be notable exceptions, but it is highly unlikely that a leader can succeed without both relevant experience and, most important, exceptionally good people skills. … A leader must have the ability to bring out the best in others — to enable others to act. (30)

Inspiring. Inspiring leadership speaks to our need to have meaning and purpose in our lives. (31) To get extraordinary things done in extraordinary times, leaders must inspire optimal performance — and that can only be fueled with positive emotions. (31)


These key characteristics make up what communications experts refer to as “source credibility.” (32)

If you don’t believe in the messenger, you won’t believe the message. (33)

Credibility Makes a Difference. Price does not rule the Web; trust does. (34)

The Requirement and the Predicament of Being Forward-Looking. Leaders don’t just report the news; they make the news. (35)

What Is Credibility Behaviorally? A judgement of “credible” is handed down when words and deeds are consonant.” (37)

Part Two – Model the Way

3: Find Your Voice

It’s about having a voice and about giving voice. To Find Your Voice you must engage in two essentials:

  • Clarify your values
  • Express your self


If anyone is ever to become a leader we’d willingly follow, one certain prerequisite is that they must be someone of principle. (45)

You can’t believe in the messenger if you don’t know what the messenger believes. (46)

Values Are Guides. They supply us with a moral compass by which to navigate the course of our daily lives. Clarity of values is essential to knowing which way, for each of us, is north, south, east, and west. (48) Values also motivate. They keep us focused on why we’re doing what we’re doing and the ends toward which we’re striving. (49)

Personal Values Clarity Makes a Difference. Values make a significant difference in behavior at work. (49) People want to be part of something larger than themselves. What we’re saying is this: people cannot fully commit to an organization or a movement that does not fit with their own beliefs. Leaders must pay as much attention to personal values as they do to organizational values if they want dedicated constituents. (51)

Explore Your Inner Territory. Leadership begins with something that grabs hold of you and won’t let go. (52) Make a statement with your life that’s consistent with your heart, that gives voice to what you really feel is important. (54)

Listen to the Masters. …people try to model their behavior after those they admire and respect. (54) People burn out less from a lack of energy than from a lack of a sense of purpose. (55)

Finding your voice is about engaging with the world. – Phil Slater


In Your Own Words.

You cannot lead through someone else’s values, someone else’s words. You cannot lead out of someone else’s experience. You can only lead out of your own. Unless it’s your style, your words, it’s not you; it’s an abstraction. (56)

In Your Own Words. Words send signals, and, if you listen intently, you may just hear the hidden assumptions about how someone views the world. (57)

The Three Stages of Self-Expression. 1. Looking Out. When first learning to lead, we paint what we see outside ourselves — the exterior landscape. … We want to learn everything we can from others, and we often try to copy their style. (59) 2. Looking In. Somewhere along the way, you’ll notice that your speech sounds mechanically rote, that your meetings are a boring routine, and that your interactions feel terribly sad and empty. … In these moments you begin to stare into the darkness of your inner territory, and to wonder what lies inside. … But, who exactly am I? What is my voice? … Then, after exhausting experimentation and often painful suffering, there emerges from all those abstract strokes on the canvas an expression of self that is truly your own. (60) 3. Moving On. You become the author of your own experience. (61)


To commit to doing something without the capacity to perform it is either disingenuous or stupid. … Leaders must be aware of the degree to which they actually have the capabilities to do what they say. … Acquiring competence is all about being genuine. … Your value as a leader is determined not only by your guiding beliefs but also by your ability to act on them. To strengthen credibility you must continuously assess your existing abilities and learn new ones. And that takes time and attention. (63)


Look in the mirror. Clarification of personal values begins with becoming more self-aware. … It’s the ABCs of human action: assumptions (values) cause us to select certain behaviors, and those behaviors have consequences. By asking others to reflect back to us our behaviors, we can then better examine the assumptions that might be guiding our actions. (64) Feedback should be viewed as a gift, and if others offer this gift you should thank them. (64)

Take time for contemplation. I think people in this society need a spiritual practice. (65)

Write a tribute to yourself. How would you like to be seen by others? What words or phrases would you most like to hear others say about you? How would you like to be remembered? What descriptions would make you feel the proudest? (67)

Record the lessons from the leaders you admire. Come up with at least six historical and personal role models and write down for each: why you selected them, what they did, how you feel about each, and the lessons you gained from them. You’ll learn a lot about yourself in the process of writing about others. (68)

Write your credo. Those with whom you work need to know the principles that you believe should guide their actions in your absence. They need to know the values and beliefs that you think should steer their decision making and action taking. (68)

Engage in a credo dialogue and assessment. Read your credo aloud to some trusted colleagues. Ask them to assume that they know nothing about your values other than what you are reading to them. Ask them to listen for clarity and understanding. Then ask them to give you feedback… (69)

Collect stories that teach values. No matter which leader’s biography you read, you’ll find they all were influenced by the lives and stories of others. … What books or stories made the biggest impression on you as a child? What values did these books teach? What books or stories are you reading right now? What values do they teach? (71)

Audit your ability to succeed. Your value as a leader and as an individual contributor is determined not only by your guiding beliefs but also by your ability to act on them. (71) But competence alone does not determine the capacity to act on your values. You must also have the confidence that you can, in a given leadership situation, apply your skills and act on your beliefs. … Audits are only as effective as the questions you ask. (72) Max De Pree would ask some very unusual and intriguing questions: “What should grace enable us to be?” “Why does this organization need you?” Try answering that question for yourself. (72)

4: Set The Example

Compelling words may be essential to lifting people’s spirits, but leaders know that constituents are more deeply moved by deeds. … Leading by example is how leaders make visions and values tangible. It’s how they provide the evidence that they’re personally committed. And that evidence is what people look for and admire in leaders — people whose direction they willingly follow. (77)

In the process of setting an example, leaders endeavor to lead their constituents from “what I believe” to “what we believe.” (78)


While credible leaders honor the diversity of their many constituencies, they also stress their common values. Leaders build on agreement. (78)

The Power of Shared Values. Recognition of shared values provides people with a common language. Tremendous energy is generated when individual, group, and organizational values are in synch. Commitment, enthusiasm, and drive are intensified: people have reasons for caring about their work. (78)

What Shared Values Are Important? Leaders must engage their constituents in a dialogue about values. A common understanding of values comes about through that dialogue; it emerges from a process, not a pronouncement. (81) Constituents must be able to enumerate the values and must have common interpretations of how those values will be put into practice. They must know how the values influence their own jobs and how they directly contribute to organization success. (82) For people to understand the values and come to agree with them, they must participate in the process: unity is forged, not forced. (83)


Leadership is a performing art. Leaders don’t “act” in the same sense as Broadway performers, of course. However, they enact the meaning of the organization in every decision they make and in every step they take toward the future they envision. (84) There are five essential aspects to their behavior and actions that leaders need to be conscious about…

Calendars: Spend Time and Pay Attention. How you spend your time is the single clearest indicator, especially to other people, about what’s important to you. (85) …the truest measure of what leaders deeply believe is how they spend their time. (86)

Critical Incidents: Seize Opportunities to Teach. …even the most disciplined leaders can’t stop the intrusion of the unexpected and the serendipitous. … Critical incidents present opportunities to teach important lessons about appropriate norms of behavior. (86)

Stories, Analogies, and Metaphors: Use the Timeless Way to Teach Virtues. Research has shown that information is more quickly and accurately remembered when it is first presented int he form of an example or story. (90)

Language: Choose Words and Questions Deliberately. Leaders understand and are attentive to language. … The words we choose to use are metaphors for concepts that define attitudes and behaviors, structures and systems. … When leaders ask questions, they send constituents on mental journeys — “quests” — in search of answers. The questions that a leader asks send messages about the focus of the organization, and they’re indicators of what’s of most concern to the leader. (91)

Measurements: Recognize That What Gets Measured Gets Done. Leaders can easily influence outcome by providing the tools for measuring progress. (93)


…this is how they earn and sustain credibility over time. Setting an example is essentially doing what you will say you will do. (93)

Create alignment around key values. Why is an important question. Indeed, the Socratic question — “Why?” — is the only teacher behavior that is effective in raising the moral reasoning of schoolchildren. … Moreover, providing a rationale for the value helps people to remember that value and apply its logic to new and different situations and circumstances; this promotes a consistency in the interpretation and enactment of values. (95)

Don’t stop at creating alignment; acknowledge that even good ideas grow stale over time. (95)

Speak about shared values with enthusiasm and confidence — even drama. Your task is to keep people focused by constantly affirming publicly what we all stand for. (95)

And speaking strongly demands speaking with confidence. (96)

Research has also found differences between what are perceived as confident or powerful versus powerless styles of presentation. … The powerful style…portrays the speaker as more assuming, more goal directed, and more straightforward. (96) These actions weren’t drama for drama sake. Instead, they were designed to draw attention to critical values and priorities. Sometimes you have to go out of your way to get a point across. (97)

Teach and reinforce through symbols and artifacts. “Leaders are attentive to the use of ceremonies, both official and spontaneous, in the reinforcement of shared values. … The critical point is this: in the performing art of leadership, symbols and artifacts are a leader’s props. They’re necessary tools for making the message memorable and sustainable over time. Together with rituals, they’re a means of keeping the vision and values present even when the leader is absent.” (98)

Lead by storytelling. What we communicate in stories (and examples) is remembered by others in proportion to its “vividness.” To be vivid, a story should be about a real person, have a strong sense of time and place, and be told in colorful and animated language. (99) Since the stories you tell should be about other people, about what they are doing to put shared values into practice and to demonstrate their commitment as “disciples,” telling stories forces you to pay close attention to what your constituents are doing. Telling stories about others gives you the chance to reinforce that “everyone is a leader.” (100)

Put storytelling on your meeting agendas. Capture as many examples of exemplary behavior in your organization as you can. Think of yourself as the chief historian on your team. (100)

Ask questions. Every question you ask is another potential teaching opportunity. They key to good questions is to think about the “quest” in your question. Where do you want to take this person with your question? What do you want this person to think about? … Questions develop people. (101)

Keep score. Tie your feedback directly to financial rewards. (103)

Do a personal audit. Audit your daily routines. Are you spending sufficient time on matters consistent with your shared values? Use your shared values as the basis for planning your weekly schedule. Let values be your guide, not old habits or the in-basket. … Audit your daily calendar…agendas…questions…how you deal with critical incidents…internal memos, e-mail notes, and messages…in-basket…rewards and recognitions. (103-4)

Part Three – Inspire a Shared Vision

5: Envision The Future

When we feel passionately about the legacy we want to leave, about the kind of future world we want for ourselves and for others, then we are much more likely to voluntarily step forward. If we don’t have the slightest clue about our hopes, dreams, and aspirations, then the chance that we’ll take the lead is significantly less. In fact, we may not even see the opportunity that’s right in front of us. (110)


All enterprises or projects, big or small, begin in the mind’s eye; they begin with imagination and with the belief that what’s merely an image can one day be made real. (111)


No matter what the term is used — whether purpose, mission, legacy, dream, goal, calling, or personal agenda — the intent is the same: leaders want to do something significant, to accomplish something that no one else has yet achieved. (112)

Your passion for something is an indication of what you find worthy in and of itself. Researchers in human motivation have long talked about two kinds of motivation — extrinsic and intrinsic. (112)

External motivation is more likely to create conditions of compliance or defiance; self-motivation produces far superior results. There’s even an added bonus. People who are self-motivated will keep working toward a result even if there’s no reward, but people who are externally controlled are likely to stop trying once the rewards or punishments are removed. (112)


Constituents of all types demand that leaders be forward-looking and have a sense of direction. Leaders must develop this capacity to Envision the Future by mastering these essentials:

  • Discover the theme
  • Imagine the possibilities (114)

…we freely admit that it’s more art than science. (115)


At the beginning, leaders have a theme…concerns, desires, questions, propositions, arguments, hopes, dreams, and aspirations — core concepts around which they organize their aspirations and actions. (115)

Express Your Passion. Finding your vision is a process of self-exploration and self-creation. (115) Exemplary leaders have a passion for their institutions, their causes, their technologies, their communities — something other than their own fame and fortune. (116) Leaders care about making a difference in the world. | If you don’t care deeply for and about something and someone, then how can you expect others to feel any sense of conviction? How can you expect others to get jazzed, if you’re not energized and excited? (116)

Explore Your Past. …the one-way-mirror hypothesis [Janus effect] states, “We make sense of our world retrospectively, and all understanding originates in reflection and looking backward…We construct the future by some kind of extrapolation, in which the past is prologue, and the approach to the future is backward-looking.” (119)

In addition to identifying lifelong themes, there’s another benefit to looking back before looking ahead: we can gain a greater appreciation for how long it can take to fulfill aspirations. (119)

Pay Attention to Your Experiences. Visions don’t materialize magically in a sudden flash of light. They come, in part, from paying attention to what is right in front of us. (121)

There’s another lesson from our own experience. To be able to have a vision of the future, you have to be able to see the big story: to see trends and patterns and not just one-off or one-time occurrences. (121)

Immerse Yourself. Direct experience is…critical. It’s the knowledge gained from direct experience and active searching that, once stored in the subconscious, becomes the basis for leaders’ intuition, insight, and vision. (123)

It is an “iterative process. (124)


Leaders are possibility thinkers, not probability thinkers. (124)

Find Meaning in the Ideal. All the personal-best cases we collected were…about improving on the existing situation or creating an entirely new state of existence…characterized by a dissatisfaction with the status quo and a belief that something better was attainable. They represent the choice of an ideal. (126)

Ideals reveal our higher-order value preferences. (126)

Take Pride in Being Unique. Only when people understand how we’re truly distinctive, how we stand out in the crowd, will they want to sign up with us. (127)

[Edward Goeppner, of the Podesta Baldocchi chain of flower shops said, “We don’t sell flowers, we sell beauty.” (127)]

Make Images of the Future. Just as architects make drawings and engineers build models, leaders find ways of giving expression to their hopes for the future. (129)

Look to the Future. Visions are reflections of our fundamental beliefs and assumptions about human nature, technology, economics, science, politics, art, and ethics. (130)

Visions are statements of destination. … The point is that leaders must think about the future and become able to project themselves ahead in time. (130)


The most important role of visions in organizational life is to give focus to human energy. (130)

Read a biography of a visionary leader. Visionary leaders aren’t content to relate the existing stories; they create new ones. (132)

Think about your past. (132)

Determine the “something” you want to do. Are you in your job to do something, or are you in your job for something to do? (133)

Here are some questions you can use as catalysts in clarifying your vision:

  • How would I like to change the world for myself and our organization?
  • How do I want to be remembered?
  • If I could invent the future, what future would I invent for myself and my organization?
  • What mission in life absolutely obsesses me?
  • What’s my dream about my work?
  • What’s my most distinctive skill or talent?
  • What’s my burning passion?
  • What do I want to prove?

Write an article about how you’ve made a difference. (134)

  • What’s been your greatest contribution to your family?
  • …to those you’ve lead?
  • …to your organization?
  • …to your community?
  • What are you most proud of at this moment?

Write your vision statement. (135)

  • What is your ideal work community? What do you personally aspire to create?
  • What is unique about your hopes, dreams, and aspirations? How is it distinctive compared to all the other visions of the future?
  • When you project this into the future ten to fifteen years, what does it look like?
  • How does this vision serve the common good?

Don’t censor yourself. This is aspirational: it needs to be uplifting. Give voice to your dreams. Try drawing it, finding a picture that represents it. (135)

Successful visions are shared…communicating a vision should be a conversation — not just a speech. (136)

Become a futurist. Make it your business to spend some time studying the future. (136)

Test your assumptions. Assumptions are mental screens that expand or constrain what’s possible. (137)

  • Make a list of the assumptions underlying your vision.
  • Flesh out each assumption: ask yourself what you assume to be true or untrue about your constituents and your organization, about science and technology, about economics and politics, about the future itself.
  • Ask a few close advisers to react to your assumptions. Do they agree or disagree with you? Why or why not?
  • Ask people you think might have different assumptions to respond to yours.
  • Test your assumptions by trying an experiment or two.

Rehearse with visualizations and affirmations. One of the most effective things you can do to help you realize your vision is mental rehearsal — mentally practicing a skill, sequence of skills, or attitude using visual imagery or kinesthetic feelings. (138)

6: Enlist Others

Sharing the vision statement met with skepticism at first, but as I kept coming back to parts of it over time, everyone bought into the idea. People began to see it as a statement about what we all wanted to build together. – Kevin Philbin, Solectron


The members of the organization must understand, accept, and commit to the vision. When they do, the organization’s ability to change and reach its potential soars. (143)

Simply put, you have to teach others your vision. Teaching a vision — and confirming that the vision is shared — is a process of engaging constituents in conversations about their lives, about their hopes and dreams. Remember that leadership is a dialogue, not a monologue. Leadership isn’t about imposing the leader’s solo dream; it’s about developing, a shared sense of destiny. It’s about enrolling others so that they can see how their own interests and aspirations are aligned with the vision and can thereby become mobilized to commit their individual energies to its realization. A vision is inclusive of constituents’ aspirations; it’s an ideal and unique image of the future for the common good. (143)

It’s not necessary to be a famous, charismatic person to inspire a shared vision. What is necessary is believing and developing the skills to transmit that belief. (144)

  • Listen deeply to others
  • Discover and appeal to a common purpose
  • Give life to a vision by communicating expressively, so that people can see themselves in it


In a sense, leaders hold up a mirror and reflect back to their constituents what they say they most desire. (148-149)


The most frequently mentioned measure of success in worklife? Would it surprise you  to learn that “personal satisfaction for doing a good job” is cited between three and four times as often as “getting ahead” or “making a good living?” (152)

Great leaders, like great companies and countries, create meaning and not just money. (152)

There is a deep human yearning to make a difference. We want to know that we’ve done something on this earth, that there’s a purpose to our existence. Work can provide that purpose, and increasingly work is where men and women seek it. Work has become a place where people pursue meaning and identity. The best organizational leaders are able to bring out and make use of this human longing by communicating the meaning and significance of the organization’s work so that people understand their own important role in creating it. When leaders clearly communicate a shared vision of an organization, they ennoble those who work on its behalf. They elevate the human spirit. (152)

Visions are not strategic plans. Contemporary management scholars all agree that strategic planning is not strategic thinking. Strategic planning often spoils strategic thinking because it causes managers to believe that the manipulation of numbers creates imaginative insight into the future and vision. This confusion lies at the heart of the issue: the most successful strategies are visions; they are not plans. (153)

Leadership that focuses on a committing style is what leadership scholars have called transformational leadership. Transformational leadership occurs when, in their interactions, people “raise one another to higher level of motivation and morality.  (153)

The most admired leaders speak unhesitatingly and proudly of mutual ethical aspirations. They know that people aspire to live up to the highest moral standards. (153)


Use Powerful Language. (155)

Practice Positive Communication. We want leaders with enthusiasm, with a bounce in their step, with a positive attitude. (157)

Tap into Nonverbal Expressiveness. …people who are perceived to be charismatic are simply more animated than others. (158)

The natural leaders are those who offer toys to others, lightly touch or caress, clap hands, smile, extend a hand, lean in to listen; they don’t scratch, hit, or pull. Adults can learn much about leading from children: it’s not aggression that attracts; it’s warmth and friendship. (159)


Leaders breathe life into visions. (159)

Get to know your constituents. (159)

Find the common ground. Your ability to enlist people depends on how effective you are at detecting the tie that binds. (161)

The best way to get to know what other people want is to sit down and talk with them on their turf. (161)

Draft a collective vision statement. “Tell me, I may listen. Teach me, I may remember. Involve me, I will do it.” (Chinese proverb) (162)

Expand your communication skills.

Breathe life into your vision.

Speak from the heart. The prerequisite to enlisting others i a shared vision is genuineness. (166)

Listen first–and often. The Journal of the American Medical Association reported on a five-year investigation of why some doctors were sued, and others not, by parents who had all experienced the same tragedy (the death of their child during childbirth). The researchers report, “Physicians who had been sued frequently were perceived by their patients as unavailable, rushed, unconcerned, and poor communicators, while physicians with no malpractice claims were perceived as most available, interested, thorough, and willing to provide information and answer questions fully.” (167)

Hang out. …people know you’re interested in them, and they want to see and talk with you (169)

Part Four – Challenge the Process

7: Search for Opportunities


Professionals act as they must, not as they feel. – Warren Boero

…leadership demands changing the business-as-usual environment (176)

…certainty and routine breed complacency. (176)

…in times of constancy and complacency, actively seek to disturb the status quo, and awaken to new possibilities. …search for opportunities to change, grow, innovate, and improve. (177)

To Search for Opportunities to get extraordinary things done, leaders make use of four essentials:

  • Seize the initiative
  • Make challenge meaningful
  • Innovate and create
  • Look outward for fresh ideas


…instead of being debilitated by the stress of a difficult experience, they are challenged and energized by it. (178)

Make Something Happen. In fact, leadership is needed more during times of uncertainty than in times of stability. (178) …proactive people tend to work harder at what they do. (179)

Encourage Initiative in Others. People who speak out and challenge the status quo have a belief in their ability to do something about the situation they face. (180)

Lead Through Assigned Work. Leaders must be agents of change. They need not be entrepreneurs, if by that term we mean those who actually initiate and assume the risk for a new enterprise. Neither must they be “intrapreneurs” — entrepreneurs within a corporation. (181) It’s not so important whether you find the challenges or they find you. What is important are the choices you make. The question is: When opportunity knocks are you prepared to open the door? (182)


Leadership and challenge are inextricably linked. Leadership and principles are inextricably linked. (182)

Challenge with Purpose. What gets you going in the morning, eager to embrace whatever might be in store? (182) It’s about challenge with meaning and passion. It’s about living life on purpose. (184)

Meaning Comes from the Inside.

I realized that there was no magic that was going to happen. It was not up to me to decide, “What’s my framework for living?” So I made a decision, and my decision was: love is the most powerful force in the universe. I believe that love and courage are the core elements of a fulfilling life and of most successful endeavors. – Elaine Fortier

…if people are going to do their best, they must be internally motivated. The task or project in which they’re engaged must be intrinsically engaging. (185) True leadership taps into people’s hearts and minds, not merely their hands and wallets. (185) Absolute dedication to extrinsic motivators severely limits an organization’s ability to excel and to use the full potential of its employees. (186)


…leadership is inextricably connected with the process of innovation, of bringing new ideas, methods, or solutions into use. (187)

Balance the Paradox of Routines.

Routine work drives out nonroutine work and smothers to death all creative planning, all fundamental change in the university — or any institution. – Warren Bennis

Progress with Discipline. So we can’t live with routines and routine work — and we can’t live without them.


…leaders must always be actively looking and listening to what’s going on around them for even the fuzziest sign or weakest signal that there’s something new on the horizon. (191)

Innovation requires more listening and communication than does routine work. (191)

External and Internal Communication. If leaders are going to detect demands for change, they must use their outsight. They must stay sensitive to the external realities, especially in this networked, global world. (192)

Let Ideas Flow In from the Outside. …we must always scan the external realities. Innovation requires the use of outsight, whether directed to pricing in the marketplace or diversity in the workforce. The Sibling of insight (the ability to apprehend the inner nature of things), outsight (the awareness and understanding of outside forces) comes through openness. (193)

At IDEO if you want to design a new shopping cart, you don’t hold a focus group, you go down to the local grocery and watch people shop. If you want to know the right height for a keyboard and monitor, you watch people using them — and you see things like people propping their dangling feet on phone books, inspiring an adjustable footrest. (194)


Leaders are open to receiving ideas from anyone and anywhere; they’re porous people. (195)

Treat every job as an adventure.

Seek meaningful challenges for yourself. We believe that every leader should serve on at least one nonprofit board or be part of one community project. (197)

Find and create meaningful challenges for others.

Add fun to everyone’s work.

Question the status quo.

Renew your teams. Give people the knowledge, skills, and tools they need to contribute to the generation of new ideas. (201)

Create an open-source approach to searching for opportunities.

Send everyone shopping for ideas.

8: Experiment and Take Risks

One lesson that emerges is that fear and apprehension are greater barriers to success than the actual difficulty or danger of the experiment itself.

Consequently, we observe that the weakest muscle in the body is the one between the ears. – Randi DuBois

True leaders foster risk taking, encouraging others to step out into the unknown rather than play it safe. (207)


How Do Small Wins Work? Small wins also deter opposition for a simple reason: it’s hard to argue against success. (211)

Mobilize for Fast Action. Acting with a sense of urgency is another strategy leaders use to mobilize for fast action. Waiting for permission is not characteristic of people who get extraordinary things done, whether leaders or individual contributors. Acting with a sense of urgency is. (212)


Success does not breed success. It breeds failure. It is failure which breeds success.

Our point isn’t to promote failure for failure’s sake, of course. We don’t advocate for a moment that failure ought to be the objective of any endeavor. Instead, we advocate learning. (215)

Learning doesn’t take place in the absence of mistakes. (215)

…accepting the necessary trade-off between proficiency and learning. (216)

…it is clear that leaders approach each new and unfamiliar experience with a willingness to learn, an appreciation for the importance of learning, and a recognition that learning necessarily involves making some mistakes. (218)


It isn’t stress that makes us ill but how we respond to stressful events. (219)

Approach Stress Positively. …psychological hardiness. High-stress/low-illness executives made these assumptions about themselves in interaction with the world:

  • They felt a strong sense of control, believing that they could beneficially influence the direction and outcome of what was going on around them through their own efforts.
  • They were strong in commitment, believing that they could find something in whatever they were doing that seemed interesting, important, or worthwhile.
  • They felt strong in challenge, believing that personal improvement and fulfillment came through the continual process of learning from both negative and positive experiences.

Thus our view of events contributes to our ability to cope with change and stress: with a positive view, we can transform stressful events into manageable or desirable situations rather than regressing, ignoring, or avoiding issues and situations. (221)

Foster Hardiness. …the family atmosphere is the most important breeding ground for a hardy attitude. (221)

…people associate doing their best with feelings of meaningfulness, mastery, and stimulation, that people are biased in the direction of hardiness when thinking about their best. It’s equally helpful to know that people don’t produce excellence when feeling uninvolved, insignificant, and threatened. Furthermore, feelings of commitment, control, and challenge provide internal cues for recognizing when we’re excelling and when we’re only getting through the day. (222)


Leaders are experimenters: they experiment with new approaches to all problems. … Yet innovation is always risky–and leaders recognize failure as a necessary fact of the innovative life. Instead of punishing it, they encourage it; instead of trying to fix blame for mistakes, they learn from them; instead of adding rules, they encourage flexibility. (223)

…leaders can turn the potential turmoil and stress of innovation and change into an adventure. (224)

Set up little experiments and develop models.

Make it safe for others to experiment. …verifying whether people feel ready for the new or challenging assignment, asking them how best to support their management of the risks involved, and encouraging them to ask for help whenever they need it. (226)

Break Mindsets. …people often behave automatically. … Yet organizations — and the worlds in which they operate — are constantly undergoing internal and external change. (226)

The intuitive understanding that a single thing is, or could be, many things, depending upon how you look at it, is central to the learning climate created by leaders. (226)

Break it up and break it down. “…you can’t eat an elephant in one bit.” (229)

Give people choices. Choice builds commitment and creates ownership, and making peole feel like owners is key. (231)

Accumulate yeses. Be on the lookout for opportunities to say yes.

Admit your mistakes. If leadership is viewed as a service, then shouldn’t leaders hold themselves as leaders to the standards? We believe that leaders should apologize and atone for their mistakes. (233)

Our evidence suggests that acting in ways to hide mistakes will be much more damaging and will, in fact, erode credibility. (233)

Don’t expect perfection; do expect dedication. (233)

Conduct pre- and postmortems for every project.

Part Five – Enable Others to Act

9: Foster Collaboration

Turbulence in the marketplace, it turns out, requires more collaboration, not less. (242)

Collaboration is a social imperative. (242)


It won’t be the ability to fiercely compete but the ability to lovingly cooperate that will determine success. (242)

It wont’ be because of a failure of technology. It’ll be a failure of relationships. (243)

To Foster Collaboration, leaders are essential who can skillfully:

  • Create a climate of trust
  • Facilitate positive interdependence
  • Support face-to-face interactions


At the heart of collaboration is trust. It’s the central issue in human relationships within and outside organizations. Without trust you cannot lead. (244)

Trusting Others Pays Off. The more trusted we feel, the better we innovate. (245) …more likely to be happy and psychologically adjusted… (245) We listen to people we trust. (245)

To put it quite simply, trust is the most significant predictor of individuals’ satisfaction with their organizations. … Trusting leaders nurture openness, involvement, personal satisfaction, and high levels of commitment to excellence. (247)

Be Open to Influence. …make use of other people’s expertise and abilities. (247)

Make Yourself Vulnerable. If leaders want the higher levels of performance that come with trust and collaboration, they must demonstrate their trust in others before asking for trust from others. (248)

Listen, Listen, Listen.


…a community of people each of whom knows that they need the others to be successful. (251)

Develop Cooperative Goals and Roles. …each person’s job makes a contribution to the end result. (253)

Support Norms of Reciprocity. Simply put, people who reciprocate are more likely to be successful than those who try to maximize individual advantage. (255)

Reciprocity turns out to be the most successful approach for such daily decisions, because it demonstrates both a willingness to be cooperative and unwillingness to be taken advantage of. 9255)

Reciprocity leads to predictability and stability in relationships. (255)

Reward Joint Effort.


Sustain Ongoing Interaction. Knowing that we’ll have to deal with someone in the future ensures that we won’t easily forget about how we’ve treated, and been treated by, them. (258)

Link to the Human Network.

Connect Others to Sources of Power. Leaders, therefore, must make it a part of their personal agenda to get connected to the sources of information, resources, and influence they need to get extraordinary things done. 9260)

The most well-connected individuals are those who have played the greatest variety of roles in their lives. … Much as our complex world requires specialists, when it comes to being a leader, you have to draw on your own connections. (261)

Virtual trust, like virtual reality, is one step removed from the real thing. We are social animals, it’s in our nature to want to interact face to face. (261)

Share Information and Resources.

Develop Social Awareness and Social Skills.


Conduct a collaboration audit

Around here, people…

  1. Act in a trustworthy and trusting manner.
  2. Ask others for help and assistance when needed.
  3. Treat others with dignity and respect.
  4. Talk openly about their feelings.
  5. Listen attentively to the opinions of others.
  6. Express clarity about the group’s goals.
  7. Make personal sacrifices to meet a larger group goal.
  8. Can rely on each other.
  9. Pitch in to help when others are busy or running behind.
  10. Give credit to others for their contributions.
  11. Interact with each other on a regular basis.
  12. Treat every relationship as if it will last for a lifetime, even if it won’t.
  13. Make it their business to introduce their colleagues to people who can help them succeed.
  14. Freely pass along information that might be useful to others.
  15. Relate well to people of diverse backgrounds and interests.

(1-Strongly Disagree, 5-Strongly Agree)

Be the first to trust. Going first requires considerable self-confidence. … Trust is contagious. And distrust is equally contagious. (268)

Defensive communication strategies are an indication that the participants don’t feel secure in some way, at some level. (268)

Ask questions, listen, and take advice. The ratio should be at least 2:1. (269)

Always say we. Candidates who use I more than we will make poor leaders, and the organization will suffer from their attempts to push their own agenda on the group or claim credit for themselves. (270)

Create jigsaw groups. Every person is essential to the accomplishment of the final result, whether the outcome is a tangible product or a bit of knowledge. Each is an “expert” individual contributor and, at the same time, an interdependent team member. (270)

Focus on gains, not losses.

Make a list of alternative currencies.

Take a lot of human moments. The most genuine way to demonstrate that you care and are concerned about other people as human beings is to spend time with them. (274)

Create places and opportunities for informal interactions. “third places” …are neutral ground — places that include diverse people, where conversation is the main function and playfulness and enjoyment is the norm. (275)

10: Strengthen Others

While lack of experience was unavoidable, lack of knowledge or enthusiasm were not acceptable to Sanjay. If someone did not have knowledge in an essential area, they were responsible for gaining that knowledge. (280)


Like Sanjay, exemplary leaders make other people feel strong. They enable others to take ownership of and responsibility for their group’s success by enhancing their competence and their confidence in their abilities, by listening to their ideas and acting upon them, by involving them in important decisions, and by acknowledging and giving credit for their contributions. (281)

People who feel powerless … tend to hoard whatever shreds of power they have. (281)

As we examine powerless and powerful times, we’re struck by one clear and consistent message: feeling powerful — literally feeling “able” — comes from a deep sense of being in control of life. People everywhere seem to share this: when we feel able to determine our own destiny, when we believe we’re able to mobilize the resources and support necessary to complete a task, then we persist in our efforts to achieve. (282)

A key factor in why people stay in organizations is their managers. It’s equally important in why people leave organizations. People, in fact, don’t generally quit companies, they quit managers. (283)

…four leadership essenitals to Strengthen Others:

  • Ensure self-leadership
  • Provide choice
  • Develop competence and confidence
  • Foster accountability


Leaders accept and act on the paradox of power: we become most powerful when we give our own power away. (284)

Traditional thinking promotes the archaic idea that power is a fixed sum: if I have more, than you have less. (285)

Give Power to Get Power. For more than a quarter-century, researchers have shown that the more people believe that they can influence and control the organization, the greater organizational effectiveness and member satisfaction will be. Shared power results in higher job fulfillment and performance throughout the organization. (286)

People Are Already Empowered. It’s not a matter of giving people power — it’s liberating people to use the power and skills they already have. It’s a matter of setting them free… What is often called empowerment is really just letting people loose, liberating them to use their power. (288)


Resources, Responsibility–and Results.

Design in Alternatives. If leaders want higher levels of performance and greater initiative, they must be proactive in designing work that allows people discretion and choice. (291)

…only adaptive individuals and organizations will thrive. (291)


Share the Data.

Practice Problem Solving. Leaders know that if people don’t have important opportunities to put their talents to good use, they’ll wind up frustrated. (293)

Confidence Provides a Way. Just becomes individuals know how to do something, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will do it. Enabling others to act is not just a practice or technique. It’s a key step in a psychological process that affects individuals’ intrinsic needs for self-determination. Each of us has an internal need to influence other people and life’s events so as to experience some sense of order and stability in our lives. (295)

Leaders Coach.


The more we believe that everyone else is competent and taking responsibility for their own part of the job, the more trusting and the more cooperative we’re going to be. (299)

It’s true that some people become social loafers when in groups, slacking off while others do their jobs for them. But this doesn’t last for long, because their team members quickly tire of carrying the extra load. The slacker either steps up to the responsibility, or the team wants that person out. (299)

Asking the operators to write their own mission statements and goals gave them a new sense of purpose and created an opportunity for them to see an end product that went beyond the end of their shift. – Andy Gere


Exemplary leaders use their power in service of others because they know that capable and confident people perform better. (301)

Offer visible support. Visibility is a precursor to access and recognition and is key to forming strategic alliances. (302)

Assign critical tasks. People who are most central to solving the organization’s crucial problems and ensuring the company’s long-term viability have the most power. (302)

Enrich people’s jobs. …excessive bureaucracy, authoritarian supervisory styles, non-merit-based reward systems, and rigid or limiting job design. | Here’s what to do: Make certain that peoples’ jobs are designed so that they know what is expected of them. Provide sufficient training and technical support so people can complete their assignments successfully. Enrich their responsibilities so that they experience variety in their task assignments and opportunities to make meaningful decisions about how their work gets accomplished. Create occasions for them to network with others in the organization (including peers and senior managers). Involve them in programs, meetings, and decisions that have a direct impact on their job performance. (304)

Use modeling to develop competencies.

Stop talking and start building at staff meetings. If you dominate communications there [at your own staff meetings], you are implying that you don’t value other people’s contributions, that they have little to offer. If that’s the case, stop having the meetings; write a memo instead! Staff meetings should be an opportunity for people to see the big picture. (306)

Enlarge people’s sphere of influence. There’s nothing more disempowering than to have lots of responsibility for doing something but nothing to do it with. (307)

Educate, educate, educate.

Create a learning climate. Here are the six questions, with follow-up statements.

  1. Where are we going?
    • I’ll tell you where I think we’re going.
    • You tell me where you think we’re going.
  2. Where are you going?
    • I’ll tell you where I see you and your group going.
    • You tell me where you see you and your group going.
  3. What are you doing well?
    • I’ll give you my sense of what you’re doing well.
    • You give me your sense of what you’re doing well.
  4. What suggestions for improvement do you have for yourself?
    • I’ll tell you the suggestions I have.
    • You tell me what suggestions you have.
  5. How can I help you?
    • I’ll add anything else I think I can do.
    • You tell me what I can do to help and support you.
  6. What suggestions do you have for me?
    • I’ll tell you what I think I need to do.
    • You tell me what you think I need to do.

Part Six – Encourage the Heart

11: Recognize Contributions

It’s about shaping an environment in which everyone’s contributions are noticed and appreciated. (316)


Here we’re using standards to mean both goals and values. (318)

Standards Concentrate Us. Values set the stage for action. Goals release the energy. (318)

The lesson for leaders is to make sure that whenever people engage in something they know why it’s important and what end it’s serving. This knowledge helps people feel more alive, more in charge, and more significant. (319)

Feedback Keeps Us Engaged. People’s motivation to increase their productivity on a task increases only when they have a challenging goal and receive feedback on their progress. (319)

When leaders provide a clear sense of direction and feedback along the way, they encourage people to reach inside and do their best. (321)

Encouragement Is Feedback.


‘Pygmalion effect’ … that other people act in ways that are consistent with our expectations of them. (322)

There is no doubt, expectations — high or low — influence other people’s performance. But only high expectations have a positive impact — on actions and on feelings about oneself. Only high expectations can encourage the heart. (323)

High Expectations Lead to High Performance.

Positive Images Create Positive Possibilities.


…at its root the word lead comes from an Old English word that means “go, travel, guide.” (327)

Wandering around with an eye for trouble is likely to get you just that. More trouble. (327)

…controlling managers have low credibility. (328)

Release the Positive

Listen with Your Eyes and Your Heart. Learning to understand and see things from another’s perspective — to walk in their shoes — is absolutely crucial to building trusting relations and to career success. (329)

Eyes-and-heart-listening can’t be from a distance. (329)

Be a Friend.

Organizational diagrams don’t matter at all. Be sure to treat employees as human beings and not as functional workers. – Daniela Maeder

The groups composed of friends completed, on average, more than three times as many projects as the groups composed merely of acquaintances. (330)

There is an important caveat, however. Friends have to be strongly committed to the group’s goals. (330)

If leaders want the higher levels of performance that come with trust and collaboration, then they must demonstrate their trust in others before asking for trust from others. (331)


Use a Variety of Rewards. It’s true that money may get people to do the job but it doesn’t get them to do a good job. (334)

Leaders are constantly on the lookout for ways to spread the psychological benefits of making people feel like winners, because winners contribute in important ways to the success of their projects. (334)

…there is some evidence that intrinsic and extrinsic rewards are negatively related and may actually work against one another. (335)

There is a fire that already burns inside of each person. My job is to simply stoke it. – Mike Matuzek

Be Thoughtful.


Leaders have high expectations of themselves and of their constituents. (337)

Be creative about rewards.

Make recognition public.

Provide feedback en route.

Be a Pygmalion. Being a Pygmalion entails developing a winner’s attitude in those around you. (342)

Foster positive expectations.

Make the recognition presentation meaningful.

Find people who are doing things right.

Don’t be stingy about saying thank you.

12: Celebrate the Values and Victories

Celebrations are among the most significant ways we have to proclaim our respect and gratitude, to renew our sense of community, and to remind ourselves of the values and history that bind us together. Celebrations serve as important a purpose in the long-term health of our organizations as does the daily performance of tasks. (352)


Celebrations infuse life with passion and purpose … They bond people together and connect us to shared values and myths. Ceremonies and rituals create community, fusing individual souls with the corporate spirit. When everything is going well, ritual occasions allow us to revel in our glory. When times are tough, ceremonies draw us together, kindling hope and faith that better times lie ahead. – Terrence Deal and M.K. Key

Reinforce Shared Values and Outcomes. Everything about a celebration should be matched to its purposes. (356)

Provide Social Support. …social support networks are essential for sustaining the motivation to serve. Service-performance shortfalls are highly correlated with the absence of social support and teamwork. As the researchers point out, “Co workers who support each other and achieve together can be an antidote to service burnout…Working with others should be rejuvenating, inspirational, and fun. (357)

…social support not only enhances wellness but also buffers against disease, particularly during times of high stress. (358)

…information exchange is more likely to be facilitated by formal and informal interactions. (358)

Celebrations reinforce the fact that it always takes a group of people working together with a common purpose in an atmosphere of trust and collaboration to get extraordinary things done. (359)


Stories by their nature are public forms of communication. (359)

Teach, Mobilize, and Motivate.

Make It Memorable. Numbers are so prevalent that we have come to accept them as real. But numbers aren’t real. Numbers are abstractions from reality; bullet points are summaries of history and projections. The story is the reality. (382)


Make It Genuine — Let It Come from Your Heart

“I don’t need recognition from someone I don’t respect.” It’s a theme we’ve repeated over and over again — credibility is the foundation of leadership — and when it comes to celebrating values and victories, it’s even more critical. (367)

The Circle of Leadership — Modeling Is Encouraging

Remember: leadership is a relationship, and people are much more likely to enlist in initiatives led by those with whom they feel a personal affiliation. It’s precisely the human connection between leaders and constituents that ensures more commitment and more support. (368)

When it comes to sending a message throughout the organization, nothing communicates more clearly than what the leaders do. (368)

The organization will develop a culture of celebration and recognition. Everyone becomes a leader, everyone sets the example, everyone takes the time to celebrate accomplishments. (369)


Intimacy heals; loneliness depresses. (370)

Schedule celebrations.

Install a public “Bragging Board.”

Create a commemorative award honoring exemplary actions.

Demonstrate caring by walking around. By increasing human interaction, you will increase optimism and you increase credibility. (374)

Show passion and compassion. Moods are social viruses… (375)

Be a cheerleader — your way.

Have fun.

Set the example — plan a celebration right now.

Part Seven – Leadership for Everyone

13: Leadership is Everyone’s Business

None of us knows our true strength until challenged to bring it forth. (385)



…the very concept of leadership implies the proposition that individuals make a difference to history – Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.

Leadership has been shows to account for improved performance as measured by a variety of factors: net income; sales, profits, and net assets; employee commitment, job satisfaction, and role clarity; and employee turnover, achievement of company goals, and teamwork. (390)

If you want to have significant impact on people, on communities, and on organizations, you’d be wise to invest in learning to become the very best leader you can. But first you too must believe that a leader lives within each of us. (390)


Leadership development is self-development. (390)

The process of development should never be intrusive. It should never be about just filling someone full of facts or skills. It won’t work. Education should always be liberating. It should be about releasing what is already inside. (391)


  • How certain am I of my own conviction about the vision and values?
  • What gives me the courage to continue in the face of uncertainty and adversity?
  • How will I handle disappointments, mistakes, and setbacks?
  • What are my strengths and weaknesses?
  • What do I need to do to improve my abilities to move the organization forward?
  • How solid is my relationship with my constituents?
  • How can I keep myself motivated and encouraged?
  • What keeps me from giving up?
  • Am I the right one to be leading at this very moment? Why?
  • How much do I understand about what is going on in the organization and the world in which it operates?
  • How prepared am I to handle the complex problems that now confront my organization?
  • What are my beliefs about how people ought to conduct the affairs of our organization?
  • Where do I think the organization ought to be headed over the next ten years?


You can’t lead others until you’ve first led yourself through a struggle with opposing values. (394)


There’s another way to avoid the temptations of power that lead to becoming overbearing and presumptuous. You can avoid this arrogance by refusing to become one-dimensional, focused narrowly on your work. (397)

Nothing in our research even hints that leaders should be perfect. Leaders aren’t saints. They’re human beings, full of the flaws and failings of the rest of us. They make mistakes. Perhaps the very best advice we can give all aspiring leaders is to remain humble and unassuming — to always remain open and full of wonder. The best leaders are the best learners. (398)


Leaders must keep hope alive, even in the most difficult of times. They must strengthen their constituents’ belief that life’s struggle will produce a more promising future. (398)

Without hope there can be no courage — and this is not the time or place for the timid. This is the time and place for optimism, imagination, and enthusiasm. Leaders must summon their will if they are to mobilize the personal and organizational resources to triumph against the odds. Hope is essential to achieving the highest levels of performance. Hope enables people to transcend the difficulties of today and envision the potentialities of tomorrow. Hope enables people to bounce back even after being stressed, stretched, and depressed. Hope enables people to find the will and the way to unleash greatness. (398)

The secret to success is to stay in love. – John H. Stanford

Of all the things that sustain a leader over tie, love is the most lasting. It’s hard to imagine leaders getting up day after day, putting in the long hours and hard work it takes to get extraordinary things done, without having their hearts in it. The best-kept secret of successful leaders is love: staying in love with leading, with the people who do the work, with what their organizations produce, and with those who honor the organization by using its work. | Leadership is not an affair of the head. Leadership is an affair of the heart. (399)