Saturday, July 16, 2011

Book Review: The Leadership Challenge

Today's book review is The Leadership Challenge written by James Kousez and Barry Posner.

I have owned several copies of this book and continually lend it out. Sometimes those loaners are returned, though often they are not - and I can't blame the person for hanging on to it. The Leadership Challenge is a standard of leadership develop texts and is a worthwhile read for anyone wanting to grow in leadership. It is used by many companies and organizations (including my own) and with good reason.

The authors' approach to leadership is not complicated. Leadership is influence. Effective leadership relies on the leader's credibility. Alone, these concepts are not new. What sets The Leadership Challenge apart is its focus on five leadership practices through which we grow our influence and credibility. These practices are easily grasped and can be learned by anyone. They are explained with ample real world examples. These are not abstract theories - the five leadership behaviors described are accessible, practical, and can be implemented by those serious about increasing their influence.

It is also important to note that these practices center around authenticity. This is not a road map for shortcuts to power. This is a set of practical real-world behaviors that help us invest in ourself and in others. Learning the practices takes a day or two. Mastering them and incorporating them into our everyday behavior is the work of a lifetime.

Kousez and Posner have expanded the Leadership Challenge library to include a version students, a faith-based version, a workbook, and books specific to some of the practices. These are good resources as well for those who want to learn more. However, The Leadership Challenge is the place to begin and one of my strongest recommendations for anyone wanting to grow as a leader.

Happy Reading!

David M. Dye

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Twitter: @davidmdye
David shares twenty years experience teaching, coaching, leading, and managing in youth service, education advocacy, city governance, and faith-based nonprofits. He currently serves as Chief Operating Officer for Colorado UpLift and enjoys helping others discover and realize their own potential.

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