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Helen Green

Quest Leadership

Leadership Collaborator

Read more from Helen Green

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Leadership behaviour


If you think leadership is all about status then you may not be cut out to be a leader. In fact even if you equate leadership with making decisions and telling people to do stuff then you have some way to go before you can set your steps firmly on the leadership pathway.

So what does define a leader? What do people have to do to transform themselves from being just someone in charge into someone who exemplifies great leadership? One leadership programme which has stood the test of time is The Leadership Challenge™.  Developed by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, The Leadership Challenge™ is based on over 20 years of research and incorporates case studies from thousands of leaders. Writing in the forward to the second edition Tom Peters said “The Leadership Challenge™ has lasted, I believe, because (1) it is research based, (2) it is practical and (3) it has heart.”

In essence, the research undertaken by Kouzes and Posner revealed that there are five practices or behaviours which characterise exceptional leaders.  They are modelling the way, inspiring a shared vision, challenging the process, enabling others to act and encouraging the heart. To those brought up within a strictly hierarchical and autocratic organisation these five practices may seem counterintuitive but taken together they can result in a strong and flexible organisation in which everyone plays their role to the best of their ability.

Because The Leadership Challenge™ is based on extensive research it incorporates some of the areas which might traditionally be seen as the preserve of leaders as well as moving leadership on from being pure management to people development. So modelling the way and challenging the process mirror areas such as strategy and development whilst inspiring, enabling and encouraging look towards developing the confidence, outlook and abilities of employees.

Key to the success of The Leadership Challenge™ is the development of the personal leadership behaviours of those who are entrusted to lead. Ideally, this should be an ongoing process which starts long before someone is thrust into the position of formal leadership within an organisation. When people are encouraged to develop personal leadership behaviours from the outset and when leadership training and development is linked closely to day-to-day business life then by the time that people are offered a leadership role they will be ready to take on the challenge for the benefit of the organisation and its people.

But the journey doesn’t end there and leadership development should be seen as an ongoing process rather than a finite destination.  Exceptional leaders know that they can only give the best to their organisation if they themselves constantly monitor and develop their behavioural and leadership skills. Is leadership about status? Certainly not, but it is about developing personal skills which will turn shape, guide and develop others. If you’d like to learn more about leadership development then feel free to get in touch at

One Response

  1. Successful companies are the

    Successful companies are the ones that continuously reinvent themselves to stay ahead of the competition and grow. Micro-management and working longer hours will produce a short-term upturn in performance – but it’s not sustainable in the long run.
    Although organisations vary in their offerings, industries, structures and strategic approaches, there is a golden thread of common leadership habits that run amongst the most successful high-performers.
    The development and reinforcement of these fundamental habits is essential for any aspiring business leaders. Become competent and capable in each of these areas and you’ll be able to accomplish extraordinary results, far faster and easier than your competitors.
    Shameless plug here, but we've just published an eBook that explores some of these "golden" leadership habits. Hopefully you, or other readers will find it of interest; Seven habits of highly-successful training providers
Author Profile Picture
Helen Green

Leadership Collaborator

Read more from Helen Green

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