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The Ten Commitments Of Leadership

Kouzes, James M. and Posner, Barry Z., The Leadership Challenge (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1995, a revision of the first edition published in 1987). This is one of the best “hands on” books on the practices of leadership drawn from hundreds of interviews and thousands of surveys taken from business leaders in the US and elsewhere over the past nearly twenty years. Though this book is written from a business perspective, it has much for leaders in other disciplines if they will take the time to translate it from the business arena to their field of endeavor.

Authors Kouzes and Posner, professors of business at the University of Santa Clara at the time of their writing, have summarized their research in the following chart. I show the chart as an overview, and then we will discuss the implications of their thinking in small groups.

According to Kouzes and Posner, there are five fundamental practices of leadership (summarized under the heading of practices) and ten commitments of leadership, two for each practice (summarized under the heading of commitments).



Challenging the Process

Inspiring a Shared Vision

Enabling Others to Act

Modeling the Way

Encouraging the Heart

Search out challenging opportunities to change, grow, innovate, and improve

Experiment, take risks, and learn from mistakes

Envision an uplifting and enabling future

Enlist others in a common vision by appealing to their values, interests, hopes, and dreams

Foster collaboration by promoting cooperative goals and building trust

Strengthen people by giving power away, providing choice, developing competence, assigning critical tasks, and offering visible support

Set the example by behaving in ways that are consistent with shared values

Achieve small wins that promote consistent progress and build commitment

Recognize individual contributions to the success of every effort

Celebrate team accomplishments regularly

Related Topics: Leadership