A very popular leadership model by Kouzes and Posner, the leadership challenge is widely used globally by MNCs and even local government agencies. It provides good insights and application concepts about leadership.
Leadership by itself is sustainable as it provides solutions in turbulent times and paves the way for innovation, change and growth to an organisation. Research by Kouzes and Posner has shown that the fundamental concepts has remained constant and resilient through times. Leadership happens everywhere – in your family, your social circle, your organisation or even when you are alone. Just as the authors urged, respond to the call of leadership as it is a personal responsibility.
The Leadership Challenge is about how leaders mobilise others to achieve extraordinary outcomes and talks about the practices leaders use to transform values into actions. Values will be the key word here as it helps to define the way you lead. Let’s move into the main body.
Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership.
While each Leadership experience is unique in each individual expression, these 5 behaviours and actions were consistent and identifiable. The following are the key points in the Leadership Challenge Model.
1. MODEL THE WAY
Lead by your own action. To achieve the highest standards, you will have to adhere and upkeep your high standards. However, it is needed to be clear of your own guiding principles to let others know clearly who you are and what values pave the way for your actions. Actions demonstrate deep commitments and your beliefs. Walk the talk.
2. INSPIRE A SHARED VISION
Leaders envision the future by imagining exciting and ennobling possibilities. To make things happen, one has to know what has to happen and that is where imagination has to take place. Visions need to be clear, achievable and be aligned to one’s belief or values clearly because that will be how leaders need to then evoke and inspire the thoughts of others. Inspire stirs the inner desires. Set the direction clear.
3. CHALLENGE THE PROCESS
Status quo is dangerous for leaders. To be stagnant means there is no growth and this is not a desirable outcome for organisations. Leaders challenge the process constantly and build resilience to the team. The challenge could be a product, a situation, a business decision, a policy or even mean dealing with disruptions or unrest. Similar case studies have shown that leaders who constantly challenge the process build strong teams who are geared to overcome fear and uncertainty. Never rest on laurels.
4. ENABLE OTHERS TO ACT
Lead by empowering those around you. No leader has become successful going solo. To foster collaboration by building trust and facilitating relationships helps a leader to create the sense of teamwork as their identity. Helping the team and each individual to act and achieve results make them competent, independent and strengthen their confidence. When people feel like that they are most likely to use their energies to produce extraordinary results! Through this, Leaders beget leaders!
5. ENCOURAGE THE HEART
When the going gets tough, the tough gets going. It is important that there is someone that provides encouragement too isn’t it? Recognition is the most powerful currency and it costs nothing! The heart motivates your mind to move your body. The Leader is responsible for its team and moves them through appreciation and celebrating values, victories by creating a spirit of community. Encourage the heart to build a strong sense of collective identity. Working wonders in turbulent times.
The above 5 practices summarizes the Leadership Challenge model which has been derived from Leadership practices where Leaders were at their personal best. As an all-time favourite book to read and a model to live out your life as a leader, let’s move on and out of autocracy and into the challenge to build higher performance teams!