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“The Leadership Challenge” by Kouzes and Posner is a guide to leadership development based on years of research. It is a practical guide which discusses five practices of exemplary leadership. Each of the next five blog posts will discuss one of these leadership practices.
The first leadership practice is called Model the Way. The authors say that exemplary leaders know who they are, have a voice, and communicate their beliefs out to others. They truly stand for something and are willing to fight for the beliefs that they espouse. They have values that they hold dear, which they have explored and tested to ensure they truly believe in them. Exemplary leaders also are able to share those values and create agreements and common understanding around them.
Exemplary leaders also Model the Way by setting an example. They follow through on what they say they are going to do, personify the shared values of the group, and spend their time living the values that they espouse. They also teach others to live by these values by confronting critical incidents (e.g. - unexpected events) and reinforcing good behavior.
In the research in their book people chose Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Lincoln as examples of exemplary leaders because they had strong beliefs that they followed through on in order to Model the Way for others.
What values do you espouse? Are you living those values? Are you creating an agreement around those values with others in your organization? Are you modeling the way in your organization?
Monica Thakrar has over 18 years experience in business focused mainly on strategy, change management, leadership development, training and coaching resulting in successful implementations of large scale transformation programs.