When you see a new book by two of the biggest names in leadership, Kouzes and Posner, you can't help but open up the pages to find out about what's new in leadership. The authors of the bestselling book, The Leadership Challenge, pull no punches in revealing the enduring truths about leadership, the real-world issues that leaders are likely to face, and the building blocks leaders need to find success.
This book is a collection of fundamental principles about leadership - lessons that were true 30 years ago, are true today, and will endure 30 years from now. While exploring these principles, Kouzes and Posner outline the 10 truths about leadership. You make a difference, credibility is the foundation of leadership, values drive commitment, focusing on the future sets leaders apart, you can't do it alone, trust rules, challenge is the crucible of greatness, you either lead by example or you don't lead at all, the best leaders are the best learners, and leadership is an affair of the heart.
Two of those 10 truths stood out for me but for very different reasons.
Truth number 6, trust rules, is very timely in today's environment where trust has eroded among company executives. Kouzes and Posner start this chapter with one alarming sentence: "In a 2009 international study, the majority of people surveyed said that they trust a stranger more than they trust their boss." Trust, according to the authors, rules everything from personal credibility and your ability to get things done to your team's cohesiveness or your organization's innovativeness and performance. Read the chapter. I guarantee you will learn something new about yourself or the people who lead you.
Truth number 9, the best leaders are the best learners, answers the million-dollar question: "Are leaders born or made?" According to the authors, leadership can be learned. Anyone can learn to be a better leader as long as she is willing to devote time to continuous learning.
This book provides a very different view of leadership and the enduring principles that have survived the test of time. This book is definitely worth reading. I give it three cups of joe.