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Exemplary Leadership

Key Idea

Based on rigorous research, James Kouzes and Barry Posner offer five practices (or patterns) that mark the “exemplary leader.” While leaders may possess different personalities and strengths, all exemplary leaders display these five practices on a consistent basis.  

Book to Read

The Leadership Challenge 
by James Kouzes and Barry Posner (2007, 4th Edition)

Quick Take from the Book

The five practices of an exemplary leader: 

  1. Model the way.
  2. Inspire a shared vision.
  3. Challenge the process.
  4. Enable others to act.
  5. Encourage the heart.

Quote of Note 

"All leaders are severely tested, and there will always be detractors – those who tell you it’s impossible, that it can’t be done, that you’re not capable, and that your dream is foolish. The truth is that challenge is the crucible for greatness. Despite the obstacles and despite the naysayers, you just have to go out there and do it. You have to make mistakes, bounce back, and persist. And the truth is also that you either lead by example or you don’t lead at all. You have to go first as a leader. You have to be the example that others can follow."
— From The Truth About Leadership by James Kouzes and Barry Posner (2010) 

Related Styles: Transformational Leadership

Return to List of Leadership Styles