The Leadership Challenge with Jim Kouzes

Jim Kouzes


Jim Kouzes is the best selling author of the leadership classic, The Leadership Challenge.  Jim explains how an early inspiration by President Kennedy led him to a career in education and an expertise in leadership development. Now in its 6th edition, the book remains a well researched primer on how leaders lead and why people follow them.  Jim explains that his book remains an essential book on leadership because it is evidence based, Is backed by a wealth of data, is simple and easy to understand and laced with great stories.  Research is an essential element of Jim’s approach to leadership, which led he and his partner, Barry Posner, to develop the Five Practices of Essential Leadership.  Jim lays out these practices as modeling the way, inspire a shared vision, challenge the process, enable other to act and encourage the heart – recognize others contributions.  The data Jim and Barry collected was done by a tool known as the Leadership Practices Inventory.  Used for over 30 years, the tool is an empirical means to collect the data used to support the Five Practices.  It is this intensive research that makes Jim’s methods the bedrock for leadership studies.  As part of this research Jim defined the Important leadership Traits based on the initial question of why people willingly follow certain leaders.  He found that four traits were essential to leadership development.  A leader must be honest and trustworthy, possess competence, be inspiring and possess a forward thinking attitude.  Jim notes that his books contain numerous stories of how leaders believed they performed their best.  Jim discovered that almost every story had to do with overcoming an obstacle; leaders performed their best when challenged.  Jim gives an inspiring example to demonstrate this.  If you are interested in leadership, this interview contains a wealth of information from one of the most essential and respected sources on leadership today.

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