Kouzes & Posner's Leadership Model
A leader can be defined as a person who has followers. Good leaders must make decisions that significantly impact businesses, communities, and countries. How can one distinguish great leaders from poor leaders? Leaders such as Elon Musk, Richard Branson, and Warren Buffet have led their companies to success through their excellent leadership qualities. Which qualities do these people have in common? Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner embarked on a research project on leadership in 1983 to answer this question and determine what others did to be the best leaders. The two interviewed top leaders and issued over 500 surveys. Finally, they compiled their findings in their book, The Leadership Challenge. The results showed that regardless of age, gender, culture, or other factors, leaders were at their personal best when they exhibited certain behaviors. Kouzes and Posner's leadership challenge discuss these behaviors in detail in a model known as the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership. Kouzes and Posner's leadership model is widely recognized by researchers and applied in business.
Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership
In their research, Kouzes and Posner discovered that leaders who did extraordinary things had five behaviors in common. They developed a leadership assessment tool known as the Leadership Practices Inventory from those identified practices. Leaders can use this tool to evaluate themselves and understand how certain behaviors impact their leadership styles. The five practices of exemplary leadership are discussed in detail below.
1. Model the Way
Transformational leaders become role models by acting as they expect others to do. When leaders model the way, they set an example that other people can follow. Leaders need first to articulate their vision, principles, beliefs, morals, and standards to succeed in an organization. Rather than only giving speeches on values, they should use actions to show how serious they are regarding what they want others to do. An example of a model the way leadership is when a leader jumps in and shows a certain vision through actions. Transformational leaders use their daily actions to set examples and show commitment to the values they intend to relay.
In another example, Casey, a CEO of a successful company, learns that she can help her subordinates be more effective by giving weekly reports on their progress and activities. She starts by writing her weekly report, which she uses as an example to show the employees what she expects.
2. Inspire a Shared Vision
Successful leaders are able to motivate and inspire their followers. They make personal sacrifices and work for long hours to inspire others to do the same. They visualize the future and inspire followers to take part in achieving a set goal. Through this practice, transformational leaders make all people commit to achieving a common vision. Inspiring a shared vision is not meant to establish a leader's power. It is also not meant to help leaders gain many followers or spark interest and commitment. Instead, it keeps the followers always excited through positive language and an energetic approach.
If Casey wants to increase her company's profitability by more than double, she should start by engaging the employees in coming up with that vision. Unity of purpose is forged when leaders engage their followers in coming up with a vision. Rather than commanding commitment, she should inspire her subordinates through motivation and positive energy.
3. Challenge the Process
A leader looks for innovative ways to improve or change the organization by challenging the process. Rather than accepting the status quo, they challenge the process, question the norms, and take chances. They also persuade the subordinates to embrace the same practice in the process. They use what has already been achieved as a springboard to achieve even better results. These leaders are always ready to take the risks that come with experimenting. This means that they are also ready to make mistakes and learn from them. Rather than punishing people when they fail, they encourage them to try more. Transformational leaders are also prepared to accept their mistakes and not blame others.
For example, Casey learns that competition in the marketplace has become stiff due to competitors developing superior products. To cope with the competition, she starts creating ideas for new products. She also challenges others to develop better ideas, and once subordinates do, she is willing to support them. In addition, she allows them to experiment and make mistakes.
4. Enable Others to Act
Exemplary leaders know that they cannot do extraordinary things for themselves. Instead, they seek team effort. They empower others to make decisions and participate in the planning process. An example of enabling others to act is when a restaurant manager encourages subordinates to address complaints themselves. Doing so offers the subordinates an opportunity to perform their duties with enthusiasm, thus unlocking their potential. Such leaders also ensure a trustworthy environment that allows others to demonstrate their capabilities and have a sense of belonging.
Casey learns that the customers have been complaining due to the quality of the product. Rather than trying to address all the challenges herself, she engages the salespersons to understand the root cause. She encourages them to come up with solutions, allows them to guide the development team on how to improve the products, and assigns them roles to supervise the process. When improvements are realized, she always gives credit to the team.
5. Encourage the Heart
The final practice is to encourage the heart. As people progress, they can face frustrations, setbacks, and exhaustion. This can tempt them to give up. Exemplary leaders recognize that a team has to stay motivated to perform well. Hence, the leaders use recognition and rewards to motivate their subordinates. They celebrate the achievements of the teams, which makes them develop a sense of belonging. In addition, they create a culture of interdependence by making people trust each other.
As the CEO, Casey organizes one-on-one talks during which people discuss the tasks at hand, including unappealing ones. During these discussions, she invites them to make suggestions and create career goals. She also ensures that people socialize and learn in groups to create an environment of trust. When team members achieve the set goals, she documents their progress and celebrates them publicly by rewarding them.
A leader is a person who has followers. Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner studied the top leaders of successful organizations and noticed that certain behaviors are common. Their book, The Leadership Challenge discusses the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership. These practices make up the Leadership Practices Inventory, a tool that leaders can use to assess how certain practices affect their leadership styles.
The first practice is to model the way. Transformational leaders always set an example for others to follow and act as they expect others to. An example is when a leader steps in and uses actions to relay a certain vision. The second practice is to inspire a shared vision. Great leaders visualize the future and inspire others to participate in achieving the vision. Inspiring a shared vision is not used to establish the power of a leader. It is also not used in gaining many followers nor sparking interest to get a commitment. Rather, it is used to keep the followers always excited. The third practice is to challenge the process. This entails defying the norms, challenging the process, and looking for innovative ways to bring change to an organization. The fourth practice in the model is to enable others to act. Instead of doing everything by themselves, great leaders allow others to participate and make decisions. An example is when a restaurant manager encourages employees to handle complaints themselves. The last practice in the model is to encourage the heart. When employees suffer setbacks and frustrations, they can have thoughts of quitting. Great leaders create a culture of trust and interdependence among employees. They also motivate and reward them once they achieve set objectives.
To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account
What five qualities must an effective leader have, according to Kouzes and Posner?
According to Kouzes and Posner, the five qualities of effective leaders include:
- Model the way
- Inspire a shared vision
- Challenge the process
- Enable others to act
- Encourage the heart
What does it mean to model the way in leadership?
Leaders can model the way by setting an example. This means that they should be willing to use actions to demonstrate what they expect from others. They should also use their actions to show commitment and relay certain values.
How do you demonstrate exemplary leadership?
For leaders to demonstrate exemplary leadership, they should set an example for others to follow. They should also focus on the future and make the subordinates participate in achieving the vision. Demonstrating great leadership also requires challenging the norms, being innovative, and encouraging others to be innovative.
Who devised the five practices of exemplary leadership?
Kouzes and Posner devised the practices after carrying out research to determine behaviors that are common among great leaders when they are at their personal best. They issued over 500 surveys and interviewed many top leaders during their research. Finally, they wrote their book titled "The Leadership Challenge," in which they described the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership.
Register to view this lesson
Unlock Your Education
See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com
Become a Study.com member and start learning now.Become a Member
Already a member? Log InBack
Resources created by teachers for teachers
I would definitely recommend Study.com to my colleagues. It’s like a teacher waved a magic wand and did the work for me. I feel like it’s a lifeline.