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Developing, nurturing, and empowering—this is you at your personal best as a coach, consultant, facilitator, or human resource professional. Anyone can learn to be a great leader—young people in high school and youth groups, undergraduates and graduate students, and executives advancing along their personal leadership journey.
Unfortunately, this scene is playing out in more and more businesses, government agencies, and in public spaces around the country. The chaos of the times seems to present a new disaster every week, plunging leaders who may be top-notch performers under normal operations into a world of chaos and expectations — situations they are both unequipped to handle and also prone to make well-meaning yet disastrous decisions in the heat of the moment. Leadership in a crisis situation is very different from leadership in a time of normal conditions.
The organizational operating models that provide the baseline for a smooth-running enterprise during normal times evaporate during a crisis, throwing the leadership into a morass of uncertainty and chaos. Tension and stress: In any crisis, leaders are thrust into a stressful and tense environment that puts them under enormous psychological, mental, and physical strain. Speed: Everything may initially happen at warp speed, giving little time for thoughtful consideration or consultation. Personnel: The right people may not be available to respond to the crisis, resulting in untrained and inexperienced leaders being called upon to step into the chaos. Stakeholders: The list of stakeholders will rapidly expand, bringing in to play new channels of communication, new expectations, and new players--all simultaneously.
Communication: The normal channels of communication may not be operative or may be overloaded, requiring new channels and protocols that must be quickly mastered.
Media: The leader in crisis has the media spotlight suddenly amplified, all waiting to report and find fault.
Understanding the impact a crisis has on the leader is critical to stepping up to the podium as an instructor or facilitator. Experiential: Provide your audience with an example of a crisis that is as real as possible, addressing as many of the above impacts as appropriate. Do your homework: Each organization has different stress points and leadership expectations. Case studies: Actual events that make the point and are relevant to the organization in training are invaluable. Applying the lessons of The Leadership Challenge to a crisis becomes a matter of common sense.
Model the Way: In my experience as a leader in business and the military, the quickest way to lose your leadership credentials is to not demonstrate balance in a crisis. Challenge the Process: The organizational processes are stressed in any crisis and may become dysfunctional. Enable Others to Act: In a crisis, much more than in normal operations, effective partnerships are critical to the success. Encourage the Heart: Taking care of the response staff is not much different in a crisis as in normal operating situations. It is critical for a leader to be aware as the environment becomes dysfunctional or begins to stabilize.
Gordon Meriwether, a retired Navy Captain, is the Founder of The Uriah Group, a crisis leadership consultancy. NOTE: We are currently investigating the viability of Leadership Challenge materials geared specifically for crisis situations and crisis-response professions. Learning Leadership: The Five Fundamentals of Becoming an Exemplary Leader is about to hit bookstores and retailers everywhere, with expected delivery around May 2nd.
Although this NYT piece was published nearly a year ago, I found it as current and relevant as ever.
Are energized by love (remember how Jim often closes his speeches, revealing the secret to success in life). It’s the New Year and a perfect time to consider what it means to be a truly great leader. Participants had opportunities to network with individuals from various nonprofits in the Sonoma Valley and, overall, everyone came away from the experience having found deep and meaningful takeaways that will enrich their lives going forward. The Masters Give Back program is an opportunity for facilitators of The Leadership Challenge to enrich the lives of individuals and communities, supported by the generosity of John Wiley and Sons. La Luz Center, a Jefferson Foundation Award recipient, is a nonprofit and the only organization serving the Latino community in Sonoma, providing English language training, teaching computer skills, distributing food, hosting medical services, offering crisis counseling, and supporting events that celebrate the richness of the multicultural community.
There are millions of people leading in civic, social, and community service organizations.
The Leadership Challenge continues to expand across the globe, changing the lives of leaders and their organizations. Together with our event co-sponsor, Social Enterprise Summit (SES), we recently welcomed 21 leaders from Hong Kong-based NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and not-for-profits at our inaugural Masters Give Back program. In addition to the benefits participants received, our Masters Give Back program also provided a great learning opportunity for me. This important first-ever Masters Give Back program provided the participating nonprofit leaders a chance to devote time to their own leadership; it also provided them with the opportunity to build community. Terence Yeung, a Certified Master-in-Training, is Managing Director of TACSEN Management Consultants Limited, a Global Training Partner of The Leadership Challenge. For people to understand and come to agree with values, they must participate in the process.
Ask a team member or constituent to recount how a shared value was recently demonstrated and publish the audio podcast. We recently released a new report, Bringing the Rigor of Research to the Art of Leadership that reflects data gathered through December 2014 (including LPI Online data gathered since 2004).
As the Percentile Ranking page of the LPI Feedback Report explains, the leaders and observers who make up the LPI database include a mix of males and females (approximately 55% male, 45% female). The percentile rankings are benchmarking numbers, determined by the percentage of people who scored at or below a given number. Barry Posner is the Accolti Endowed Professor of Leadership at the Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University, where he served as Dean for 12 years.
People who are committed to cultivating solid, trust-based relationships with those they lead must simply set that fear aside and live out of the belief that there is a direct connection between our contribution to other people’s success and our own. What could our work environments look like if we committed to creating open, generous relationships where a focus on developing others becomes our hallmark? Amy Savage is co-founder and managing partner of Fine Points, a Leadership Challenge® Global Training Partner that is committed to helping others increase their influence by changing their leadership behavior. A: Perhaps the simplest way to make the distinction between these two terms is to say that evidence is what is discovered from doing research.
When we conduct research, we critically investigate or experiment with the aim of discovering new facts, revising existing theories, or making practical applications of new ideas. Something that is research-based, then, has been developed through a process of investigation, inquiry or experimentation. The items for the LPI were derived by recording specific one-sentence statements of behavior described in the Personal-Best Leadership Experiences.

Jim Kouzes is the Dean’s Executive Fellow of Leadership, Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University. The LPI indicated low frequency in Encourage the Heart behaviors, which came as no surprise to Luis. For Luis, his first introduction to The Leadership Challenge was nothing less than an opportunity to find himself, to see things from a different perspective.
To give others an opportunity to see themselves as leaders early on, and to help them understand what it means to be a leader, Luis founded a small, nonprofit entity with a two-fold purpose: award college scholarships to children of migrant farm workers and also teach them leadership skills.
The first group of eight students to participate in Luis’ leadership club recently graduated from college. Inspired and energized by both his personal experience and his work with high school students, Luis didn’t stop there.
Routinely, the girls work on leadership skills through experiential activities (see samples here).
Luis believes there are a lot of forces out there working to prevent our youth from becoming better leaders. TD magazine published a case study in the September issue examining how The Leadership Challenge® has helped the teams of Valley Children's Healthcare in central California.
Leaders find the common thread that weaves the fabric of human needs into a colorful tapestry.
While much of the fanfare around the initiatives in King County focused on Lean tools, Norm and Megan observed that after many discrete Kaizen events in RALS in 2010-2011, a continuous improvement mindset and orientation was still lacking in the division.
To begin their transformation, the group zeroed in on culture and enabling behaviors and values. After workshop participants considered best practices and committed to action plans for themselves as leaders, RALS senior management used the experience as a springboard to work on strategic alignment for the division. With a common language of leadership firmly established for leaders at all levels within the RALS division, Norm and Megan turned their attention to other components required to support the new leadership actions.
In addition to identifying opportunities for improvement in their IDPs, leaders were tasked with identifying a specific strength to build upon and share with others. You must have JavaScript enabled in your browser to utilize the functionality of this website.
And leadership can be a powerful tool for good—whether leading a team or developing your individual potential to achieve your personal best. Explore this website to find the tools you need to train and coach aspiring leaders to achieve the extraordinary. If you're in the business of educating emerging leaders, we're here with the evidence-based resources to help you build the foundation for transformative leadership education.
With economic turmoil shattering lives, we can only expect these crises to grow and pose an ever-increasing challenge for leaders.
Even the most minor decision made under these circumstances can result in catastrophic impacts. Without the right people the organization will stumble in normal times, but during a crisis the problems are accentuated exponentially. Suppliers, regulators, families, customers, hospitals, law enforcement will all require a leaders time and interaction. For example, text prepared messages to your audience during the workshop; use relevant, practical organization applications that the audience can identify with, have a roving reporter stress the audience with uncomfortable questions and inquisitions. What creates a crisis in the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is very different from a large multinational conglomerate. A leader in crisis must have the flexibility to adapt to the situation, regardless of the inherent processes of the organization. Although the general rules for leading in a crisis are different, they are not outside the parameters of The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership®. To receive your complimentary copy of the Learning Leadership Journal, place your pre-order for your copy of the book here. It captured my attention, challenged me, and forced me, once again, to consider the very personal and moral nature of leadership. As Brooks describes, "feel fulfilled only when they are enmeshed in a struggle on behalf of some ideal." Jim and Barry's notion that "challenge is the crucible for greatness" supports this point.
While David Brooks is often known as a political pundit, I promise this piece will provide a nice break from the mudslinging that seems to be filling our newspapers and airwaves during this campaign year.
Keep a journal is the advice from Nancy Adler, McGill University professor and friend of The Leadership Challenge®. So, we asked our own Jim Kouzes: What is one of the greatest gifts a leader can give to his or her constituents?
Regular cohort meetings provide an opportunity to continue discussions around their LPI feedback and action steps for moving their leadership development plan forward. Yet, very little research has focused on how they lead or how their leadership practices compare to those leading in other sectors—until now. This is especially true throughout East Asia as leaders in business and industry are finding the power of The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership® essential to making extraordinary things happen. Participants came from a wide variety of social, religious, and charity organizations, including general managers, directors, and other senior leaders from SES (including its Chairman), Hong Kong Council of Social Service, Caritas–Hong Kong, Po Leung Kuk, Friends of Earth, The Hong Kong Society for the Blind, and Church Council.
Being in the commercial sector my entire career, I now have a much deeper appreciation for the differences in how The Five Practices apply in for-profits vs non-profits.
I am happy and grateful that we were able to contribute to the Hong Kong community, and to engage with such inspiring leaders. With 20+ years of experience in business consulting and corporate training, he has helped numerous multinational clients in Hong Kong and China enhance their leadership capabilities. In fact, it is one of the most widely used 360-degree leadership assessment instruments available. They come from all levels within all types of organizations and from 72 countries around the world.
For example, say your leader’s Self score for Challenge the Process is at the 70th percentile line. In addition to our own ongoing research, over 700 studies by other scholars and researchers have been conducted using the LPI as a research instrument and continue to confirm the relationship between The Five Practices and a variety of measurable outcomes such as job satisfaction, employee commitment, and sales performance. I find, both personally and professionally, that I am drawn to those people who are committed to helping me become the best version of myself that I can be. We must have a vision for our own ceilings to become the floors that the people we are developing will someday stand on. Leaders who fully embrace this as part of their leadership philosophy automatically stand out from everyone else because it is such a rarity. Something that is evidence-based has valid and reliable information to support the claims that are made. When we began our initial investigation in the early 1980s, we wanted to know what leaders did when they were at their best. Statements were selected, modified, or discarded following lengthy discussions and iterative feedback sessions with respondents and subject matter experts, as well as through empirical analyses of the behavior-based statements.

The other part continues to examine whether or not frequent use of The Five Practices makes a difference in the workplace and also the extent to which demographic characteristics explain the impact that leaders have. The more frequently leaders demonstrate the behaviors measured by the LPI the higher the workplace engagement. But in reality, they can become leaders just by setting a good example for their friends and families. And he believes that introducing them early to The Leadership Challenge and the essential Practices needed to become an effective leader was extremely helpful in guiding them in that direction. He decided to extend leadership learning to the Pajaro Valley Youth Soccer Club team he coaches.
Speak with at least one individual constituent or team member during the day about your own convictions—about the higher meaning and purpose of your work. As one of his strategic priorities, he also embedded in this ambitious goal the Lean concepts of visible leadership, respect for people, and support of continuous improvement. And in 2012, Division Director Norm Alberg and Deputy Director Megan Pedersen gathered together other members of the leadership team to begin their quest to dramatically change how they went about providing for the needs of the residents of the region.
Acknowledging that something else needed to be done, they sought the expertise of Integris Performance Advisors to build a broader, more holistic view of continuous improvement—a systemic approach that would help the division evolve from simply doing large-scale value stream mapping events to rooting every aspect of their operation in continuous improvement methodology. Seeking to Encourage the Heart, Norm and Megan felt it was important for leaders’ individual development that they not only focus on improving weaknesses but also on leveraging and enhancing what they were already doing well.
But based on my teaching experience, all leaders in government and industry would find the tools useful and provide the foundation for responding to and recovering from any crisis.
The more complex a leader makes a solution in a crisis the less likely success will be the end result. I have even hit plastic golf balls into the audience to add a little tension and stress to the workshop. Teaching leadership in crisis without understanding the organization will certainly undermine the effectiveness of the workshop.
In the Navy we call it "losing the bubble"; not being aware of the tactical situation at sea can cost lives. A leader in crisis needs to be more aware of the physical, psychological, and mental condition of the team.
Barry Posner, our own eminent researcher and author, sheds light on what, if any, unique leadership practices occur when both leaders and followers are volunteers. And for the very first time, thanks to the generosity of the team at Wiley, I and my colleagues at TACSEN had the good fortune to bring the rich experience of The Leadership Challenge to aspiring leaders in the Hong Kong nonprofit community— to bring corporate quality leadership training to those who could not afford it on their own. For example, I see how NGOs approach risk assessment and risk taking very differently from other commercial organizations I have encountered.
It means that his or her score (use of the six behaviors) is higher in that Practice than 70 percent of all the scores in the database—in the top 30% for that Practice. As you discover new, innovative, or more productive ways of doing things, post the most appropriate findings and encourage others to comment or post their own ideas. People are more likely to hold their knowledge and expertise close to the chest in an effort to preserve their own status and positions. Relationships flourish when people sense that we are authentically investing in them— not to get something from them but simply to see them reach their highest potential. People flock to leaders who genuinely care about and are truly committed to seeing others become all they can be, even if it means those people someday surpass them in some way. We created a research protocol that we called the Personal-Best Leadership Experience questionnaire. And, it doesn’t matter if the leaders or constituents are young or old, male or female, from one country or another, at senior levels or on the front line, or have any of the other demographic characteristics.
What did surprise him was learning how important and essential these behaviors were for leaders. The girls on his team, now 13 years old, have been getting leadership lessons for three years and Luis has seen a real impact.
Recently Luis also was instrumental in getting a grant for the soccer club to bring leadership development opportunities to more teams.
And he found his vision: to bring leadership awareness and opportunities to youth in his community.
Make notes about your conversation and consider how you might use what you learned to motivate others to a higher level of work. To employees this means ensuring that their job survives, while an executive worries about stopping the revenue loss. An operative that has been controlling an evacuation for 12 hours straight may need time out to regroup. And even though one leadership style does not fit all, when it comes to dealing with a crisis situation, we are fortunate to have a guide like The Leadership Challenge to serve as the foundation of organizational crisis response and recovery. I'm referring to a New York Times Op-Ed column by David Brooks, titled The Moral Bucket List—a piece that was adapted from his 2015 book, The Road to Character. And everything a leader does impacts his or her ability to rally the organization around a common set of values. They care deeply about seeing me succeed and make the best contribution I can to my family, my company, and the world.
And we continue to work to improve the validity and reliability of the instrument through ongoing research.
Coaches are now being trained and a program has been developed to give all youth soccer players age 11-15 access to this learning. If you are not going to make it real, they can read a book and not get the leadership crisis experience. Are you that type of leader, the one who asks why and encourages others to follow your lead? A second set of questions that LPI respondents voluntarily complete are about nine demographic variables. While coming too late to prevent a divorce, Luis’ new approach would later lead to reconciliation with his wife and a remarriage when she saw the dramatic behavior changes he had made.
As in most sports and work settings, the most important contributor to success is our ability to engage with other people. And for that, they turned to The Leadership Challenge and the evidence-based research of the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership® that served as a framework for creating new expectations for how leaders in the organization should behave. We also conducted in-depth, face-to-face and telephone interviews and those now number over 500.
And developing the skills of leadership at a young age can really help strengthen the interaction among players and, as a result, deepen the respect they have for one another's strengths and areas of opportunities.

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