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. Q: If people want to assess their own abilities as leaders, how do you suggest they get started?
Before you can assess your capability as a leader, you first need a framework that is evidence-based and has support from research. With that feedback in mind, I'd suggest you set improvement goals and engage in learning activities specifically designed to reach those goals.
Another important point about developing expertise is that you have to practice a lot to become an expert. Jim Kouzes is the Dean's Executive Fellow of Leadership, Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University. Ask the leader to describe a time in his life when he challenged himself or learned a hobby. As LPI coaches, we have the opportunity to be a catalyst for receptive leaders who want to become exemplary. Jo Bell, a Certified Master of The Leadership Challenge® for nearly 30 years, focuses on integrating the LPI and coaching in her work with organizations and leaders to align with business needs and personal leadership growth. In the February issue of this newsletter, we shared some of our experiences putting the power of The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership® to work with The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive TeamTM .
However, as coaches, we recognize that certain behaviors come more easily to some leaders than others.
When leaders complete the Everything DiSC research-validated assessment they get a customized report that helps them discover their own DiSC style—the preferences, motivators, and priorities that drive their behavior when interacting with others.
Now let’s consider the Practice of Challenge the Process, which involves looking outward for innovative ways to improve taking risks.
As a coach, the beauty of using these models together is that you can help leaders understand they will likely need to be more focused, more intentional, and employ more strategies to ensure their innate preferences do not inhibit their progress. Renee Harness is founder of Harness Leadership and a Certified Master for The Leadership Challenge.
Amy Dunn, a Certified Professional Coach and Certified Master-in-Training of The Leadership Challenge, is a member of the Integris Performance Advisors consulting team where she focuses on facilitation, coaching, talent management, team building, and meeting design.
Public managers are adept problem solvers and when tasked with creating a vision, most begin by describing a problem and offering solutions. Our clients work in the public eye, often making presentations to boards and citizen groups. It takes time and practice to truly become effective at Inspiring a Shared Vision, and participants describe this is an uncomfortable exercise and a stretch, but well worth the effort. Public leaders also talk about the risks associated with the rapidly changing and complex environment in which they operate. Donna Warner is a Certified Master-in-Training of The Leadership Challenge and Director, Local Elected Leaders Academy, School of Government at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill where she teaches management and leadership to city and county managers, department heads, chief district court judges, and local elected leaders.
Help your next group of leaders fully realize the importance of creating a clear mental image of their vision in order to achieve their goals with this experiential Blind Square. 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). Five facilitators may sound like a challenge for a one-day The Leadership Challenge® Workshop.
We were delighted that the non-profit leaders had such a meaningful experience, and also by how much we learned from each other as co-facilitators. Larry Murphy shared with us how he grew up watching his cousins and brothers come home from their deployments with the Marines in their dress blues. Amy Savage shared a personal example of breathing life into our visions by telling her adopted son’s story of growing up in Ethiopia drinking dirty water, losing his little brother to water-borne illness, coming to the United States with his body filled with parasites, which resulted in his passion for ending the global water crisis.
Bill Mugavin challenged a training team he was leading to transition from a traditional training model (order takers) to a true business-partnering model (trusted advisors). Cheryl Johnson went to share a quiet dinner with her husband at a special restaurant when a woman working at the restaurant approached them excitedly shouting “Oh, Mr. Evans Kerrigan shared a story of a manager who brought the Practice of Encourage the Heart back to his workplace. The power of community and reinvigorating ourselves by collaborating with others cannot be overstated.
One program that works exceptionally well in this regard is Patrick Lencioni’s The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive TeamTM.
The Five Behaviors model, depicted here, describes the essential elements required for cohesive teams.
The fundamental ideas are that teams must build trust, which enables productive and healthy conflict that leads to commitment and accountability, culminating in superior results. And while The Five Behaviors model stresses the importance of the dynamic between team members, there is a clear acknowledgement that the leader plays a critical role.
Using this approach with a variety of clients, we have found many connections that resonate with leaders. As authors Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner frequently remind us, above all else leadership is a relationship—a relationship between those who aspire to lead and those who choose to follow. The Five Behaviors model also stresses the importance of the quality of relationships, in this case specifically between and among team members.
Likewise, in The Five Behaviors model, trust is the foundation upon which team effectiveness is built. A core principle of The Five Practices, then, is that it is the leader that sets the tone and creates the environment where people can engage with one another in this way. Candid feedback and insight are key components of both The Leadership Challenge and The Five Behaviors programs as they share the belief that we can only improve when we receive and accept the benefits that feedback offers. The style differences we began to see when adding in the DiSC® component of The Five Behaviors program with The Leadership Challenge caught our attention. It’s the New Year and a perfect time to consider what it means to be a truly great leader. School on Wheels provides one-on-one tutoring and educational advocacy for school-aged children experiencing homelessness. We in The Leadership Challenge community must have faith that what we are doing is making a difference.
Bill Mugavin, CPLP and a Certified-Master-in-Training of The Leadership Challenge, is a consultant at FlashPoint, a Global Training Partner of The Leadership Challenge committed to ensuring that leaders learn practical skills and improve leadership effectiveness—and that the organizations they serve see a strong return on investment. Cheryl Johnson, Assistant Director of Human Resources, Employee Development at Santa Clara University (SCU), has been using The Leadership Challenge as a facilitator and coach with SCU leaders since 2008.
Larry Murphy, Jr., a Certified Facilitator and Certified Master-In-Training of The Leadership Challenge, is a training specialist at the Department of Defense Office of the Inspector General. 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.
As we know, Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner have consistently emphasized that leadership is learned. Headquartered in Philadelphia, ECFMG evaluates the qualifications of international physicians for entry into U.S.
The genesis of this new LIEB Works initiative can be traced back to a LIEB Workshop held in 2011 in which participants were exploring behaviors that exemplify each of The Five Practices. A line-item within HR’s budget was approved, giving participants three paid lunch hours per month to participate in committee work without the worry of overtime or any impact on their actual jobs.
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. The model we derived from our extensive research on Personal-Best Leadership Experiences is The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership®, and the tool we developed to measure the extent to which leaders engage in these practices is the 30-item Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI).

If you compare experts to average performers, the research suggests that experts log about twice as many hours compared to those who are average. Together with Barry Posner, he is author of The Leadership Challenge and over a thirty other books and workbooks on leadership and leadership development.
What do the frequencies for each behavior suggest about how amenable this person might be to new ideas, new ways of practicing the behaviors necessary to become a more effective leader?
Ask the leader to describe what he expects of you as the coach in terms of your role and commitment. As a coach and mentor, she brings years of interpretive research and coaching expertise in using the LPI as a compass for leadership evolution.
Every leader is in control of whether and how often they do or do not exhibit the behaviors.
Perhaps that’s a result of the values they were raised with, the strengths their high-impact role models demonstrated, or their own experience of works for them. Because people with a Conscientiousness style tend to value accuracy, stability, and precision, these risk-taking behaviors can feel very uncomfortable.
D Style leaders can absolutely excel at both Enable Others to Act and Encourage The Heart and C Style leaders can engage frequently in Challenge the Process behaviors. There is strong value in the combined power of the internal and external views offered by DiSC and LPI respectively. Her leadership journey has included helping leaders at Charles Schwab and Company, Roche Diagnostics and in her own consulting practice to fully engage those around them. But the reality is that public officials cannot lead in exactly the same way as those in the private sector.
In 2010, the School of Government adopted The Leadership Challenge as the framework for teaching leadership because of its behavior- based approach, validity, and the fact that The Five Practices are easy to recall and apply. While this skill is very valuable in getting things done, this specific practice requires building a different skill. So when we introduce learners to Inspire a Shared Vision, in addition to helping them learn how to create a vision, we use this opportunity to help them learn how to effectively communicate that vision to others by providing training on public speaking. Unlike in private business, government programs and services are guided by federal, state, and local legislation and interrelated in ways that few outside the public sector fully understand.
In addition, conducts planning and board retreats for multiple North Carolina municipalities and counties. 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. But with pre-planning and a focus on service, we were able to deliver a smooth, engaging experience for these members of the non-profit community. Each of us utilizes The Leadership Challenge differently in our individual work, so it was a great opportunity for us to expand our knowledge as we watched each other deliver content in unexpected and fresh ways. As he listened to stories of their time in the Marines and all the opportunities and responsibilities they had, he became more and more convinced that he wanted to follow their example.
Tariku now gives up his birthday to raise money for clean water initiatives in Africa and has raised close to $30,000 since coming to the United States five years ago, bringing clean water to hundreds of families who wouldn’t have had it otherwise. Eddie modeled the behavior of recognition and set up a program based on the rewards table in the workshop, allowing team members to recognize each other for outstanding work. Both of us, Evans and Amy, are Managing Partners of two different companies that in reality compete in the same space of leadership development. While The Five Practices model describes specific behaviors exemplary leaders engage in to drive superior performance and results, The Five Behaviors model describes behaviors effective teams engage in to accomplish those same goals. Teams that do this well make better decisions, reduce political strife and infighting, and have more fun—achieving great things in the process. To get things done in organizations today, people need to collaborate, and collaboration is all about relationships.
In fact, the team facilitation process that is part of this program includes a number of techniques designed specifically to deepen the quality of the connection between team members.
Each member of the team, including the leader, is asked to share a few things about his or her childhood, including an important or unique challenge they faced growing up. For example, results from the LPI 360 provide leaders with a comprehensive view of how frequently others observe them demonstrating the behaviors associated with exemplary leadership.
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?
We need to know that the time we spend with people will have an impact on their lives after they go through The Leadership Challenge experience. 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.
During a breakout session one participant shared his vision to increase recycling within the organization. That’s when they decided to again Challenge the Process, approaching Human Resources (HR) to propose that the group become something more formal within the organization. This Encourages the Heart as everyone now has the opportunity to gain leadership experience without being in a leadership role! In addition, ground rules were established requiring both employees and their managers to sign the guidelines, signifying the manager’s agreement that the employee has been identified as a high potential who could benefit greatly from this leadership experience and practice. Participants also learn what it takes to Encourage Others to Act—to take that jump from follower to leader. It's a 360-degree assessment tool, but you can get started by completing just the Self-only form.
You also can learn by observing others who've mastered leadership, by reading, or by just jumping in and experimenting with new behaviors.
So in that vein, one final suggestion would be to follow our mantra: practice, practice, practice. One synergy we cited is the shared fundamental belief that to improve performance leaders and teams need feedback. The Everything DiSC model, featured below, displays the high-level personality characteristics of each style. As you look at the DiSC style descriptors above, you might conclude that leaders with the Dominance style may have difficulty with these behaviors.
They ask lots of detailed, analytic questions about new ideas and tend to want lots of time to make decisions and assess risks. From the start, context has been at the forefront of the instructional design approach we used to create our curriculum. Making a change or perceived improvement to one part of a system can have unforeseen consequences to the other. In fact, one of the benefits to having five of us participate was that we were able to embed facilitators at each table to engage in discussions and further the learning experience with the participants.
Yet, we were able to set that completely aside, and share ideas and stories openly and generously with each other and the group in a true spirit of fellowship. For example, many of the other high-quality leadership programs available today focus on one or two of The Five Practices. So when we work with clients that have needs around leader and team development, we have found tremendous value in integrating the concepts of both models and programs. It is leaders who set the tone for how well their teams will embrace and harness the power of true collaboration.
In particular, the approach emphasizes building trust to facilitate effective relationships.
When team members trust one another in this way, they can be open about failures, mistakes, and fears. Invariably, even in a short period of an hour, people who may be very guarded at work share some deeply personal experiences -- incidences of bullying, feelings of loneliness, or memories of an extremely happy childhood—that, in the end, promote understanding, compassion, and connection even between teammates who were previously distrustful or even hostile toward one another. If the leader shares in a genuine and vulnerable way, it is much more likely that the rest of the team will feel safe to do the same. Tutors in Action uses nearly 400 volunteers, and partners with nine shelter locations and four public schools to provide academic intervention programs to students in grades K–12 up to four times each week. To illustrate to the group how she helped her colleague turn the situation around, Karen chose an image from the Visual Explorer card deck that was supplied for the activity that pictured a drop of water hitting the surface of a pond.

While it is always the leader's choice as to whether or not to apply what they learn during the experience, it's our role to share the experience with open ears and open hearts. 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. The facilitators explained that while he was not a manager, he still had the ability to make a difference and encouraged him to Challenge the Process—to seize the initiative and work to bring his vision to life.
During monthly committee meetings, members learn and practice new skills, such as creating agendas and budgets, developing collaboration, facilitating meetings, challenging others professionally, public speaking, and proposing ideas to upper management. Eventually you'll want to get feedback from your key constituents: your manager, peers, direct reports, and other observers. It doesn't matter how you learn, but you do need to set goals, pick a method for learning, follow it, and get more feedback. DiSC is an internal lens that helps leaders appreciate how their innate preferences, tendencies, motivations, and stressors may shape their typical behaviors—including those measured by the LPI.
They don’t need permission from a boss, or any special DNA-based qualities to lead effectively.
In our programs at North Carolina, we teach leaders and managers to clarify their own values and assess how those values guide their behaviors in a variety of settings with diffuse power. This practice especially benefits those public managers who work with governing boards that do not have a long-term vision for their communities.
Therefore, we have found it effective to reinforce with managers the importance of continually looking for ways to improve operations, and benchmark what they are doing with others. 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. Trainers made sincere and concerted efforts to deepen their relationships with operations managers because they knew that without strong relationships they could never earn the right to be considered trusted advisors. Thanks to the investment Cheryl and her husband made in Lion’s Club (an organization that helps people see and hear), she was able to get the glasses she needed and get a job. All of us are committed to seeing The Leadership Challenge change people and organizations for the better.
Our typical approach involves starting with The Leadership Challenge to get the organization’s leaders grounded in the fundamentals of leadership. It reduces time-wasting politics and increases the likelihood that results will be achieved. As counter-intuitive as it seems to many leaders, their ability to be vulnerable and admit mistakes can make them more credible and influential. So watch for a follow-up article in an upcoming issue of this newsletter in which we’ll share tips on how to leverage the power of the LPI with the insights derived from Everything DiSC solutions to coach and develop leaders. Ignite Learning is a program dedicated to engaging the parents of these students, helping them to become the best advocates for their child’s education. Most impending problems manage to give you an indication that something is amiss before they become unmanageable. By demonstrating our caring and belief in them, we can empower leaders to Inspire a Shared Vision with the same power and conviction as Karen…and that, too, will have an impact felt by generations to come. Through committee-based initiatives, participants have the opportunity to practice their newly learned leadership skills while also benefiting the organization with creative programs that bring The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership® to their colleagues. So together with one fellow workshop participant, he began to Inspire a Shared Vision with other LIEB graduates. I find that leaders who have frequencies in this range will most likely be more open to learning and attentive to what they can do to develop further in these key areas. Everything DiSC is a personality assessment tool that measures behavioral preferences and tendencies. The combined insights can accelerate the outcomes a leader achieves from a coaching partnership. Being the best leaders they can be is much more about awareness, intention, focus, and practice. Unlike many organizations in the private sector business world, government does not have one person at the top whose values dictate organizational direction. Absent a vision from the board, public employees look to their departmental or organizational leaders to provide a sense of mission and purpose.
In particular, governmental managers and leaders we work with acknowledge that their willingness to take risk is tempered by the knowledge they are using the public’s money. In fact, the idea of generating small wins especially resonates with our leaders as they frequently find it difficult to gain consensus from governing boards and others to make big changes to programs. Those who apply this practice offer rewarding stories of heartwarming and unanticipated consequences. The online process implementation was a success, and because the team continued to challenge and fine-tune their process one small win at a time, they received organization-wide recognition for the value they added to the business.
Her life was changed profoundly because Cheryl and Harry could see the possibilities that a pair of lenses opened up for people.
Even the ones who were initially reluctant have started actively remembering to recognize each other’s efforts. It was enriching for each of us CMTs to grow together as we saw the collective wisdom in the room come to life during the process of working together for this Masters Give Back program. When constituents trust a leader they are more willing to accept his or her influence, take risks, and accept challenges.
Karen and her team work to resolve the seemingly unmanageable education problems of children experiencing homelessness by keeping their eyes open and firmly set on their vision, and more importantly, by keeping their hearts forever open to those whom they serve. Dedicated to fostering a culture of leadership, ECFMG searches for innovative ways to build leaders, especially at the frontlines.
Ultimately, a group of seven employees started meeting casually during lunch to identify small wins to improve ECFMG’s efforts to become more environmentally responsible through its recycling program.
From that you'll get a profile of how frequently you engage in effective leader behaviors and a sense of where you're strong and where you need improvement. But make sure you pay as much attention to the activity and the technique as you do to the outcome.
On the other hand, leaders whose frequencies for these behaviors are less than 7.0 may require a more unique approach to ensure that they are actively engaged in the process and more receptive to receiving and interpreting the valuable feedback the LPI provides. We remind leaders that, after all, they are already leading—perhaps just not frequently enough.
And their desire to get to results quickly may make others feel like their views were not fully considered.
And for over 85 years, the School of Government at the University of North Carolina has worked with clients to help them understand the distinctions between the two and to fully appreciate what it means to govern. Instead, power and decision making is widely disbursed to prevent independent factions from gaining control and to allow for citizen input and access to the system.
And when we focus on this practice, we take the opportunity to engage learners in exploring what collaboration means in the public sector—a concept that can be difficult due to local politics, differing agendas, and conflicting priorities. Sometimes we enable others in ways that may seem outsized to the effort it requires of us—you never know what impact you might have as you support others! This TLC network is truly filled with unique, talented, diverse individuals who are making an impact on the world. And along the way, we continuously reinforce how their leadership behaviors impact the teams’ performance and potential. The group found a common purpose and inspired one another to make their collective vision a reality.
Yes, you have goals to improve, but also focus on getting the technique right, whatever skills you are working on. D Style leaders may also need to work very hard to remember to celebrate accomplishments and victories. We highlight the role staff and managers play in building and maintaining relationships with other jurisdictions.
The number of rewards being used is significantly higher than Eddie initially imagined, while the budget of the awards has remained below his expectations.
Enable Others to Act is also a vehicle for exploring how to build trust with elected officials and the importance of articulating values as well as sharing visions for the future. And in response, we specifically encourage our public leaders to examine their own values first and then share with others to identify shared values as a starting point for making decisions.

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